Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cedar Glade, Defined

Couchville Cedar Glade (2) The Real Thing

I have been reading an interesting article by Jerry and Carol Baskin(1) professors and Cedar Glade plant experts. They wrote that "historically (1851 to 2003) the use of "cedar glade" and other terms by numerous botanists, soil scientists, zoologists and other researchers had been applied to the rocky openings/red-cedar/red-cedar/hardwood/hardwood forest complex primarily on the thin bedded Lebanon limestone but also on the thick bedded Ordovocian limestones. They go on to say, that now, cedar glade, limestone glade and and limestone-cedar glade increasingly are being used by plant ecologists and botanists for the rocky openings only. "

So prior to this article folks of all ilks, (i.e. scientists and dirt gardeners like me) used the term cedar glade to include some of the shrubby, red-cedar, forested areas that they studied, lived and gardened on. But now cedar glade is clearly a rocky, gravelly or grassy opening that might be surrounded by red-cedar forests or red-cedar/hardwood forests.

Clearly, I can no longer say I garden on cedar glady land or with cedar glade soil conditions without confusing people! Oh, phooey, I really liked that description. It seemed simple and clear to me! I will have to say something like this, " Hello, I garden on clay and limestone, like everyone else in the Central Basin, Davidson County, Nashville, Tennessee."


1. History of the Use of "Cedar Glade" and Other Descriptive Terms for Vegetation on Rocky Limestone Soils in the Central Basin of Tennessee; Jerry Baskin and Carol Baskin; Issued 30 December 2004. The Botanical Review, The New York Botanical Garden

2. Photo courtesy of Tennessee.gov Division of Natural Areas http://www.state.tn.us/environment/na/natareas/couchville/


  1. i'm with you-phooey! we get set in our ways and sometimes hate finding out we are not always correct! thanks for defining your clay and limestone-but cedar glade worked for me as well.

    p.s. i love your rock walls! from your garden?

    i am posting a post about last night's meeting. hope you like it!

  2. Tina,

    I dug 2/3 of those rocks from my yard over the last 20 years or so of gardening. Every time I look at the walls I am amazed my back held out as long as it did. Sometimes I can see a rock and remember moving it, there is one I will post a photo of that totally blows me over when I remember moving it. I wanted those rocks to be prominent and they are.

    Technically, I could refer to my yard as having all the abiotic characteristics of a cedar glade without the endemic plants, but isn't that a mouthful? And not catchy, either.

    Gail ;-]


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