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Justicia americana Riverbed Vegetation
Translated Name: American Water-willow Riverbed Vegetation
Common Name: Water-willow Rocky Bar and Shore
Unique Identifier: CEGL004286
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This widespread association is found primarily in the Piedmont, Central Appalachians, Cumberland Plateau, Interior Low Plateau, Ozarks, Ouachita Mountains, and adjacent provinces. Stands occur on the shoals or bars of rocky streams and riverbeds, where they are subject to frequent high-energy floods. Slopes range from level to moderate but are typically gentle. The substrate is a variable mixture of sand, gravel and cobbles, often with deposits of silt and muck. Rooting occurs in the interstices between cobbles and boulders. Justicia americana is the characteristic dominant. Saururus cernuus is often present and may be codominant. Other herbaceous species that may be present include Bidens spp., Cyperus spp., Diodia teres, Elodea sp., Eleocharis spp., Equisetum arvense, Gratiola brevifolia, Leersia oryzoides, Leersia virginica, Lemna minor, Orontium aquaticum, Physostegia virginiana, Podostemum ceratophyllum, Polygonum caespitosum var. longisetum, Scirpus spp., Schoenoplectus pungens, Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, and Xyris difformis var. difformis. Exotics include Lythrum salicaria and Lysimachia vulgaris; where present, these are sparse. Some stands have low cover by scattered flood-suppressed trees or an overhanging canopy. Trees in plots include Acer saccharinum, Betula nigra, Carpinus caroliniana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Platanus occidentalis. Scattered shrub seedlings of Salix nigra, Salix caroliniana, Betula nigra, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Acer saccharinum, or Platanus occidentalis may also be present. This association provides habitat in some portions of its range for globally rare dragonflies and herbs.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: In Ohio this type often forms pure patches, but consistent identification may require a simple cutoff rule, such as at least 50% cover of Justicia (Anderson 1982). However, Anderson (1996) no longer recognizes this type.

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 Wet Shoreline Vegetation
Group Eastern North American Riverine Wetland Vegetation
Alliance Water-willow Riverbed

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004285 Hymenocallis coronaria - Justicia americana Riverbed Vegetation
CEGL006579 Justicia americana - Peltandra virginica Tidal Marsh
CEGL007696 Peltandra virginica - Saururus cernuus - Boehmeria cylindrica / Climacium americanum Marsh



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 Justicia americana Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Maryland Justicia americana Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
New York Cobble Shore Wet Meadow Intersects Certain Edinger et al. 2002
North Carolina Rocky Bar and Shore (Water Willow Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Ohio Water-Willow Riverine Community Equivalent   ONHD unpubl. data
Oklahoma Justicia americana herbaceous association Undetermined   Hoagland 2000
Pennsylvania Water-willow (Justicia americana) - Smartweed Emergent Bed Equivalent   Fike 1999
South Carolina Shoal and Stream Bar Broader   Nelson 1986
Tennessee Justicia americana Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Justicia americana - Andropogon gerardii herbaceous channel bed
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D., and M. Anderson. 1997. Critical habitats and associated communities in the riparian zone of the Gauley River. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.
Related Concept Name: Justicia americana Herbaceous Vegetation
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: Justicia americana riparian herbaceous vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Vanderhorst, J. 2001b. Plant communities of the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia: Northern and southern thirds. Non-game Wildlife and Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Elkins. 146 pp.
Related Concept Name: Aquatic Types
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schmalzer, P. A., and H. R. DeSelm. 1982. Vegetation, endangered and threatened plants, critical plant habitats and vascular flora of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Unpublished report. USDI National Park Service, Obed Wild and Scenic River. 2 volumes. 369 pp.
Related Concept Name: Depositional Bars and Shore
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: IIE3a. Riverside Shoal and Stream Bar Complex
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Lizard's tail emergent bed
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Perles, S., G. Podniesinski, and J. Wagner. 2004. Classification, assessment and protection of non-forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Harrisburg. 128 pp.
Related Concept Name: Rocky Bar / Shore
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.
Related Concept Name: Rocky Bar and Shore
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Rocky Bar and Shore (Water Willow Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2002. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain communities. November 2002 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Water willow emergent bed
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Perles, S., G. Podniesinski, and J. Wagner. 2004. Classification, assessment and protection of non-forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Harrisburg. 128 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.036 Cumberland Riverscour
CES202.323 Southern Piedmont Small Floodplain and Riparian Forest
CES202.324 Southern Piedmont Large Floodplain Forest
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES202.609 Central Appalachian Stream and Riparian
CES202.703 Ozark-Ouachita Riparian
CES202.705 South-Central Interior Large Floodplain
CES202.706 South-Central Interior Small Stream and Riparian


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4G5 (02Oct2012)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: The range of this type is huge, and a more careful analysis might turn up differences based on associated species that warrant splitting the type, but we may not have sufficiently detailed data rangewide to do so.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, AR, GA, KY, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SCpotentially occurs, TN, VA, WV
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This type is found primarily in the Piedmont, Interior Low Plateau, Cumberland Plateau, Ozarks, Ouachita Mountains, Central Appalachians, and adjacent provinces. It ranges from Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas west to Arkansas and Oklahoma and north to Ohio, New York, and New Jersey, with possible outliers north to southern Quebec.

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: 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
Section Name: Northern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 221H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Shawnee Hills Section
Section Code: 222D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Highland Rim Section
Section Code: 222E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Till Plains, Beech-Maple Section
Section Code: 222H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
Section Name: Coastal Plain Middle Section
Section Code: 231B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 231C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: 231D 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: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Ozark Broadleaf Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Boston Mountains Section
Section Code: M222A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Regime Mountains
Province Name: Ouachita Mixed Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Ouachita Mountains Section
Section Code: M231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Justicia americana is the dominant (and sometimes the only) species, forming lawnlike stands in shallow reaches of rivers. Cover by Justicia americana ranges from 40 to 85%. Saururus cernuus is often present and may be codominant. Other herbaceous species may be present but rarely achieve more than 2% cover; they include Bidens spp., Cyperus spp., Diodia teres, Elodea sp., Eleocharis spp., Equisetum arvense, Gratiola brevifolia, Leersia oryzoides, Leersia virginica, Lemna minor, Orontium aquaticum, Physostegia virginiana, Podostemum ceratophyllum, Polygonum caespitosum var. longisetum, Scirpus spp., Schoenoplectus pungens, Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, and Xyris difformis var. difformis. Exotics include Lythrum salicaria and Lysimachia vulgaris; they have not been observed in abundance in this community, possibly due to intolerance of high-energy flooding. In some areas, Justicia usually grows in nearly pure patches, so that few other species are associated with it. Cuscuta gronovii, Mimulus ringens, Polygonum spp., Rumex spp., and Salix interior can also occur (Anderson 1982). Some stands have low cover by scattered flood-suppressed trees or an overhanging canopy. Trees in plots include Acer saccharinum, Betula nigra, Carpinus caroliniana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Platanus occidentalis. Scattered shrub seedlings of Salix nigra, Salix caroliniana, Betula nigra, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Acer saccharinum, or Platanus occidentalis may also be present. In the Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Justicia americana is present in dense patches with some interspersion of other species, including Pilea pumila, Boehmeria cylindrica, Eclipta prostrata (= Eclipta alba), Juncus coriaceus, Mikania scandens, Ludwigia palustris, Leersia sp., and Bidens sp. Schmalzer and DeSelm (1982) discuss Orontium aquaticum growing along streambanks or in shallow riffles "along or with" Justicia americana in the Obed River in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. In 29 plots sampled in the Potomac River watershed (Piedmont, Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley provinces), Justicia was overwhelmingly dominant (50-75% mean cover), and no associated species occurred in more than 48% of the plots. Vascular plant species richness in sampled plots is low (typically 6-14 taxa).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Boehmeria cylindrica G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Justicia americana G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Lysimachia vulgaris G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Lythrum salicaria G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Marshallia trinervia G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polygonum caespitosum var. longisetum G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Ptilimnium nodosum G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sagittaria secundifolia G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Saururus cernuus G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Leersia oryzoides G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Leersia virginica G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schoenoplectus pungens G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Polygonum amphibium G4 Aquatic herb Floating aquatic    
 
 
Orontium aquaticum G4 Aquatic herb Submerged aquatic    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Marshallia trinervia
  (Broadleaf Barbara's-buttons)
G3  
Ptilimnium nodosum
  (Harperella)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Sagittaria secundifolia
  (Little River Arrowhead)
G1 LT: Listed threatened


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs on the shoals or bars of rocky streams and riverbeds, on bedrock, boulders, cobble, gravel, and sands. They are subject to frequent high-energy floods, and are entirely submerged by most flood events. During extreme low water periods, the substrate can be exposed, showing a varied mixture of sand, gravel and cobbles, often with deposits of silt and muck. Rooting occurs in the interstices between cobbles and boulders. Stands commonly occur on the edge of the river and at the heads and tails of islands and may sometimes occur on deposition bars in the middle of the river. Substrate pH is circumneutral (mean = 6.0) in four samples. Slopes range from level to moderate but are typically gentle. Elevations of West Virginia stands range from 73 to at least 654 m; the type occurs at lower elevations in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Stands in some situations may be obliterated by ongoing river channeling. Anderson (1982) describes some of the life-history characteristics of Justicia americana that allow it to persist in river channels.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. D. Faber-Langendoen
Element Description Edition Date: 02Apr2010
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley, D. Faber-Langendoen and S.C. Gawler
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Oct2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): S.C. Gawler

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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Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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