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Fraxinus americana - Carya glabra / Muhlenbergia sobolifera - Helianthus divaricatus - Solidago ulmifolia Woodland
Translated Name: White Ash - Pignut Hickory / Rock Muhly - Woodland Sunflower - Elmleaf Goldenrod Woodland
Common Name: Central Appalachian Basic Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL003683
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is a woodland dominated by Fraxinus americana and Carya glabra, occurring in dry, rocky, fertile soils derived from mafic igneous and metamorphic rocks and, less frequently, granitic rocks and calcareous sedimentary and metasedimentary formations. Stands are found from 60 to 1000 m (240-3300 feet) in elevation in the Blue Ridge and upper Piedmont of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. Less constant and important canopy species include Carya ovalis, Quercus prinus, Quercus rubra var. rubra, Juniperus virginiana, and Pinus virginiana. Subcanopy species include Celtis tenuifolia, Celtis occidentalis, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Ostrya virginiana, and Ulmus rubra. The shrub stratum includes Rhus aromatica var. aromatica, Ptelea trifoliata, Viburnum rafinesquianum (= var. rafinesquianum), Rhus typhina, Toxicodendron radicans, and Vaccinium pallidum. Typical species of the herb stratum include Muhlenbergia sobolifera, Helianthus divaricatus, Pycnanthemum incanum, Elymus hystrix, Carex pensylvanica, Polygonum tenue, Woodsia ilvensis, Woodsia obtusa, Phacelia dubia, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (= Aster oblongifolius), Solidago arguta var. harrisii (= Solidago harrisii), Selaginella rupestris, Cheilanthes lanosa, Danthonia spicata, Cardamine parviflora var. arenicola, Draba ramosissima, Sedum glaucophyllum, and others.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: As currently circumscribed, this community type does not include related (and often spatially associated) wooded herbaceous vegetation occurring on massive, exposed outcrops, e.g., Fraxinus americana / Physocarpus opulifolius / Carex pensylvanica - Allium cernuum - (Phacelia dubia) Wooded Grassland (CEGL008529). In an 1134-plot regional analysis for the Southern Appalachian portion of the Appalachian Trail, only four southwestern Virginia plots were classified as this type (Fleming and Patterson 2009a), but proved distinct from several other Southern Appalachian woodlands. In a subsequent 1300-plot analysis of all Virginia upland forests and woodlands (Fleming and Patterson 2009b), plots from the southernmost parts of this association did not separate from more northern plots in quantitative analyses. See comments on similar associations.

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 Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest & Woodland
Alliance Northeastern Oak - Hickory Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003752 Carya (glabra, alba) - Fraxinus americana - (Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana) Woodland
CEGL006037 Juniperus virginiana - Fraxinus americana / Carex pensylvanica - Cheilanthes lanosa Open Woodland
CEGL006216 Quercus alba - Carya glabra - Fraxinus americana / Muhlenbergia sobolifera - Elymus hystrix Forest
CEGL008489 Carya glabra - Fraxinus americana / Acer leucoderme / Piptochaetium avenaceum Woodland
CEGL008499 Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana - Celtis tenuifolia - Cercis canadensis / Sporobolus clandestinus - Danthonia sericea Woodland
CEGL008529 Fraxinus americana / Physocarpus opulifolius / Carex pensylvanica - Allium cernuum - (Phacelia dubia) Wooded Grassland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Fraxinus americana - Carya glabra / Muhlenbergia sobolifera - Helianthus divaricatus - Solidago ulmifolia Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Fraxinus americana / Dryopteris marginalis - Sedum glaucophyllum - Carex communis Woodland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Fraxinus americana / Elymus hystrix - Sedum glaucophyllum Association
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Fraxinus americana / Toxicodendron radicans - Phacelia dubia - Rubus flagellaris - Carex communis Woodland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Coulling, P. P., and T. J. Rawinski. 1999. Classification of vegetation and ecological land units of the Piney River and Mt. Pleasant area, Pedlar Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-03, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Central Appalachian Basic Ash - Hickory Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]
Related Concept Name: Greenstone Glade
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 1993. Floristics and preliminary classification of greenstone glade vegetation in Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science 44:119 (Abstract).
Related Concept Name: Montane - Piedmont Basic Woodland
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Mountain / Piedmont Basic Woodland
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: White ash - Shagbark hickory woodlands
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.348 Southern and Central Appalachian Mafic Glade and Barrens


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (24Feb2010)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This community is naturally rare, geographically restricted, and confined to special edaphic habitats, primarily over mafic rocks in the Blue Ridge and upper Piedmont of Virginia and Maryland, but also on Blue Ridge granite and calcareous sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks in the Ridge and Valley. There are few threats to occurrences of this community. Where trails transect or approach these communities, they receive minor trampling damage and introduction of alien species.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, VA, WVpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is mostly restricted to areas underlain by mafic metamorphic rocks (metabasalt, actinolite schist, layered pyroxene granulite) in the Blue Ridge and adjacent Piedmont foothills of northern Virginia and Maryland. However, scattered outliers have been documented on diabase of the northern Piedmont Triassic Basin; on calcareous sedimentary and metasedimentary substrates (sandstone, shale, metasiltstone, and phyllite) of the Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley provinces; and on granitic terrain of the Blue Ridge. This vegetation type is rare in the George Washington National Forest, where the only known examples are located at the northern end of the Pedlar Ranger District. Excellent Blue Ridge and Piedmont examples of the type are protected in Shenandoah National Park and The Nature Conservancy's Wildcat Mountain Natural Area, respectively.

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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Vegetation consists of open to very open woodlands with stunted canopies of 6- to 15-m tall trees. Fraxinus americana is the characteristic, consistently dominant or codominant canopy species, usually contributing at least 25% cover. Carya glabra and, less frequently, Carya ovata and Carya ovalis are common codominant overstory associates. Quercus prinus, Quercus rubra, Juniperus virginiana, Pinus virginiana, and Juglans nigra are minor canopy trees. Understory and shrub layers vary in density, with Ulmus rubra, Celtis occidentalis, Ostrya virginiana, Cercis canadensis, and Rosa carolina the most typical species. The herb layer varies from moderately open to dense and contains a diversity of xerophytic grasses and forbs. Dominant herbs are Muhlenbergia sobolifera, Helianthus divaricatus, Solidago ulmifolia, Carex pensylvanica, Elymus hystrix, and Phacelia dubia. Unusual stands that occur on concave slopes at two Virginia sites have herb layers dominated by Chasmanthium latifolium. Less abundant but relatively constant (50%) herbs include Acalypha virginica, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Arabis laevigata, Danthonia spicata, Dichanthelium boscii, Dichanthelium linearifolium, Eupatorium sessilifolium, Geum virginianum, Heuchera americana, Lespedeza frutescens (= Lespedeza intermedia), Polygonum scandens var. cristatum, Pycnanthemum incanum, Saxifraga virginiensis, and Woodsia obtusa. Less frequent but locally abundant or important herbaceous species include Schizachyrium scoparium, Senna marilandica, Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnum (= Aster laevis var. concinnum), Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, and Tradescantia ohiensis; the last species is prominent at, but confined to, the southernmost sites for this community in Giles and Grayson counties. Solidago juncea, Carex muehlenbergii var. enervis, Lespedeza virginica, and Dichanthelium depauperatum are important species of a variant of this community type occurring on metasedimentary rocks in Maryland, near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

An unusual variant of the type, occurring on east- to northeast-facing cliff-like exposures of pyroxene-bearing granites, is somewhat more mesic in character. Fraxinus americana is the sole canopy dominant of this variant, with minor associates of Quercus prinus, Tilia americana, Ulmus rubra, and Carya ovata. The shrub layer contains young reproduction of the canopy species, as well as Celtis occidentalis, Ostrya virginiana, Rosa carolina, and Crataegus pruinosa. Scrambling vines of Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis aestivalis, and Toxicodendron radicans are abundant. The herb layer is moderately dense to dense (>60% cover) despite the abundant rock cover. The lithophytes Dryopteris marginalis, Sedum glaucophyllum, Carex communis, and Saxifraga virginiensis contribute the greatest herbaceous cover. Species richness of plot-sampled stands ranges from 46 to 103 taxa per 400 square meters (mean = 66).


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya glabra G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fraxinus americana G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Cuscuta coryli G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Helianthus divaricatus G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Phacelia dubia G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Potentilla arguta G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Pycnanthemum incanum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago ulmifolia G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Taenidia montana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Woodsia obtusa G2 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Dichanthelium linearifolium G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus hystrix G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Muhlenbergia sobolifera G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Sporobolus compositus G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Pycnanthemum clinopodioides
  (Basil Mountainmint)
G1G2  
Taenidia montana
  (Mountain Parsley)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Stands occupy dry, rocky, thin-soiled slopes over mafic igneous and metamorphic rocks (metabasalt, diabase, actinolite schist, layered pyroxene granulite) of the Blue Ridge and upper Piedmont, and less frequently on pyroxene- or hornblende-bearing granites of the Blue Ridge, and calcareous sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks (sandstone, siltstone, metasiltstone, phyllite) of the Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley provinces. Elevations of 38 plot samples and other observed stands range from 60 to 1012 m (240-3300 feet), with a mean of about 550 m (1800 feet). Habitats are usually situated on steep (up to 37) middle slopes, often on or around large bedrock exposures. Mean surface cover of outcrops and loose rocks is about 40%. Aspect is variable, but the majority of sites have south to southwest aspects. Somewhat unusual and more mesic sites for this community occur on very steep, east- to northeast-facing, almost cliff-like exposures of pyroxene-bearing granites of the Virginia central Blue Ridge, with 50-70% of surface substrate of exposed bedrock and loose stones. Soils are mostly very stony clay loams that are strongly acidic (mean pH = 5.1) but have relatively high calcium (ca. 1800 ppm) and magnesium (ca. 400 ppm) levels.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community is associated with outcrops and thin-soil areas over mafic rocks and, less frequently, granitic, sedimentary, and metasedimentary rocks with high base status. Stands are mostly edaphically maintained but may occasionally be impacted by fires. The exotic herb Commelina communis and the shrub Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, introduced from farther west, are problematic invasives at some sites. Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is particularly aggressive and is capable of covering large areas with dense colonies in a matter of years, once established.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G. Fleming and P. Coulling (2001)
Element Description Edition Date: 24Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming and P. Coulling
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. G. Fleming

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


References
  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • Coulling, P. P., and T. J. Rawinski. 1999. Classification of vegetation and ecological land units of the Piney River and Mt. Pleasant area, Pedlar Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-03, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P. 1993. Floristics and preliminary classification of greenstone glade vegetation in Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science 44:119 (Abstract).

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., A. Belden, Jr., K. E. Heffernan, A. C. Chazal, N. E. Van Alstine, and E. M. Butler. 2007a. A natural heritage inventory of the rock outcrops of Shenandoah National Park. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 433 pp. plus appendixes.

  • 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. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • 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. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009b. Classification of selected Virginia montane wetland groups. In-house analysis, December 2009. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.

  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.

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

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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