Winter Rooting Activity of the European Wild Boar in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Thomas D. Howe

Additional Authors:

Susan Power Bratton


September – 1976


Rooting, Boar, Great Smoky Mountains, Lilium, superbum, Dioscorea, batatas, Medeola, virginiana, Stachys, clingmanii, Aristolochia

Since the European wild boar (<em>Sus scrofa</em> L.) was accidently introduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, its population has expanded and presently occupies about three-quarters of the Park. The hogs’ rooting activities have severely damaged the herbaceous understories of several types of forest. In the winter, rooting activity is concentrated in the low elevation successional Tulip Forest, and Tulip-Silverbell Forest. At high elevations the hogs root around the shrubs on the Grassy Balds. In Northern Hardwoods and Gray Beech Forests, winter rooting is minor in comparison with the rooting activity in late spring and early summer. Most of the food plants involved in the rooting activity had starchy tubers, bulbs, or rhizomes. These plants included <em>Lilium superbum</em>, <em>Dioscorea batatas</em>, <em>Medeola virginiana</em>, <em>Stachys clingmanii</em>, and <em>Aristolochia</em> spp.