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Rhododendron catawbiense - Pieris floribunda Shrubland
Translated Name: Catawba Rosebay - Mountain Fetterbush Shrubland
Common Name: Heath Bald (Southern Mixed Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL004516
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association comprises dense, montane shrub thickets dominated by Rhododendron catawbiense and Pieris floribunda, typically at elevations over 1670 m (5500 feet), on steep, rocky, dry, southwestern to southeastern exposures. This shrubland does not occur north of the Asheville Basin and is known from occurrences in Balsam Mountain (Devil's Courthouse, Silvermine Bald, Shining Rock, Tanasee Bald, Mt. Pisgah). Other shrub species can include Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), Kalmia latifolia, Amelanchier laevis, Ilex montana, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Prunus serotina, Sorbus americana, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, and Vaccinium erythrocarpum. Herb cover is sparse beneath the dense shrub canopy but may include such species as Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Oclemena acuminata (= Aster acuminatus), Eurybia chlorolepis (= Aster chlorolepis), Eurybia macrophylla (= Aster macrophyllus), Carex pensylvanica, Galax urceolata, Listera smallii, and Prenanthes sp. This community occurs adjacent to spruce - fir and Northern hardwood forests and montane grasslands dominated by Danthonia compressa and Carex pensylvanica. This community typically is of shorter stature on the most exposed sites over 1830 m (6000 feet) elevation.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: The species Pieris floribunda occurs without Rhododendron catawbiense in the Ridge and Valley and Allegheny front range of Virginia.

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 Southern Appalachian Shrub Bald
Alliance Catawba Rosebay - Carolina Azalea - Mountain Laurel Shrub Bald

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



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
North Carolina Heath Bald (Southern Mixed Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Rhododendron catawbiense-Pieris Shrubland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Newell, C. L., and R. K. Peet. 1996a. Vegetation of Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina. Unpublished report to USDA Forest Service. University of North Carolina, Department of Biological Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 253 pp. plus map.
Related Concept Name: Heath Bald
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: Heath Bald (Southern Mixed Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: IC4a. Heath Bald Shrubland
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.294 Southern Appalachian Grass and Shrub Bald


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (31Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This community has a very restricted range, found primarily in Balsam Mountain, south of Asheville, North Carolina. The total acreage of this community is limited since it occurs as scattered islands of shrubland in the highest elevations. Since this community generally occurs in inaccessible, well-protected sites, it is not highly threatened. Occurrences in areas of high recreation use may be threatened by trampling, while natural succession may threaten other sites.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, TN
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community has a very restricted range, found primarily in Balsam Mountain, south of Asheville, North Carolina.

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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: These shrublands are dominated by Rhododendron catawbiense and Pieris floribunda. Other shrub species can include Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), Kalmia latifolia, Amelanchier laevis, Ilex montana, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, Prunus serotina, Sorbus americana, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, and Vaccinium erythrocarpum. Herb cover is sparse beneath the dense shrub canopy but may include such species as Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Oclemena acuminata (= Aster acuminatus), Eurybia chlorolepis (= Aster chlorolepis), Eurybia macrophylla (= Aster macrophyllus), Carex pensylvanica, Galax urceolata, Listera smallii, and Prenanthes sp. (Newell and Peet 1996a).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Abies fraseri G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Rhododendron vaseyi G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Pieris floribunda G1 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhododendron catawbiense G1 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Hypericum buckleii G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hypericum graveolens G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Prenanthes roanensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Solidago glomerata G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Abies fraseri
  (Fraser Fir)
G2  
Ageratina altissima var. roanensis
  (Appalachian White Snakeroot)
G5T3T4  
Hypericum buckleii
  (Blue Ridge St. John's-wort)
G3  
Hypericum graveolens
  (Mountain St. John's-wort)
G3  
Prenanthes roanensis
  (Roan Mountain Rattlesnake-root)
G3  
Rhododendron vaseyi
  (Pink-shell Azalea)
G3  
Solidago glomerata
  (Skunk Goldenrod)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: These dense, montane shrub thickets are typically found at elevations over 1670 m (5500 feet), on steep, rocky, dry, southwestern to southeastern exposures. This shrubland does not occur north of the Asheville Basin and is known from occurrences in Balsam Mountain (Devil's Courthouse, Silvermine Bald, Shining Rock, Tanasee Bald, Mt. Pisgah).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community typically is of shorter stature on the most exposed sites over 1830 m (6000 feet) elevation.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson
Element Description Edition Date: 28Feb2007
Element Description Author(s): K.D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Dec1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): Southeastern Ecology Group

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


References
  • 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.

  • Newell, C. L., and R. K. Peet. 1996a. Vegetation of Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina. Unpublished report to USDA Forest Service. University of North Carolina, Department of Biological Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 253 pp. plus map.

  • Risk, P. L. 1993. High elevation heath communities in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • 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.

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

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.


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