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Eleocharis quinqueflora Fen
Translated Name: Few-flower Spikerush Fen
Unique Identifier: CEGL001836
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This wetland association is found in the upper subalpine and lower alpine in the western United States and forms uniform peatland communities. Sites can occur in wet basins, stream terraces, ponds, cirque basins, and marshy meadows associated with seeps. Substrates are typically poorly drained, nutrient-poor, organic soils that are wet or saturated throughout the summer. Surface layers may dry out in late summer on some sites. Peat layers range from thin peat over quartzite sands to deep peat occasionally as deep as 2 m. The vegetation is characterized by a moderately dense to dense herbaceous layer that is strongly dominated by Eleocharis quinqueflora. Carex aquatilis is a common graminoid associate that may codominate some stands. Vegetation growth is relatively sparse compared to other wetlands, especially in higher elevation stands. Other graminoids may include Carex buxbaumii, Carex illota, Carex jonesii, Carex lachenalii (on extremely nutrient-poor sites), Carex scopulorum, Carex utriculata, Deschampsia cespitosa, and Eleocharis rostellata. Forb cover is generally low but often includes Caltha leptosepala, Dodecatheon alpinum, Oreostemma alpigenum, Pedicularis groenlandica, and Polygonum bistortoides. Scattered shrubs may also be present, such as Betula glandulosa or Salix planifolia. Diagnostic of this herbaceous wetland community is the dominance or codominance of Eleocharis quinqueflora and the presence of surface water for extended periods during the growing season.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: This association is defined as a PNV vegetation type. Eleocharis pauciflora is a synonym for Eleocharis quinqueflora. This is a widespread, broadly defined wetland of the western U.S. Additional associations may be described after further survey and classification work.

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.Nb - Western North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Western North American Montane Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Vancouverian-Rocky Mountain Montane Wet Meadow & Marsh
Alliance Clustered Field Sedge - Mountain Sedge - Few-flower Spikerush Wet Meadow

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL001837 Eleocharis quinqueflora - Carex scopulorum 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
Idaho Eleocharis quinqueflora Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Montana Eleocharis quinqueflora Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain MTNHP 2002
Oregon Eleocharis quinqueflora Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Carex aquatilis - Carex utriculata Plant Association, Eleocharis pauciflora Phase
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis pauciflora - Carex aquatilis Habitat Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Mattson, D. J. 1984. Classification and environmental relationships of wetland vegetation in central Yellowstone National Park. Unpublished thesis, University of Idaho, Moscow. 409 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis pauciflora - Carex lachenalii Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Cooper, D. J. 1990. Ecology of wetlands in Big Meadows, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service. Biological Report 90(15). Washington, DC. 45 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis pauciflora
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crowe, E. A., and R. R. Clausnitzer. 1997. Mid-montane wetland plant associations of the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-22-97. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1987. Riparian zone associations - Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema national forests. Technical Paper 279-87. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 171 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis pauciflora Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kovalchik, B. L. 1993. Riparian plant associations on the national forests of eastern Washington - Draft version 1. USDA Forest Service, Colville National Forest, Colville, WA. 203 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis pauciflora Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Jensen, S. E., and J. S. Tuhy. 1981. Soils investigation of riparian communities of East Smiths Fork and Henrys Fork drainages, North Slope Uinta Mountains, Utah. Unpublished report presented to USDA Forest Service, Ogden, UT. 35 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis pauciflora Habitat Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Hansen, P. L., R. D. Pfister, K. Boggs, B. J. Cook, J. Joy, and D. K. Hinckley. 1995. Classification and management of Montana's riparian and wetland sites. Miscellaneous Publication No. 54. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, School of Forestry, University of Montana. 646 pp. plus posters.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Manning, M. E., and W. G. Padgett. 1995. Riparian community type classification for Humboldt and Toiyabe national forests, Nevada and eastern California. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 306 pp.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis quinqueflora
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Murray, M. P. 2000. Wetland plant associations of the western hemlock zone in the central coastal and westslope Cascade Mountains. Unpublished report, Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland, OR. 82 pp. [http://www.natureserve.org/nhp/us/or/nw_or_wetlands.pdf]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis quinqueflora (E. pauciflora) Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Crowe, E. A., B. L. Kovalchik, and M. J. Kerr. 2004. Riparian and wetland vegetation of central and eastern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University, Portland. 473 pp. [http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/ publications.html]
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis quinqueflora Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.
Related Concept Name: Eleocharis quinqueflora Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Carsey, K., D. Cooper, K. Decker, D. Culver, and G. Kittel. 2003b. Statewide wetlands classification and characterization: Wetland plant associations of Colorado. Prepared for Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver, by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 79 pp. [http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/documents/2003/wetland_classification_final_report_2003.pdf]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Keeler-Wolf, T., P. E. Moore, E. T. Reyes, J. M. Menke, D. N. Johnson, and D. L. Karavidas. 2012. Yosemite National Park vegetation classification and mapping project report. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/YOSE/NRTR--2012/598. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Association Pediculari groenlandicae - Eleocharis quinqueflora (Komarkova 1976)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Komarkova, V. 1979. Alpine vegetation of the Indian Peaks area, Front Range, Colorado Rocky Mountains. Flora et vegetatio mundi 7, R. Tuxen, editor, 2 volumes, Vaduz: J. Cramer. 591 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES306.812 Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (01Feb1996)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CA, CO, ID, MT, NVpotentially occurs, OR, UT, WA, WY
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This vegetation type is found in the upper subalpine and lower alpine in the western United States.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Mediterranean Regime Mountains
Province Name: Sierran Steppe - Mixed Forest - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M261 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Sierra Nevada Section
Section Code: M261E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe - Open Woodland - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M331 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Yellowstone Highlands Section
Section Code: M331A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: South-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: North-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M332 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bitterroot Valley Section
Section Code: M332B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Rocky Mountain Front Section
Section Code: M332C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Belt Mountains Section
Section Code: M332D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Beaverhead Mountains Section
Section Code: M332E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Challis Volcanics Section
Section Code: M332F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Northern Rocky Mountain Forest - Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M333 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Flathead Valley Section
Section Code: M333B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Bitterroot Mountains Section
Section Code: M333D Occurrence Status: Possible
Division Name: Temperate Desert Regime Mountains
Province Name: Nevada-Utah Mountains Semi-Desert - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M341 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Utah High Plateaus and Mountains Section
Section Code: M341C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This wetland association is characterized by a moderately dense to dense herbaceous layer that is strongly dominated by Eleocharis quinqueflora. Carex aquatilis is a common graminoid associate that may codominate some stands (Padgett et al. 1989). Vegetation growth is relatively sparse compared to other wetlands, especially in higher elevation stands (Carsey et al. 2003a, 2003b). Other graminoids may include Carex buxbaumii, Carex illota, Carex jonesii, Carex lachenalii (on extremely nutrient-poor sites), Carex scopulorum, Carex simulata, Carex utriculata, Deschampsia cespitosa, Eleocharis rostellata, Trichophorum cespitosum (= Scirpus cespitosus), and Triglochin palustris. Forb cover is generally low but often includes Caltha leptosepala, Dodecatheon alpinum, Mimulus primuloides, Oreostemma alpigenum (= Aster alpigenus), Pedicularis groenlandica, and Polygonum bistortoides (Jensen and Tuhy 1981, Mattson 1984, Padgett et al. 1989, Cooper 1990, Hansen et al. 1995, Manning and Padgett 1995, Kittel et al. 1999b). Scattered shrubs may also be present, such as Betula glandulosa, Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda, or Salix planifolia. Rare species Carex lachenalii and Eriophorum angustifolium grow locally on sites too nutrient-poor for other species. Diagnostic of this herbaceous wetland community is the dominance or codominance of Eleocharis quinqueflora and the presence of surface water for extended periods during the growing season.

Adjacent riparian vegetation may include marshes and wet meadows dominated by various species such as Carex aquatilis, Carex utriculata, Eleocharis palustris, and Caltha leptosepala, or shrublands dominated by Salix planifolia or Betula glandulosa. Drier sites include mesic spruce-fir forests, Salix brachycarpa shrublands, and Deschampsia cespitosa meadows. Upland vegetation is often alpine talus slopes, krummholz, dry-mesic spruce-fir or lodgepole pine forests, and subalpine Festuca thurberi grasslands that occur on adjacent hillslopes (Manning and Padgett 1995, Kittel et al. 1999b).


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Caltha leptosepala var. leptosepala G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pedicularis groenlandica G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex aquatilis G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Eleocharis quinqueflora G4 Graminoid Herb (field)
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This wetland association is found in the upper subalpine and lower alpine zones in the western United States and forms uniform peatland communities. Elevation ranges from 1430 to 3800 m (4700-12,300 feet). Sites can occur in wet basins, stream terraces, ponds, cirque basins, and marshy meadows associated with seeps. Streams were classified according to the Rosgen Classification of Natural Rivers (Rosgen 1996). Adjacent stream channels are narrow and sinuous headwater rivulets (Rosgen's Channel Type: E4-5) with lateral seepage from surrounding toeslopes. Substrates are typically poorly drained, nutrient-poor, organic soils that are wet or saturated throughout the summer (Cryohemists, Cryofibrists or Borofibrists, Borochemists, and Borosaprists) (Komarkova 1979, Kovalchik 1987, Padgett et al. 1989, Hansen et al. 1995, Kittel et al. 1999b). Surface layers may dry out in late summer on some sites. Peat layers range from thin peat over quartzite sands to deep peat occasionally as deep as 2 m (Cooper 1990).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Eleocharis quinqueflora is an early colonizer and persists under wet conditions (Padgett et al. 1989). Carex aquatilis can be a codominant in this plant association (Padgett et al. 1989). Grazing in this association can increase the cover of increaser and invader species such as Agrostis stolonifera and Juncus arcticus ssp. littoralis and will damage the wet soils (Kittel et al. 1999b). If conditions become drier, Carex scopulorum may dominate and replace this association (Manning and Padgett 1995).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Western Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 25Feb2009
Element Description Author(s): T. Keeler-Wolf and K.A. Schulz

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


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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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Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019