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Common Flora & Fauna of the State of Georgia

Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

The state of Georgia provides a home for an incredible variety of plants and animals, from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Appalachian Mountains. In this lesson we'll explore some of the major flora and fauna that you will find there.

The State of Georgia

Have you ever visited Georgia? This southern state is interesting because it falls within the Appalachian mountain range, as well as along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It even comes close to the Gulf of Mexico. This makes the flora and fauna (or plants and animals) of Georgia very interesting as well! In this state we find a wide range of organisms, some partial to the mountainous regions, others that prefer the coastal areas, and everything in between.

Flora of Georgia

There's no way we could cover all the flora, or plants of Georgia in this lesson. Even if we're just talking trees, there are roughly 250 different species! Instead, we'll highlight the most prominent ones. Georgia's state tree is the southern live oak, and these trees are something to behold. They can live for hundreds of years, grow to be over 60 feet tall, and are known for creating beautiful canopies over roadways all throughout the south.

The southern live oak is the state tree of Georgia.
southern live oak

The eastern red cedar is another important tree in Georgia. These trees can grow up to 40-50 feet tall and are host to many animals including birds and butterflies. Their cones provide food for numerous animals. You will find a wide variety of pine species in Georgia, including loblolly, longleaf, slash, spruce, and white. Trees don't get all the glory though, because the flora of Georgia includes many flowers and other plants like mountain laurel, which while beautiful to look at is poisonous and should be approached with care. Yellow jasmine is another well-known shrub and is often mistaken for honeysuckle. We certainly can't leave out Georgia's state flower, the lovely white-flowered Cherokee rose.

The Cherokee rose, the state flower of Georgia, has beautiful white blooms.
cherokee rose

Fauna of Georgia

Let's move away from plants to talk about some of the animals you might find in Georgia. Because the state has such a wide range of environments, you might expect there to be a wide range of animals as well, and you're right! On the coast we find creatures like blue crabs and oysters, but also shrimp, sea turtles, and a number of coastal birds such as the wimbrel, great blue heron, and great egret.

Air

Birds are found throughout the state. As you move inland, you might come across the brown thrasher, which is the state bird. Others birds you might see are wood ducks, northern bobwhite quails, turkeys, hawks, owls, hummingbirds, and swallows. With a few hundred species of bird in Georgia, this short sampling clearly doesn't do justice to all the birds that call this state home.

The brown thrasher is the state bird of Georgia.
brown thrasher

Land

Georgia also boasts a high biodiversity when it comes to snakes, because there are over 40 species found in the state! These include water moccasins (also called cottonmouths), black racers, copperheads, pygmy rattlesnakes, and pine snakes. Other common reptiles include alligators, box turtles, gopher tortoises, sliders, and diamondback terrapins.

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