Home » Regions » North America » Eastern Temperate Forests » Southeastern USA Plains » Piedmont » Northern Outer Piedmont

Northern Outer Piedmont

Page contents

About the Northern Outer Piedmont

The Northern Outer Piedmont is a region stretching from Virginia into North Carolina, at the outermost part of the Piedmont, just adjacent to the coastal plain. The name may be slightly confusing; this region is not part of the Northern Piedmont, but rather, is the northern part of the outermost partion of the (main or southern) Piedmont.

The region is an irregular plain with low hills, rounded ridges, and shallow ravines. This area is considerably less rugged than areas farther inland, but higher-elevation and more rugged than the coastal plain to the southeast. The region is mostly underlain by heavily weathered metamorphic rocks, including gneiss and schist, with some igneous intrusions of granite. The soils formed on these rocks tend to be clay-rich, acidic, and low in calcium.

Original forest cover here is not well-known but has been mapped as potentially being Oak-Hickory-Pine forest, with hickory, shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), white oak (Quercus alba), and post oak (Quercus stellata) as dominant trees. Currently, the region contains more loblolly pine, and less Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) and shortleaf pine, relative to areas farther west and inland.

Nowadays the region is dominated by agriculture and forestry, and some rapidly growing urbanization. Although the landscape looks quite forested at a glance, a large portion of the forests are plantations and not wild or natural ecosystems. There are almost no protected public tracts of forest here. This region contains Raleigh, NC, and the western part of the Richmond, Fredricksburg, and Petersburg metro areas. Most of this region has been seeing low-density suburban development which uses up large portions of land relative to its population.

This region is bordered to the southeast by the Rolling Coastal Plain; this border is abrupt and well-defined, and is marked by a fall line. Inland, this region is bordered by the Carolina Slate Belt in the south, and the Northern Inner Piedmont in the south. Some areas with geology similar to the Carolina Slate Belt also occur near the border between this region and the coastal plain. This region also surrounds some areas of the Triassic Basins, and also borders but not surrounds their largest basin, in the south of this region.

Plant Lists & In-Region Search

We do not yet have data to generate plant lists for a region as fine-tuned as this one. However you can move up to the broader Piedmont and generate lists for that region: native plants or all plants. Or search that region's plants here:


1. Woods, A.J, Omernik, J.M., Brown, D.D. "Level III and IV Ecoregions of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR (1999) Web.