Fern Nook

Shortleaf Pines
Shortleaf Pines

Points of Interest:

  • See old-growth shortleaf pines and white oaks some of which pre-date the American Civil War and a few that predate the United States.
  • Enjoy the blooms of red buckeye beneath a canopy of 100 feet tall sweetgum, bitternut hickory, sugar maple, Shumard oak and sycamore.
  • Enjoy the scenic North Prong of the Little Black River.

Natural Features Description:

This site features one of the few true old-growth stands of shortleaf pine and white oak remaining in the Ozarks. Forestry researchers from the University of Missouri Columbia have documented white oak trees over 300 years of age here and shortleaf pines 170 to 200 years of age. These ancient trees occur in high-quality dry to dry-mesic chert, sandstone and dolomite woodlands. A mile of the North Prong of the Little Black River flows through the area and has an outstanding riparian corridor and aquatic habitat conditions. Along the floodplain of the river occur remnant bottomland hardwood stands (mesic to wet-mesic bottomland forests) that support mature (150 years) and massive (many trees over 30 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet off the ground) oaks, maple, sweetgum, sycamore, and hickories. Cerulean warblers, swamp rabbits and hooded warblers (all species of conservation concern) utilize these bottomland forests.

Access Information: 

This natural area is within Little Black Conservation Area.  From Doniphan head east on Highway 160, then north on Highway 21.  Then turn right (east) on to Highway K.  After you cross the Little Black River bridge on Highway K (Greenville Access) continue on the blacktop for about 1.9 miles farther north.  Then turn left (west) on to the gravel entrance road (county road K-4) to Little Black Conservation Area.  In ¾ mile you will be at the northeast corner of the natural area.  A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.  Hunting and fishing are permitted.


General Information
Designation Date: 
Missouri Department of Conservation – Ozark Regional Office
Contact Phone: 

Get more information from the MDC Atlas.

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