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Morella cerifera / Hydrocotyle verticillata Wet Shrubland
Translated Name: Wax-myrtle / Whorled Marsh-pennywort Wet Shrubland
Common Name: Wax-myrtle Wet Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL003840
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This tall wet shrubland of sheltered maritime backdunes is restricted to the mid-Atlantic states. Although the hydrologic regime of this shrubland is somewhat variable, it is influenced by a shallow water table and surface water may be present in pools. A shallow to moderately deep layer of muck usually characterizes the soil profile. This community can form dense wet thickets, particularly in more protected areas. The vegetation is strongly dominated by tall, treelike shrub growth of Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera), with associates including Baccharis halimifolia, Rosa palustris, and Acer rubrum saplings occurring at very low cover. Shrubs may reach heights of 6 m and appear tree-like in their growth form. Herbaceous vegetation can be quite lush and diverse. Common herbs include Hydrocotyle verticillata, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Chasmanthium laxum, Woodwardia areolata, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Carex longii, Leersia virginica, Polygonum pensylvanicum, Boehmeria cylindrica, Calystegia sepium, Ludwigia palustris, Juncus canadensis, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Lycopus americanus, Galium obtusum, Samolus valerandi ssp. parviflorus (= Samolus parviflorus), Pluchea odorata, Mikania scandens, Vitis rotundifolia, and Polygonum pensylvanicum. Toxicodendron radicans can be very common and constitutes a large portion of the understory cover. This community can be prone to invasion by Phragmites australis.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: The classification of maritime shrublands dominated by Morella cerifera is murky and requires further data for clarification.

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.Ne - Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Plain Wet Prairie & Marsh
Group Northern & Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetland
Alliance Coastal Wax-myrtle Wet Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003839 Morella cerifera / Spartina patens Wet Shrubland
CEGL003906 Morella (cerifera, pensylvanica) - Vaccinium corymbosum Wet Shrubland



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
Delaware Wax-Myrtle Shrub Swamp Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Morella cerifera / Hydrocotyle verticillata Shrubland Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Morella cerifera / Hydrocotyle verticillata 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: Myrica cerifera / Hydrocotyle spp. Shrubland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Shrub Swamp
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Shrubland
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: Mesic shrub zone
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.
Related Concept Name: Shrub succession community
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.
Related Concept Name: Swamp thicket
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Klotz, L. H. 1986. The vascular flora of Wallops Island and Wallops Mainland, Virginia. Castanea 51:306-326.
Related Concept Name: Thicket community
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Boule, M. E. 1979. The vegetation of Fisherman Island, Virginia. Castanea 44:98-108.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (18Jan2006)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This vegetation is limited to the coastal dunes of barrier islands in only three states. It is threatened by coastal development.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MD, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: Currently this association is described from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
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: Predicted or probable
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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community is a dense wet thicket, particularly in more protected areas. The vegetation is strongly dominated by tall, tree-like shrub growth of Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera), with associates including Baccharis halimifolia, Rosa palustris, and Acer rubrum saplings occurring at very low cover. Shrubs may reach heights of 6 m and appear treelike in their growth form. Herbaceous vegetation can be quite lush and diverse. Common herbs include Hydrocotyle verticillata, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Chasmanthium laxum, Woodwardia areolata, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Carex longii, Leersia virginica, Polygonum pensylvanicum, Boehmeria cylindrica, Calystegia sepium, Ludwigia palustris, Juncus canadensis, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Lycopus americanus, Galium obtusum, Samolus valerandi ssp. parviflorus (= Samolus parviflorus), Pluchea odorata, Mikania scandens, Vitis rotundifolia, and Polygonum pensylvanicum. Toxicodendron radicans can be very common and constitutes a large portion of the understory cover. This community can be prone to invasion by Phragmites australis.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Parthenocissus quinquefolia G2 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans G2 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Baccharis halimifolia G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Morella cerifera G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Hydrocotyle verticillata G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Phragmites australis G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs on sheltered maritime backdunes where there is a shallow water table or surface water. Soils are shallow to moderately deep muck.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon and A. Berdine 11-95, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 09May2002
Element Description Author(s): A. Berdine, L.A. Sneddon, S.L. Neid
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 18Jan2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): 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
  • Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.

  • Berdine, M. A. 1998. Maryland vegetation classification. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD.

  • Boule, M. E. 1979. The vegetation of Fisherman Island, Virginia. Castanea 44:98-108.

  • Brock, J. C., C. W. Wright, M. Patterson, A. Naeghandi, and L. J. Travers. 2007. EAARL bare earth topography - Assateague Island National Seashore. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2007-1176. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1176/start.html]

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2001a. Community types of Coastal Plain calcareous ravines in Virginia. Preliminary analysis and classification. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 4 pp.

  • 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., 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.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • 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.

  • Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.

  • Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.

  • Klotz, L. H. 1986. The vascular flora of Wallops Island and Wallops Mainland, Virginia. Castanea 51:306-326.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1995c. NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.


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