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Asplenium montanum - Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora - Silene rotundifolia Cliff Sparse Vegetation
Translated Name: Mountain Spleenwort - Little-flower Alumroot - Roundleaf Catchfly Cliff Sparse Vegetation
Common Name: Cumberland Plateau Sandstone Cliff (Dry Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL004392
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs on relatively dry, exposed vertical sandstone cliffs in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. Vegetation consists of scattered individuals of Asplenium montanum, Silene rotundifolia, and other species rooted in crevices and erosion pockets. In some parts its range, this community is the primary or sole habitat for rare endemic species, such as Minuartia cumberlandensis. The vegetation is generally very sparse, owing to rock characteristics. Occasional well-developed crevices and seepages with more moisture and soil development are the primary locations where most vascular plants occur. Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora, Silene rotundifolia, Asplenium montanum, Asplenium bradleyi, Mitchella repens, Kalmia latifolia, and Decumaria barbara are primary species present.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: This type can co-occur with Osmunda cinnamomea - Rhynchospora capitellata - Thalictrum mirabile Cumberland Seepage Cliff Vegetation (CEGL008432) on a given cliff. In general this association (CEGL004392) occurs at the uppermost 1/3 of the cliff exposures, while CEGL008432 occurs at lower, more shaded portions.

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
CEGL004301 Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora - Trichomanes boschianum - Thalictrum mirabile - (Ageratina luciae-brauniae, Solidago albopilosa) Cliff Vegetation
CEGL006435 Appalachian - Alleghenian Sandstone Dry Cliff Sparse Vegetation
CEGL008432 Osmunda cinnamomea - Rhynchospora capitellata - Thalictrum mirabile Cumberland Seepage Cliff 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
Alabama Asplenium montanum - Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora - Silene rotundifolia Sparse Vegetation Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Kentucky Dry Sandstone Cliff/Outcrop/Rockhouse Broader   Evans 1991
Tennessee Asplenium montanum - Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora - Silene rotundifolia Sparse Vegetation Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Dry Sandstone Cliff
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
Related Concept Name: Mountain / Piedmont Acidic Cliff
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Sandstone Cliffs and Rockhouses
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schmalzer, P. A., and H. R. DeSelm. 1982. Vegetation, endangered and threatened plants, critical plant habitats and vascular flora of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Unpublished report. USDI National Park Service, Obed Wild and Scenic River. 2 volumes. 369 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.309 Cumberland Acidic Cliff and Rockhouse
CES202.692 Central Interior Highlands Dry Acidic Glade and Barrens


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (02Feb2001)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association occurs in a limited area of the Cumberland Plateau of northern Alabama, northwestern Georgia, eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia. Sites are of small extent, being associated with sandstone cliffs. There are few known threats, and the imperilment of this association is presumably relatively stable. There are thousands of miles of potential habitat, and threats are limited; the imperilment of this association is presumably limited, and its status somewhat stable.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GA, KY, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs in a limited area of the Cumberland Plateau of northern Alabama, northwestern Georgia, eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and possibly southwestern Virginia

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 221H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Highland Rim Section
Section Code: 222E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 231C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The vegetation is generally very sparse, owing to rock characteristics. Occasional well-developed crevices and seepages with more moisture and soil development are the primary locations where most vascular plants occur. Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora, Silene rotundifolia, Asplenium montanum, Asplenium bradleyi, Mitchella repens, Kalmia latifolia, Decumaria barbara are primary species present (NatureServe Ecology unpubl. data). Locally, seepages may support Osmunda cinnamomea, Woodwardia areolata, and Itea virginica. Because these seepage areas are of very small size, they are included within the concept of this type. Asplenium montanum is a characteristic species in stands of this type, although it may not have high cover and will not necessarily even be present. Heuchera parviflora and Silene rotundifolia are equally characteristic and diagnostic.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Heuchera parviflora var. parviflora G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Silene rotundifolia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Thalictrum mirabile G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Asplenium montanum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Hymenophyllum tayloriae G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Thelypteris pilosa var. alabamensis G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Trichomanes intricatum G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Cheilolejeunea evansii G3 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Radula sullivantii G3 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Tetrodontium brownianum G3 Moss Nonvascular      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Carex lucorum var. austrolucorum
  (Blue Ridge Sedge)
G5T3T4  
Cheilolejeunea evansii
  (Evan's Cheilolejeunea)
G1G2  
Hymenophyllum tayloriae
  (Taylor's Filmy Fern)
G2  
Radula sullivantii
  (a liverwort)
G3  
Tetrodontium brownianum
  (Brown's Four-toothed Moss)
G3G4  
Thelypteris pilosa var. alabamensis
  (Streak-sorus Fern)
G4T1 LT: Listed threatened


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community occurs on relatively dry, exposed portions of vertical sandstone cliffs in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. These cliffs tend to be massive, but largely shaded by tall trees rooted at their bases and may be exposed to full sun for a maximum of 30-40% of days. On a given cliff this community may be considered the matrix type that typically develops along the upper 1/3 of the vertical surface and lower if seepage is lacking; it is far more common than related moist cliff communities of the region (A. Schotz pers. comm.). The cliff's geometry (few crevices capable of accumulating soil), chemistry (generally highly acid), and erosion (cementing compounds being dissolved and sand particles eroding) create harsh growing conditions; vascular plants, lichens, and nonvascular plants are all infrequent.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community is apparently stable over time, though individual crevices and seepages supporting plants may be affected by extended drought, rock fall, or sloughing.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Evans (1991)
Element Description Edition Date: 01Jan1996
Element Description Author(s): Evans (1991)
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Feb2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. M. Pyne

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


References
  • Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.

  • Evans, M., B. Yahn, and M. Hines. Kentucky ecological communities. 2009. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Frankfort, KY.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • 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.

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

  • Schmalzer, P. A., and H. R. DeSelm. 1982. Vegetation, endangered and threatened plants, critical plant habitats and vascular flora of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Unpublished report. USDI National Park Service, Obed Wild and Scenic River. 2 volumes. 369 pp.

  • Schotz, A., M. Hall, and R. D. White, Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Russell Cave National Monument. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 108 pp.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • 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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