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Asplenium montanum - Heuchera villosa Felsic Cliff Sparse Vegetation
Translated Name: Mountain Spleenwort - Hairy Alumroot Felsic Cliff Sparse Vegetation
Common Name: Appalachian Felsic Cliff
Unique Identifier: CEGL004980
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs in the Blue Ridge and upper Piedmont of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. It includes vertical rock faces associated with felsic, metamorphic and igneous geologies. This community generally has little vegetative cover, often with 90% of the rock surface unvegetated. Mosses (e.g., Thuidium spp., Fissidens spp., Campylium sp., Bryoandersonia sp., Plagiomnium sp.) and lichens can have moderate coverage, and vascular plants occur on ledges and rooted in cracks. Asplenium montanum and Heuchera villosa are characteristic components. Other typical species include Agrostis perennans, Arisaema triphyllum, Aristolochia macrophylla, Asplenium trichomanes, Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Cystopteris protrusa, Dryopteris marginalis, Hydrangea arborescens, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Polypodium appalachianum, and Rubus canadensis. These cliffs are typically dry, although small seepages may occur. They are usually shaded by trees rooted on ledges and by the surrounding forest.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 6 - Open Rock Vegetation
Subclass 6.B - Temperate & Boreal Open Rock Vegetation
Formation 6.B.1 - Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Other Rock Vegetation
Division 6.B.1.Na - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Rock Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Group Appalachian Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Alliance Appalachian Acidic Cliff

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003979 Piedmont Acidic Cliff Sparse Vegetation



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Related Subnational Community Units
These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.
In the U.S., contact the state Heritage Program for the most complete and up-to-date information at: http://www.natureserve.org/natureserve-network.
Information from programs in other jurisdictions will be posted when they are made available.
Subnation Concept Name Relationship to Standard Confidence Reference
North Carolina Montane Cliff (Acidic Herb Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Montane Acidic Cliff
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Cliff (Acidic Herb Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.330 Southern Appalachian Montane Cliff and Talus


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (04Jan1998)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SC, TN, VApotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community occurs in the Blue Ridge and upper Piedmont of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

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
Division Name: Hot Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest - Coniferous Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community has little vegetative cover, often with 90% of the rock surface unvegetated. Mosses (e.g., Thuidium spp., Fissidens spp., Campylium sp., Bryoandersonia sp., Plagiomnium sp.) and lichens can have moderate coverage, and vascular plants occur on ledges and rooted in cracks. Asplenium montanum and Heuchera villosa are characteristic components. Other typical species include Agrostis perennans, Arisaema triphyllum, Aristolochia macrophylla, Asplenium trichomanes, Eurybia divaricata (= Aster divaricatus), Cystopteris protrusa, Dryopteris marginalis, Hydrangea arborescens, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Polypodium appalachianum, and Rubus canadensis. An example of a shaded rock outcrop from the Chattahoochee National Forest (Georgia) which is assigned here contains low coverages of the woody plants Hydrangea arborescens, Kalmia latifolia, Vaccinium arboreum, and Vaccinium simulatum, along with the herbs Campanula divaricata, Dryopteris marginalis, Galax urceolata, Iris cristata, Muhlenbergia tenuiflora, Polygonatum biflorum, Silene stellata, and Solidago sphacelata. An example in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee) consisted of Heuchera villosa, Pilea pumila, Impatiens pallida, Sedum ternatum, and various moss species but did not contain Asplenium montanum.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Hypericum buckleii G3 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Cardamine clematitis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Heuchera villosa G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Krigia montana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Micranthes careyana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Micranthes caroliniana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Shortia galacifolia var. galacifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Asplenium montanum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)  
 
 
Hymenophyllum tayloriae G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Trichomanes intricatum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Cardamine clematitis
  (Small Mountain Bittercress)
G3  
Hymenophyllum tayloriae
  (Taylor's Filmy Fern)
G2  
Hypericum buckleii
  (Blue Ridge St. John's-wort)
G3  
Krigia montana
  (False Dandelion)
G3  
Micranthes careyana
  (Carey's Saxifrage)
G3  
Micranthes caroliniana
  (Carolina Saxifrage)
G3  
Shortia galacifolia var. galacifolia
  (Southern Shortia)
G3T2T3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community includes vertical rock faces associated with felsic, metamorphic and igneous geologies. Some occurrences attributed to this type appear to be on subcalcareous substrates. These cliffs are typically dry, although small seepages may occur. They are usually shaded by trees rooted on ledges and by the surrounding forest.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: These cliffs are typically dry, although small seepages may occur. They are usually shaded by trees rooted on ledges and by the surrounding forest.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Southern Blue Ridge Planning Team, mod. K.D. Patterson
Element Description Edition Date: 11Feb1999
Element Description Author(s): K.D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04Jan1998

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


References
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

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

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.


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