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Quercus stellata / Schizachyrium scoparium - Sorghastrum nutans - Pycnanthemum tenuifolium - Packera paupercula Wooded Grassland
Translated Name: Post Oak / Little Bluestem - Indiangrass - Narrowleaf Mountainmint - Balsam Groundsel Wooded Grassland
Common Name: Southern Blue Ridge Mafic Barrens
Unique Identifier: CEGL006215
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is restricted to Virginia's Blue Ridge. It occurs over amphibolite, which weathers to produce high base status soils. This community is known only from Buffalo Mountain in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Although floristically related to other more common types of glades, this is a distinct type that reflects the unusual environmental conditions of the small glades on amphibole gneiss bedrock of Buffalo Mountain. There are several small openings with this type of glade set within a matrix of oak-dominated vegetation. Typical stands of this association contain Quercus stellata and Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana in the open to sparse canopy, with Schizachyrium scoparium as a dominant grass and Castilleja coccinea as a characteristic herb.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.2 - Temperate Grassland & Shrubland
Division 2.B.2.Nc - Eastern North American Grassland & Shrubland
Macrogroup Appalachian Rocky Felsic & Mafic Scrub & Grassland
Group Appalachian Mafic Glade
Alliance Appalachian Mafic-Circumneutral Barrens

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: Juniperus virginiana - Quercus stellata / Castilleja coccinea Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., and T. F. Wieboldt. 1993. Classification and ecological interpretation of mafic glade vegetation on Buffalo Mountain, Floyd County, Virginia. Banisteria 2:3-10.
Related Concept Name: Quercus stellata / Schizachyrium scoparium - Sorghastrum nutans - Pycnanthemum tenuifolium - Packera paupercula Wooded 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: Low-Elevation Basic Outcrop Barren
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: 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.

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: G1 (23Jan2000)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This community type is documented only from Buffalo Mountain, Floyd County, Virginia. It is restricted to an unusual edaphic situation, outcrops of amphibolite rock in the Southern Blue Ridge, and is unlikely to be found to be more common. Total area covered by this community is less than 40 hectares (less than 100 acres).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is known only from Buffalo Mountain in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of 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: Possible
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community ranges in physiognomy from scrub to woodland. Tree cover is typically stunted and sparse with Juniperus virginiana, Quercus stellata, and Carya ovata being the most constant canopy trees. Other woody species usually present include Amelanchier arborea, Ostrya virginiana, and Rosa carolina, but the shrub layer is patchy and not well-developed. The herbaceous layer covers 50-100% of the ground and is usually dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium. Numerous other herbaceous species and graminoids occur in this community such as Danthonia spicata, Carex pensylvanica, Solidago nemoralis, Elymus hystrix, Muhlenbergia capillaris, Polygonum tenue, Scleria pauciflora, Sorghastrum nutans, Talinum teretifolium, Asclepias verticillata, Euphorbia corollata, Packera paupercula (= Senecio pauperculus), Ionactis linariifolius, Dichanthelium commutatum, Lechea racemulosa, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Allium cernuum, and Helianthus divaricatus.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus stellata G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Juniperus virginiana G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Allium cernuum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Asclepias verticillata G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Castilleja coccinea G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Euphorbia corollata G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Galium pilosum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Helianthus divaricatus G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Polygonum tenue G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Talinum teretifolium G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Muhlenbergia capillaris G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Scleria pauciflora G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Sorghastrum nutans G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association is restricted to Virginia's Blue Ridge. It occurs over amphibolite, which weathers to produce high base status soils. This community is known only from Buffalo Mountain in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Although floristically related to other more common types of glades, this is a distinct type that reflects the unusual environmental conditions of the small glades on amphibole gneiss bedrock of Buffalo Mountain. There are several small openings with this type of glade set within a matrix of oak-dominated vegetation.

Rawinski and Wieboldt (1993) describe the single site for this type, which occurs on Buffalo Mountain, a 3971-foot monadnock in the Blue Ridge uplands. The amphibole gneiss bedrock is exposed in many places at the upper elevations where the soils are thin and poorly developed. This community occurs on upper-mid to lower-mid slope positions where lateral water drainage probably enriches the soils. However, dry summers and a southern aspect contribute to generally droughty moisture conditions. Rawinski and Wieboldt (1993) hypothesized that the seasonal wetness, soil consistency and erosiveness, and the magnesium-rich parent material create a stressful environment with a diagnostic flora.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 21May2002
Element Description Author(s): M. Anderson and M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Jan2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley

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


References
  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • 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., 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 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.

  • Rawinski, T. J., and T. F. Wieboldt. 1993. Classification and ecological interpretation of mafic glade vegetation on Buffalo Mountain, Floyd County, Virginia. Banisteria 2:3-10.

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


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