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Quercus stellata - (Pinus echinata) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Symphyotrichum georgianum Woodland
Translated Name: Post Oak - (Shortleaf Pine) / Little Bluestem - Georgia Aster Woodland
Common Name: Piedmont Basic Hardpan Woodland (Southern Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL003711
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community consists of one of two prairie-like woodlands associated with diabase in the Carolina Piedmont, representing the south-central North Carolina Piedmont and adjacent South Carolina type. This community has very variable structure and species composition, depending on land-use history and local fire regime. Historically, this community is believed to have been herbaceous-dominated with a widely scattered, open canopy of trees and patches of shrubs and fire-sprouting overstory species. Due largely to fire suppression, most known examples occur as a dense woody growth with generally closed canopy. A few examples which are being restored have a more typical, stunted woodland structure, with canopy cover ranging from 40-70%. High-quality examples are expected to have an open grass-dominated herb layer, and an overstory dominated by Quercus stellata, often with some component of Pinus echinata, Quercus marilandica, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana. Common subcanopy species may include Cercis canadensis and Cornus florida. Common shrubs include Viburnum rafinesquianum (= var. rafinesquianum), Ilex longipes, Vaccinium arboreum, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, and Hypericum prolificum. Common herb species include Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium, Andropogon virginicus, Silphium terebinthinaceum, Symphyotrichum patens var. patens (= Aster patens var. patens), Symphyotrichum georgianum (= Aster georgianus), Ionactis linariifolius, Solidago nemoralis, Coreopsis major, Eryngium yuccifolium, Phlox nivalis, Oligoneuron album (= Solidago ptarmicoides), Oligoneuron rigidum, Opuntia humifusa var. humifusa, Talinum teretifolium, Isanthus brachiatus (= Trichostema brachiatum), Ratibida pinnata, Sporobolus vaginiflorus, Sporobolus clandestinus, Ranunculus fascicularis, Symphyotrichum laeve (= Aster laevis), Veronicastrum virginicum, Liatris aspera, Liatris spp., Verbena simplex, Aquilegia canadensis, Senna marilandica, Physostegia virginiana, and Clematis ochroleuca.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This type is known primarily from the south-central North Carolina Piedmont and adjacent South Carolina in areas underlain by gabbro plutons of the Charlotte Belt and possibly other mafic substrates in the region around Charlotte, North Carolina (M. Schafale pers. comm.). This type is closely related to Quercus stellata - (Pinus echinata) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Echinacea laevigata - Oligoneuron album Woodland (CEGL003558), of the northern parts of the Deep River Triassic Basin, where the geology is typically referred to as diabase. Although diabase and gabbro rocks types are closely related, the general distributions of these two types do not appear to be contiguous or overlapping. In addition, there are floristic differences between basic hardpan communities in the two regions. For example, Symphyotrichum georgianum is largely confined to the southern region, Helianthus schweinitzii is nearly so. Characteristic species of the northern type, including Oligoneuron album, Baptisia australis var. aberrans, and Echinacea laevigata, are lacking in the southern type.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Na - Eastern North American Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Piedmont-Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Oak Forest
Alliance Piedmont Post Oak - Hickory - Pine Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003558 Quercus stellata - (Pinus echinata) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Echinacea laevigata - Oligoneuron album Woodland



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 Xeric Hardpan Forest (Southern Prairie Barren Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Xeric Hardpan Forest
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.268 Piedmont Hardpan Woodland and Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (03Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This type is restricted to flats developed on montmorillonitic clay (shrink-swell) soils, derived from mafic igneous rocks (primarily diabase or gabbro sills and dikes), in the South and North Carolina Piedmont. This edaphic situation is unusual, and few large and well-developed occurrences are known which have been maintained in an open enough condition by soil conditions or fire to maintain a grassy, herbaceous dominance. Fire suppression has resulted in the loss or degradation of many sites. Additionally, urbanization and fragmentation afflict known occurrences. The best remaining sites are near Rock Hill (York County, South Carolina).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This prairie-like woodland association is restricted to the Piedmont of South and North Carolina.

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: High-quality examples are expected to have an open grass-dominated herb layer, and an overstory dominated by Quercus stellata, often with some component of Pinus echinata, Quercus marilandica, and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana. Common subcanopy species may include Cercis canadensis and Cornus florida. Common shrubs include Viburnum rafinesquianum (= var. rafinesquianum), Ilex longipes, Vaccinium arboreum, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, and Hypericum prolificum. Common herb species include Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium, Andropogon virginicus, Silphium terebinthinaceum, Symphyotrichum patens var. patens (= Aster patens var. patens), Symphyotrichum georgianum (= Aster georgianus), Ionactis linariifolius, Solidago nemoralis, Coreopsis major, Eryngium yuccifolium, Phlox nivalis, Oligoneuron album (= Solidago ptarmicoides), Oligoneuron rigidum, Opuntia humifusa var. humifusa, Talinum teretifolium, Isanthus brachiatus (= Trichostema brachiatum), Ratibida pinnata, Sporobolus vaginiflorus, Sporobolus clandestinus, Ranunculus fascicularis, Symphyotrichum laeve (= Aster laevis), Veronicastrum virginicum, Liatris aspera, Liatris spp., Verbena simplex, Aquilegia canadensis, Senna marilandica, Physostegia virginiana, and Clematis ochroleuca.

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 echinata G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Helianthus schweinitzii G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Symphyotrichum georgianum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium ssp. scoparium G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Helianthus schweinitzii
  (Schweinitz's Sunflower)
G3 LE: Listed endangered
Symphyotrichum georgianum
  (Georgia Aster)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This type is restricted to flat uplands, derived from mafic igneous rocks (primarily diabase or gabbro sills and dikes), in the South and North Carolina Piedmont Deep River Triassic Basin. Surface soils may include montmorillonitic clays with shrink-swell properties that are somewhat high in pH. This edaphic situation is unusual in the region where Ultisols and acidic pH predominates. Higher quality sites are kept in a reasonably open condition by the combination of edaphic conditions and fire.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The better sites are kept in an open condition by soil characteristics or by fire to maintain a grassy, herbaceous dominance. Fire suppression has resulted in the loss or degradation of many sites.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley and J. Nelson
Element Description Edition Date: 03Oct2002
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley, J. Nelson, R.E. Evans
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 11Dec1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley

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


References
  • 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.


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