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Schoenoplectus robustus - Juncus gerardii - Hordeum jubatum - Atriplex patula Saline Marsh
Translated Name: Sturdy Bulrush - Saltmeadow Rush - Foxtail Barley - Spear Saltbush Saline Marsh
Common Name: Inland Salt Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL006234
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This inland salt flat is known only from Virginia. It occurs where the groundwater saturates salt deposits, supporting a dense graminoid wetland dominated by Juncus gerardii and Schoenoplectus robustus (= Scirpus robustus). Other halophytic species include Eleocharis parvula, Salicornia virginica (= Salicornia europaea), and Atriplex patula. Other wetland associates include Typha latifolia, Oenothera biennis, Hibiscus moscheutos, as well as scattered Hordeum jubatum and Schoenoplectus acutus (= Scirpus acutus). Although similar to inland saline marshes of Michigan and New York, this type can be differentiated by a denser plant cover in comparison to the sparse mudflats of more northern saline marshes. In addition, the related vegetation is characterized by different species of Juncus and Schoenoplectus.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Although this community occurs in a similar environment to the inland saline marshes of Michigan, Illinois, and New York, the physiognomy of this community is distinct in that it is characterized by a dense cover of graminoids, rather than the sparsely vegetated mudflats of more northern inland saline marshes. The composition is distinct also, with different species of Schoenoplectus and Juncus dominant. Sites have a history of disturbance (Grossman et al. 1994).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.4 - Temperate to Polar Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Division 2.C.4.Nd - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Eastern North American Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Eastern North American Inland Saline Marsh
Alliance Inland Alkali Bulrush Saline Marsh

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



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus robustus - Juncus gerardii - Hordeum jubatum - Atriplex prostrata Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.
Related Concept Name: Scirpus robustus - Hordeum jubatum - Eleocharis parvula Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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: Inland Salt Marsh
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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]

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.317 Southern Appalachian Seepage Wetland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (17Nov1997)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: There are probably fewer than 5 occurrences rangewide; this community is reported only from Virginia, and only one occurrence is currently documented. The range is very restricted. It occurs on inland mudflats that are seasonally or temporarily flooded by saline water. The one documented occurrence (at Saltville, Virginia) is less than 10 acres, but the community historically was much larger at this site; most of the occurrence has been destroyed by industrial development.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This inland salt flat is known only from Virginia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Stands of this dense graminoid wetland are dominated by Juncus gerardii and Schoenoplectus robustus (= Scirpus robustus). Other halophytic species include Eleocharis parvula, Salicornia virginica (= Salicornia europaea), and Atriplex patula. Other wetland associates include Typha latifolia, Oenothera biennis, Hibiscus moscheutos, as well as scattered Hordeum jubatum and Schoenoplectus acutus (= Scirpus acutus). Other species at the one known site include Impatiens capensis, Elymus repens (= Agropyron repens), and Asclepias syriaca (VDNH unpubl. data).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Atriplex patula G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Salicornia virginica G1 Succulent forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Eleocharis parvula G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus repens G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Hordeum jubatum G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Juncus gerardii G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schoenoplectus robustus G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This inland salt flat from Virginia only occurs where the groundwater saturates salt deposits, supporting the growth of halophytic species. This community occurs on inland mudflats that are seasonally or temporarily flooded by saline water. Sites usually have a history of disturbance (Grossman et al. 1994).


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 01Dec1997
Element Description Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Nov1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke

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., 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., 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.

  • 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.

  • Ogle, D. W. 1981. Long-distance dispersal of vascular halophytes: The marshes of Saltville, Virginia. Castanea 46:8-15.

  • 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]. No date. Unpublished data. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.


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