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Cephalanthus occidentalis - Decodon verticillatus Shrub Swamp
Translated Name: Common Buttonbush - Swamp-loosestrife Shrub Swamp
Common Name: Northeastern Buttonbush Shrub Swamp
Unique Identifier: CEGL006069
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This buttonbush swamp occurs in the northeastern United States. These swamps experience prolonged or semipermanent flooding for much of the growing season, with water tables receding below the soil surface only during drought or very late in the growing season. They occur in a variety of environmental settings, including backwater sloughs or oxbow ponds, wet swales in floodplains, pond and lake borders, and small, isolated depressions where water levels recede very slowly, such as those with perched water tables. The substrate is typically loose muck. Cephalanthus occidentalis is dominant and often monotypic. Occasional associates depend on the environmental setting and most often occur in drier areas. They include Vaccinium corymbosum, Rhododendron viscosum, Acer rubrum, Cornus spp. closer to upland borders, or Acer saccharinum, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Viburnum dentatum where adjacent to floodplains, or Decodon verticillatus, Chamaedaphne calyculata, and Spiraea alba var. latifolia in more stagnant basins. Herbaceous species tend to be sparse but can include Glyceria canadensis, Dulichium arundinaceum, Carex stricta, Scirpus cyperinus, Thelypteris palustris, Leersia oryzoides, Acorus calamus, Alisma plantago-aquatica, Polygonum spp., Sparganium spp., and floating or submerged aquatic species such as Lemna minor, Potamogeton natans, and Nuphar variegata (= Nuphar lutea ssp. variegata). Bryophytes, if present, cling to shrub bases and include Warnstorfia fluitans (= Drepanocladus fluitans), Drepanocladus aduncus, or Sphagnum fallax. In disturbed areas, these wetland may be invaded by Lythrum salicaria.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This type may be synonymous with Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. Northern Shrub Swamp (CEGL002190), although it also ranges south of the glaciation boundary in the east. CEGL002190 is distributed from the Western Allegheny Plateau (TNC Ecoregion 49) and Great Lakes (TNC Ecoregion 48) west to the Central Tallgrass Prairie (TNC Ecoregion 36), while this type occurs from the Central Appalachian Forest (TNC Ecoregion 59) and High Allegheny Plateau (TNC Ecoregion 60) east.

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 Shrub Swamp
Alliance Buttonbush - Swamp-loosestrife Shrub Swamp

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002190 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. Northern Shrub Swamp
CEGL002191 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. - Lemna spp. Southern Shrub Swamp
CEGL004075 Cephalanthus occidentalis - (Leucothoe racemosa) / Carex joorii Shrub Swamp



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
Connecticut Common buttonbush / Rattlesnake mannagrass (Cephalanthus occidentalis / Glyceria canadensis) community Equivalent Certain Metzler and Barrett 2006
Delaware Northeastern Buttonbush Shrub Swamp Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maine Mixed Graminoid - Shrub Marsh Broader   Gawler 2002
Maryland Cephalanthus occidentalis / Glyceria canadensis Shrubland Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
Massachusetts Shrub Swamp Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire Buttonbush Basin Swamp Finer   Sperduto 2000
New Hampshire Oxbow Buttonbush Swamp Finer   Sperduto 2000
New Jersey Cephalanthus occidentalis - Decodon verticillatus Shrubland Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Shrub swamp Broader Certain Edinger et al. 2002
Pennsylvania Buttonbush Wetland Equivalent   Fike 1999
Vermont Buttonbush Swamp Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Glyceria canadensis Shrubland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Glyceria canadensis community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2001. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft 5/21/2001. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Center, Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis Semi-permanently Flooded Shrubland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.
Related Concept Name: Buttonbush Swamp (Kettle Basin Shrub Swamp)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Thompson, E. 1996. Natural communities of Vermont uplands and wetland. Nongame and Natural Heritage Program, Department of Fish and Wildlife in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, Vermont chapter. 34 pp.
Related Concept Name: Buttonbush Wetland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.
Related Concept Name: Buttonbush semipermanently flooded shrub swamp
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Mixed Graminoid - Shrub Marsh
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.
Related Concept Name: Palustrine Broad-leaved Deciduous Scrub-Shrub Wetland, Seasonally Flooded (PSS1C)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. FWS/OBS-79/31. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC. 103 pp.
Related Concept Name: Scrub/Shrub Wetland, Cephalanthus occidentalis variant
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Enser, R. 1999. Natural communities of Rhode Island. Unpublished draft, December 1999. 22 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.587 Laurentian-Acadian Floodplain Forest
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES203.250 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Brownwater River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4G5 (31Jan2007)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This association is widely distributed in the northeastern U.S. and relatively common in its small-patch setting. It is vulnerable to groundwater disruption, agricultural runoff, and adjacent forest clearing.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT
Canadian Province Distribution: QC
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This association is found throughout the northeastern United States (an estimated 450,000 square km based on subsection attribution).

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Western Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Lower Mississippi Riverine Forest Province
Province Code: 234 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Warm Continental Regime Mountains
Province Name: Adirondack-New England Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: White Mountain Section
Section Code: M212A Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Vermont-New Hampshire Upland Section
Section Code: M212B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Green, Taconic, Berkshire Mountain Section
Section Code: M212C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Adirondack Mountain Section
Section Code: M212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Catskill Mountain Section
Section Code: M212E 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: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association includes buttonbush swamps of the eastern and northeastern United States. These swamps experience prolonged or semipermanent flooding for much of the growing season with water tables receding below the soil surface only during drought or very late in the growing season. They occur in a variety of environmental settings including backwater sloughs or oxbow ponds, wet swales in floodplains, pond and lake borders, and small isolated depressions where water levels recede very slowly, such as those with perched water tables. Cephalanthus occidentalis is dominant and often monotypic. Scattered Acer rubrum trees may be present in the wetland. Occasional associates depend on the environmental setting, and some only occur in drier areas. They include Vaccinium corymbosum, Rhododendron viscosum, Acer rubrum, Salix spp., Cornus amomum or Cornus sericea closer to upland borders, or Acer saccharinum, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, or Viburnum dentatum where adjacent to floodplains, or Decodon verticillatus, Chamaedaphne calyculata, and Spiraea alba var. latifolia in more stagnant basins. Herbaceous species tend to be sparse but can include Glyceria canadensis, Dulichium arundinaceum, Carex stricta, Scirpus cyperinus, Osmunda regalis, Thelypteris palustris, Bidens spp., Sium suave, Scutellaria lateriflora, Alisma plantago-aquatica, Polygonum spp., Sparganium spp., and floating or submerged aquatic species such as Lemna minor, Potamogeton natans, and Nuphar variegata (= Nuphar lutea ssp. variegata). Bryophytes, if present, cling to shrub bases and include Warnstorfia fluitans (= Drepanocladus fluitans), Drepanocladus aduncus, or Sphagnum fallax.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Cephalanthus occidentalis G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Vaccinium corymbosum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Lythrum salicaria G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sparganium americanum G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Osmunda regalis G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Dulichium arundinaceum G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association includes buttonbush swamps that experience prolonged or semipermanent flooding for much of the growing season with water tables receding below the soil surface only during drought or very late in the growing season. They occur in a variety of environmental settings including backwater sloughs or oxbow ponds, wet swales in floodplains, pond and lake borders, and small, isolated depressions where water levels recede very slowly, such as those with perched water tables. Soils are often organic mucks or silt loams.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 21Jun2006
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid, E. Southgate, L.A. Sneddon, S.C. Gawler, E. Largay
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Jan2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): S.C. Gawler, mod. L.A. Sneddon

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


References
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  • Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. FWS/OBS-79/31. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC. 103 pp.

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