A great diversity of fauna lives on both the forest floor and within the crowns of hardwoods in this fascinating habitat.  While you’ll find a range of shade-tolerant plants, others seize the light: In early spring, before new leaves of deciduous trees unfurl, plants known as the spring ephemerals sprout from the forest floor. In a few short weeks, they emerge, bloom, produce seed, and die back. In their brief time above ground, they store food reserves in their roots or other underground structures, then go dormant until their return the following year.