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Prunus pumila var. depressa / Deschampsia cespitosa Riverscour Wet Meadow
Translated Name: Eastern Sandcherry / Tufted Hairgrass Riverscour Wet Meadow
Common Name: Northern Cobble Rivershore
Unique Identifier: CEGL006437
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is characteristic of broad, exposed cobble beaches on Laurentian-Acadian northeastern rivers. The vegetation is patchy and dominated by a mixture of grasses and forbs, with some low shrubs mixed in. Trees are absent, and shrubs are kept to a low height by the ice-scour usually associated with spring snowmelt along these rivers. Total vegetation cover is about 60-90% but is locally variable. The dominant and characteristic grass is Deschampsia cespitosa; associated grasses include Spartina pectinata, Agrostis scabra, and Phalaris arundinacea. Forb richness may be relatively high and include species more-or-less restricted (in the east) to these rivershore habitats such as Astragalus alpinus var. brunetianus, Prenanthes racemosa, Tanacetum bipinnatum ssp. huronense, Gentianella amarella, Hedysarum alpinum, Symphyotrichum anticostense, and Oxytropis campestris var. johannensis. More common associates include Desmodium canadense, Solidago juncea, Campanula rotundifolia, Apocynum cannabinum, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, Iris versicolor, and Argentina anserina, along with the exotic Silene vulgaris. Associated shrubs, aside from the diagnostic and locally extensive Prunus pumila var. depressa, include Toxicodendron rydbergii, Cornus sericea, Spiraea alba, Rosa blanda, and Salix spp. This association is distinguished by its river-channel setting, cobble substrate, and prominence of Prunus pumila var. depressa and Deschampsia cespitosa.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This type is also related to another new Northern Appalachians type, Calamagrostis canadensis - Doellingeria umbellata - Spartina pectinata Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL006427). Those grasslands develop on sandier soils, somewhat higher above the riverbed, and have much higher vegetation cover. Along a particular stretch of river, the two types may grade from one into the other.

A less-boreal analog has been described from New Hampshire (Dwarf cherry river channel, S2), differing in the associated herbaceous species, i.e., prairie grasses rather than Deschampsia cespitosa, and near-boreal forbs lacking. This type is crosswalked to Prunus pumila / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL006518).


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 Riverscour Vegetation
Group Laurentian-Acadian Riverscour Vegetation
Alliance Sub-boreal Riverscour

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006427 Calamagrostis canadensis - Doellingeria umbellata - Spartina pectinata Riverscour Wet Meadow
CEGL006518 Prunus pumila / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans Riverscour Wet Meadow



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
Maine Sand cherry - tufted hairgrass river beach Equivalent   Gawler 2002
Maine Twisted sedge cobble rivershore Equivalent   Gawler and Cutko 2010
New York Riverside ice meadow Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Vermont River Cobble Shore Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Dwarf Cherry River Channel
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Nichols, W. F., J. M. Hoy, and D. D. Sperduto. 2001. Open riparian communities and riparian complexes in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord, NH. 82 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Sand Cherry - Tufted Hairgrass River Beach
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES103.589 Boreal Ice-Scour Rivershore
CES201.587 Laurentian-Acadian Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (05Feb2003)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ME, NY, VT
Global Distribution: Canadapotentially occurs, United States
Global Range: This association occurs from northern Maine to New York and is believed to be more widely distributed in adjacent Canada.

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: Aroostook Hills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Maine-New Brunswick Foothills and Lowlands Section
Section Code: 212B Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Possible
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Western Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221F 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: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The dominant and characteristic grass is Deschampsia cespitosa; associated grasses include Spartina pectinata, Agrostis scabra, and Phalaris arundinacea. Forb richness may be relatively high and include species more-or-less restricted (in the east) to these rivershore habitats such as Astragalus alpinus var. brunetianus, Prenanthes racemosa, Tanacetum bipinnatum ssp. huronense, Gentianella amarella, Hedysarum alpinum, Symphyotrichum anticostense, and Oxytropis campestris var. johannensis. More common associates include Desmodium canadense, Solidago juncea, Campanula rotundifolia, Apocynum cannabinum, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (= Aster novi-belgii), Iris versicolor, and Argentina anserina, along with the exotic Silene vulgaris (= Silene cucubalus). Associated shrubs, aside from the diagnostic and locally extensive Prunus pumila var. depressa, include Toxicodendron rydbergii, Cornus sericea, Spiraea alba, Rosa blanda, and Salix spp.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Prunus pumila var. depressa GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Silene vulgaris GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Deschampsia caespitosa GNR Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 

Vegetation Structure Summary: The vegetation is patchy and dominated by a mixture of grasses and forbs, with some low shrubs mixed in. Trees are absent, and shrubs are kept to a low height by the ice-scour usually associated with spring snowmelt along these rivers. Total vegetation cover is about 60-90% but is locally variable.


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Shores of larger rivers where coarse deposits remain after spring flooding and ice-scour. The substrate is usually cobbly and often dry at the surface. Sites flood in the spring and may be underwater for brief periods during the summer. Slope is very slight, and the sites are exposed to full sun.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.C. Gawler (2002)
Element Description Edition Date: 26Oct2018
Element Description 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
  • CDPNQ [Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec]. No date. Unpublished data. Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Québec.

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

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • 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.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Nichols, W. F., J. M. Hoy, and D. D. Sperduto. 2001. Open riparian communities and riparian complexes in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord, NH. 82 pp. plus appendices.

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.


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