Stanley A. Cain


The inhabitants of the Great Smoky mountains usually refer to the heath communities under consideration as "slicks" or "balds." The former name is derived from the smooth appearance they present on the ridges and mountain tops when viewed from a distance and which is entirely misleading, for they are extremely rough and tangled. The name "bald" refers to the absence of trees, these areas being exclusively occupied by shrubs. The term "heath bald" is used in this paper to include all such treeless areas dominated by members of the order Ericales. The use of the term "heath" is not entirely unsatisfactory, since there is considerable confusion in the literature in respect to the exact meaning of such terms as "heath," "low moor," "high moor," etc., yet no substitute for the word has been found.