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(Quercus stellata) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Packera plattensis - Parthenium auriculatum - Phemeranthus piedmontanus Wooded Grassland
Translated Name: (Post Oak) / Little Bluestem - Prairie Groundsel - Glade Wild Quinine - Piedmont Fameflower Wooded Grassland
Common Name: Ultramafic Outcrop Barrens
Unique Identifier: CEGL006084
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a natural grassland vegetation type reported from Virginia's southwestern Piedmont (Franklin County). This community occurs on thin Alfisols or Mollisols developed over serpentinite, dunite, or a similar ultramafic rock. Soils at the Virginia site are described as extremely friable, reddish brown, drought-prone, with a pH of 7 and a calcium:magnesium ratio of 0.22, comparable to serpentine soils. The community occurs at moderate elevations on gentle to steep slopes with a western or southwestern aspect. It occurs as herbaceous grassland openings with scattered, stunted trees, most typically Quercus stellata, Quercus marilandica, Pinus virginiana, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana. Shrubs are very sparse to absent. The vegetation has a dense grassy layer dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium, Sporobolus heterolepis, and Packera plattensis.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.2 - Temperate Grassland & Shrubland
Division 2.B.2.Nc - Eastern North American Grassland & Shrubland
Macrogroup Appalachian Rocky Felsic & Mafic Scrub & Grassland
Group Appalachian Mafic Glade
Alliance Appalachian Mafic-Circumneutral Barrens

This is the revised vegetation hierarchy. For more information see Classification Sources and usnvc.org.

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003768 Pinus rigida - Quercus alba / Sporobolus heterolepis - Andropogon gerardii Woodland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Pinus (virginiana - rigida) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Senecio plattensis Sparse Woodland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 pp.
Related Concept Name: Schizachyrium scoparium - Packera plattensis - Parthenium auriculatum - Talinum mengesii Herbaceous Vegetation [Provisional]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Ultramafic Woodland / Barren
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.347 Eastern Serpentine Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (15Aug2012)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: There are fewer than five occurrences of this community rangewide. It is restricted to outcrops of serpentinite, dunite, or similar ultramafic bedrock. This community is reported from Virginia in the southwestern Piedmont in Franklin County; however, there is some uncertainty about the classification of this occurrence. This community is maintained by the erosive nature of ultramafic soils and probably also fire. It is threatened by mining, rock hunting, and fire suppression.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is reported from the southwestern Piedmont, Franklin County, Virginia. It is restricted to outcrops of serpentinite, dunite, or similar ultramafic bedrock.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community occurs as herbaceous grassland openings with scattered, stunted trees, most typically Quercus stellata, Quercus marilandica, Pinus virginiana, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana. Shrubs are very sparse to absent. The vegetation has a dense grassy layer dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium, Sporobolus heterolepis, and Packera plattensis. Also common are Parthenium auriculatum, Trifolium virginicum, Minuartia patula, Scleria pauciflora, and Phemeranthus piedmontanus. Characteristic herbs occurring at lower cover include Agalinis tenuifolia, Aristida dichotoma, Aristida purpurascens, Carex meadii, Dichanthelium depauperatum, Fimbristylis annua, Houstonia longifolia (= Houstonia tenuifolia), Juncus secundus, Lespedeza procumbens, Liatris spicata, Polygonum tenue, Silene caroliniana ssp. pensylvanica, Silphium compositum, Sisyrinchium mucronatum, Sorghastrum nutans, and Symphyotrichum dumosum var. dumosum.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus stellata G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus virginiana G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Frasera caroliniensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Gentianopsis crinita G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Minuartia patula G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Packera plattensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Polygala paucifolia G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Trifolium virginicum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Phemeranthus piedmontanus G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus trachycaulus G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Poa saltuensis G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Sporobolus heterolepis G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Trifolium virginicum
  (Kate's Mountain Clover)
G3  
Phemeranthus piedmontanus
  (Piedmont Fameflower)
G1  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community occurs on thin Alfisols or Mollisols developed over serpentinite, dunite or a similar ultramafic rock. Soils at the Virginia site (Franklin County) are described as extremely friable, reddish brown, drought-prone, with a pH of 7 and a calcium:magnesium ratio of 0.22, comparable to serpentine soils. The community occurs at moderate elevations on gentle to steep slopes with a western or southwestern aspect. Soil profile varies over the serpentine slope probably in relation to the presence of veins of accessory minerals which weather at different rates. Some form of disturbance is necessary to prevent extensive soil development. To some extent, natural grassland formation at this site is influenced by the ultramafic bedrock, which produces few clay minerals and weathers to highly erosive, rocky and gravelly soils.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The barren structure is probably determined by a combination of site conditions and periodic disturbances. The dry grassy vegetation is flammable, and the recovery of woody species following a fire may be slow. The natural fire frequency is not known. Some form of disturbance is necessary to prevent soil development.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 15Aug2012
Element Description Author(s): M. Anderson and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Aug2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke, mod. G.P. Fleming

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.

  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.

  • Weakley, A. S. 2010. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, and surrounding areas. Unpublished working draft. University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU), North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. [http://www.herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm]


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