Paris Mountain   Jess Riddle
  Oct 09, 2004 13:04 PDT 

Alternating layers of gneiss and mica schist compose Paris Mountain, a
monadnock that stands next to Furman's campus a little over 15 miles from
the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. An increasing number of residential
developments occupy the slopes, which rise 1000' above the surrounding
piedmont to just over 2000', and the irregularly outlined Paris Mountain
State Park includes significant portions of the north and east sides of
the mountain. Within the state park intensity of land use varies greatly;
some of the man-made ponds in the park focus recreational activities, but
another nearly disjunct section of the park lacks not only road but also
trail access. Past disturbance appears to have been similarly

Within 25' of the small streams on the mountain, trees over
200 years old, most often tuliptree, are common. At middle and upper
elevations over the mountain, relatively dry communities dominated by oaks
and pines, which occur on all aspects, support scattered trees over 200
years old although in some areas trees under 75 years old comprise the
entire canopy. However, some slopes appear entirely undisturbed and
natural disturbances probably account for a portion of the younger forest.
The moister lower elevations support more varied forests that often
appear 75 to 100 years old.

Most of the trees listed below grow on or in the stream flats adjacent to
an approximately 75' high ridge oriented northwest-southeast with steep
sides. While a pure stand of northern red oaks covers about an acre of
the northeast side of the ridge, a mixture of shortleaf pine and other
species of oaks occupies more of the surrounding area. Tuliptree and
sweetgum form most of the canopy in the flats with some shortleaf pine in
areas. Hazelnut dominates the unusual shrub layer with some silverbell
and american holly and at least a few american snowbells. In late
September, herbaceous plants were sparse.

Species Height Cbh
Birch, River 80.0' 5'0" Infrequent species
Hickory, Pale 87.4' 7'8" old tree, on dry slope
Oak, N. Red 124.1' 7'11"
Oak, N. Red 125.1' NA
Oak, Post 89.0' 6'2"
Oak, Post 98.6' 8'1.5" tied tallest Ents measured in state
Oak, Saul's 104.8' 7'7" old tree
Oak, Saul's 107.5' twin white x chestnut hybrid
Oak, Scarlet 107.3' 6'1"
Oak, S. Red 110.3' 8'9" partially open grown
Oak, White 111.8' NA
Pine, Shortleaf 104.8' 4'4.5"
Pine, Shortleaf 121.0' 8'6" young tree, near stream confluence
Pine, Virginia 120.7' 5'1.5" heart rot likely

Pale hickories are common on the mid and upper slopes. The one listed
above is largest I've seen on Paris Mountain and essentially tied with one
in the Blue Ridge in Jones Gap State Park for the tallest I've measured in
the state. Some in Caesar's Head State Park, adjacent to Jones Gap, may
be significantly larger.

The northern red oaks impressed me for being in the piedmont. The former
state champion, which fell within the last two years, grew on an unusually
fertile part of the mountain and had a single stem slightly over 15' cbh.
Hybrid oaks seem unusually common in the area. I don't know what to
attribute the phenomenon to.

The southern red oak is taller than any currently listed in the ENTS
database, but this species is under measured, and I've seen one individual
in Georgia that is almost certainly taller.

The virginia pine is by far the tallest known in the east and is a
potential state co-champion. The mountain also supports table mountain
pines just under 100' tall and by far the greatest collection of the
species I've seen anywhere in the southeast.

Jess Riddle
Re: Paris Mountain   greentreedoctor
  Oct 09, 2004 13:25 PDT 

An impressive look at our downtown mountain. I have been up there with Jimmy Walters.   I was surprised not see any chestnut oak.   There are some almost pure stands on the west part of the mountain. As well as hemlock and white pine.   I looked for A. chestnut sprouts without success (though they do have some small hybrids near the Ranger station).   I dread the urbanization of the south part of the mountain.

Last year I line-measured a huge 128-ft southern red oak in a Greenville resident's backyard (for American Tree).   Makes you kind of wonder what is out there hiding. From time to time I have noticed Will's postings including some impressive "urban" trees.   I have seen two huge post oaks in the past week. I often run into natural red oak hybrids while doing appraisals.   Is Glassy your next area mountain?   Will stay tuned!

Re: Paris Mountain   greentreedoctor
  Oct 09, 2004 21:35 PDT 

That was chestnut oak that I found in "limited", small stands (though much is being developed as we speak).   I have not seen Castanea dentata on Paris, but I have seen sprouts throughout Caesar's Head and Jones Gap.   I suspect the small chestnuts near the Ranger Station are Chinese hybrids. As you drive up the eastside of Altamont Rd, for a short distance, the road becomes flanked with hemlock and white pine (introduced most likely).   A welcome sight come winter, when the rest of the mountain is bald.   It may be that these small stands of chestnut oak may have replaced American chestnut.   Also, I saw some decent beech in the higher elevations of the park.

Some impressive pines. Not so surprised by the northern red oak.   I use to run into respectable specimens in "southeastern" NC.   What is the botanical name for Saul's oak?   I am not surprised with the suspected age of some of the red oaks on the mountain.   I believe it is our first state park.

I think the List would be surprised if they were to see just how urban this area is.   Unlike Glassy, it is a true monadnock. It stands all by it's lonesome some 1,100 feet above Greenville and at least 20 miles from any other mountain.   It sticks out significantly, even from Caesar's head.   Of course, you have a great view from Furman ( I took my boy there when the Falcons were training).   I have tried to encourage people to leave as many trees as possible, not top trees for a better view of the valley, and to stick with earth tone colors for homes.   I proved to the president of the Council that you could have a view without topping (vista pruning).   I highlight different area mountain vistas on my (temporarily down) website.   Seems that far too many dream of living up on the mountain.   But it's the rest of us poorer Joe's in the valley that have to look at their ugly homes and our thinning mountain.

This was before my introduction to laser measuring. I simply dropped a low stretch, double-braided, 5/8" poly rope (not as accurate as a steel tape I'm sure). I mentioned it to Will a while ago because I was surprised that an open grown southern red oak could get so tall.   I suspect it's location in a dip, next to a pond, between two tall yellow poplars had something to do with the height.   

Keep making us look great with all the impressive stats,

Re: Paris Mountain   Jess Riddle
  Oct 09 - 11 2004 
... I have seen chestnut sprouts at multiple areas
in the state park, but the species is rare in the area. The hemlock and
white pine stands are surprising also since those species are absent from
both the more fertile and sheltered areas on the north side of the

...Chestnut oak is actually abundant at mid to high elevations in the state park, and
a sizeable area of chestnut oak dominated forest occurs along the west end
of Old Altamont Road on the lower slopes of the mountain.

...Saul's oak is Quercus x saulii.

...I was quite surprised by the height of the virginia pine. Paris Mountain
really is excellent habitat for pines.

Does "line measured" refer to either tape and clinometer or chain and

Jess Riddle