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Pallavicinia lyellii - Sphagnum sp. Cliff Nonvascular Vegetation
Translated Name: Pallavicinia - Peatmoss species Cliff Nonvascular Vegetation
Common Name: Mossy Coastal Plain Streamwall Vegetation
Unique Identifier: CEGL004779
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This vegetation is found where seepage occurs through acidic clays on saturated, vertical to near-vertical, shaded exposures along large creeks in the Coastal Plain. Related vegetation is reported from Weches/Recklaw geology (which may have calcareous tendencies) in Texas and from the Ouachita Mountain Region of Arkansas. The wetter phase of this vegetation is dominated by Pallavicinia lyellii, Atrichum sp., Plagiomnium sp., Sphagnum sp., and other unidentified liverworts and mosses. An often evident zonation has the Sphagnum more prevalent near to the exposed top of the bank, and the Pallavicinia occupying the lower, more heavily shaded portion. Herbaceous vascular plants are scattered but not dominant; they include Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (= Aster lateriflorus), Poa autumnalis, Mitchella repens, Viola x primulifolia, Osmunda cinnamomea, and Woodwardia areolata. This vegetation occurs on cutbanks of large creeks. Shrubs often arch over the banks from above, shading them for much of the day. Individual occurrences may continue along several hundred m of stream length on banks which are about 5 m high. The adjacent drier phase may occur on banks which receive greater insolation, or where the soils are of coarser texture. These areas are dominated almost entirely by the same Sphagnum sp. which forms a component of the wetter phase. Related vegetation reported from Weches/Recklaw geology of Texasmay actually represent a distinct association.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Based on vegetation observed on acidic Miocene clays along Black Creek in the De Soto National Forest, Forest and Perry counties, Mississippi. Vegetation along the Little River and other deeply entrenched valleys in the North Carolina Sandhills Region appears to be the same type.

Similar occurrences have been observed along occasionally scoured banks of Colorow Creek, Sabine National Forest, Sabine County, Texas, and Mill Creek, Angelina National Forest, San Augustine County, Texas (R. Evans pers. comm.). Apparently due to scour episodes during infrequent high-gradient flows, large sheets of moss peel away from the substrate. All Texas examples seem to be heavily seepage influenced, with one example forming a slight overhanging drip wall. The Texas occurrences are found within a matrix of relatively species-rich, mesic hardwood slopes/ravines, in which Fagus grandifolia is a local dominant. These areas represent considerably more topographic relief than the regional norm; all appear to be linked to Weches/Recklaw geology (which may have calcareous tendencies). In addition, the stream channels themselves are locally unusual with rocky substrates and clear water. Some of the streambed cobbles (often tightly consolidated mudstone) support the same bryophytes and liverworts as the adjacent walls. Mosses tend to heavily dominate with much smaller patches of liverworts present. Osmunda cinnamomea and Athyrium filix-femina are the most frequently encountered ferns.


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 Southeast Coastal Plain Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Alliance Coastal Plain-Piedmont Cliff

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004388 Coastal Plain 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
Alabama Pallavicinia lyellii - Sphagnum sp. Nonvascular Vegetation Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
North Carolina Coastal Plain Seepage Bank Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012



Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.487 West Gulf Coastal Plain Small Stream and River Forest
CES203.559 East Gulf Coastal Plain Small Stream and River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (16Jan2009)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This vegetation occurs in a specific habitat in the Coastal Plain, but this is a habitat which may be widely distributed and somewhat protected from disturbance. These communities are apparently rare, limited to areas where streams cut down into older clayey Coastal Plain sediments. Though steep and not threatened by development or timbering, examples are threatened by hydrologic changes in rivers and by changes in upland groundwater recharge.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ALpotentially occurs, ARpotentially occurs, FLpotentially occurs, GApotentially occurs, LApotentially occurs, MS, NC, SCpotentially occurs, TX
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is found along rivers on the Coastal Plain of Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina (Little River, Black River, Rockfish Creek, Willis Creek) and may be widely distributed in other states of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains.

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: Predicted or probable
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Western Gulf Section
Section Code: 232F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The wetter phase of this vegetation is dominated by Pallavicinia lyellii, Atrichum sp., Plagiomnium sp., Sphagnum sp., and other unidentified liverworts and mosses. An often evident zonation has the Sphagnum more prevalent near to the exposed top of the bank, and the Pallavicinia occupying the lower, more heavily shaded portion. Herbaceous vascular plants are scattered but not dominant; they include Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (= Aster lateriflorus), Poa autumnalis, Mitchella repens, Viola x primulifolia, Osmunda cinnamomea, and Woodwardia areolata. In North Carolina, vascular plants include regionally rare Drosera rotundifolia, as well as Erigeron vernus, Xyris baldwiniana, Rhynchospora gracilenta, Sarracenia purpurea, Utricularia subulata, Mikania scandens, Triadenum virginicum, Lygodium palmatum, and Dichanthelium dichotomum var. ensifolium (= Dichanthelium ensifolium). Chamaecyparis thyoides and Kalmia latifolia often occur along the upper edge. The adjacent drier phase may occur on banks which receive greater insolation, or where the soils are of coarser texture. These areas are dominated almost entirely by the same Sphagnum sp. which forms a component of the wetter phase.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This vegetation is found where seepage occurs through acidic clays on saturated, vertical to near-vertical, shaded exposures along cutbanks of large creeks in the Coastal Plain. Shrubs often arch over the banks from above, shading them for much of the day. Individual occurrences may continue along several hundred meters of stream length on banks which are about 5 meters high. Banks up to 8 m high occur in North Carolina. Related vegetation is reported from Weches/Recklaw geology (which may have calcareous tendencies) in Texas (R. Evans pers. comm.).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Undercutting of the banks by streamflow likely causes occasional sloughing of the bank face. This may be necessary for maintaining the open vegetation and limited soil development in these sites, but may potentially destroy portions by creating a more gently sloped site with deeper soil. Scouring by floodwaters periodically affects the lower parts of banks, and may be sufficient to maintain this community indefinitely.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Pyne
Element Description Edition Date: 16Jan2009
Element Description Author(s): M. Pyne and M.P. Schafale
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 16Jan2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne, mod. M.P. Schafale

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


References
  • Evans, Rob. Personal communication. Regional Ecologist, Plant Conservation Program, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Raleigh, NC.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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