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Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica / Fraxinus caroliniana Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Bald-cypress - Water Tupelo / Carolina Ash Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Bald-cypress - Tupelo Brownwater Floodplain Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007431
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a semipermanently flooded community of brownwater rivers which occurs primarily in the outer Atlantic Coastal Plain extending through the East Gulf Coastal Plain. Vegetation is characterized by a dense canopy composed almost exclusively of straight, tall individuals of Taxodium distichum and Nyssa aquatica with a sparse to moderate subcanopy and depauperate shrub and herb layers. Occasional individuals of several species (e.g., Populus heterophylla, Salix nigra, Nyssa biflora, Planera aquatica, Ulmus americana, Fraxinus profunda, Fraxinus caroliniana, Carya aquatica, Quercus lyrata) are possible in the canopy or subcanopy. The herbaceous layer is very sparse, and typical species include Saururus cernuus, Proserpinaca pectinata, Proserpinaca palustris, Asclepias perennis, Commelina virginica, Leersia lenticularis, and Phanopyrum gymnocarpon (= Panicum gymnocarpon). It is found on the lower Atlantic Coastal Plain from southeastern Virginia to southern Georgia, and possibly on the lower Gulf Coastal Plain west to southeastern Louisiana, excluding the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain. It can be found in oxbow lakes and ponds, along the banks of rivers and lakes, on low wet flats and sloughs, swales and backswamps. It occurs only on saturated or flooded soils. Forests dominated by Taxodium distichum and Nyssa aquatica are common throughout the southeastern Coastal Plain.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Conceptually, this type (CEGL007431) represents a type occurring along the outer Atlantic Coastal Plain extending through the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain and does NOT extend west of the Mississippi River. Taxodium distichum - (Nyssa aquatica) / Forestiera acuminata - Planera aquatica Floodplain Forest (CEGL002421) represents the West Gulf and interior expressions of this vegetation. This type needs to be resolved with Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica - Acer rubrum / Itea virginica Floodplain Forest (CEGL007422); apparently the conceptual difference is that CEGL007431 is semipermanently flooded while CEGL007422 is seasonally flooded.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest
Group Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest
Alliance Southern Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002420 Taxodium distichum / Lemna minor Floodplain Forest
CEGL002421 Taxodium distichum - (Nyssa aquatica) / Forestiera acuminata - Planera aquatica Floodplain Forest
CEGL007422 Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica - Acer rubrum / Itea virginica Floodplain Forest
CEGL007432 Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica - Nyssa biflora / Fraxinus caroliniana / Itea virginica Floodplain Forest



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 Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica / Fraxinus caroliniana Forest Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Florida Floodplain swamp Broader   FNAI 1997
Louisiana Baldcypress Swamp Intersects   Smith 1996
Louisiana Baldcypress-Tupelo Swamp Intersects   Smith 1996
North Carolina Cypress--Gum Swamp (Brownwater Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
South Carolina Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica / Fraxinus caroliniana Forest Equivalent Certain SCWMRD unpubl. data
South Carolina Bald cypress - tupelo gum swamp Intersects   Nelson 1986
Texas Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica / Fraxinus caroliniana Forest Equivalent Certain TNHS unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Bald Cypress - Tupelo Swamp
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: Bald Cypress - Water Tupelo Swamp
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Oberholster, C. 1993. Preliminary list of natural communities of Alabama. Unpublished document. Alabama Department Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Section, Montgomery, AL. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Bald cypress-water gum community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Jones, S. M., D. H. Van Lear, and S. K. Cox. 1981b. Major forest community types of the Savannah River Plant: A field guide. USDE Savannah River Plant, National Environmental Research Park Program. Report No. SRO-NERP-9. 79 pp. plus 24 illustrations.
Related Concept Name: Baldcypress - Tupelo: 102
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Brownwater Stream Floodplain Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.
Related Concept Name: Cypress Swamp
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.
Related Concept Name: Cypress--Gum Swamp (Brownwater Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
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: Cypress-Tupelo Swamp
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.
Related Concept Name: IIA4a. Bald Cypress Swamp
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: Mesotrophic Semipermanently Flooded Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.066 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.248 Atlantic Coastal Plain Brownwater Stream Floodplain Forest
CES203.250 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Brownwater River Floodplain Forest
CES203.493 Southern Coastal Plain Blackwater River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5? (08Jun1998)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, FL, GA, LA, NC, SC, TX, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is found on the lower Atlantic Coastal Plain from southeastern Virginia to southern Georgia, and possibly on the lower Gulf Coastal Plain west to southeastern Louisiana, excluding the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain. Forests dominated by Taxodium distichum and Nyssa aquatica are common throughout the southeastern Coastal Plain.

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: 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
Section Name: Florida Coastal Lowlands (Western) Section
Section Code: 232D Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Vegetation is characterized by a dense canopy composed almost exclusively of straight, tall individuals of Taxodium distichum and Nyssa aquatica (together contributing at least 75% of the canopy cover) with a sparse to moderate subcanopy and depauperate shrub and herb layers. Occasional individuals of several species (e.g., Populus heterophylla, Salix nigra, Nyssa biflora, Planera aquatica, Ulmus americana, Fraxinus profunda, Fraxinus caroliniana, Carya aquatica, Quercus lyrata) are possible in the canopy or subcanopy. The herbaceous layer is very sparse, and typical species include Saururus cernuus, Proserpinaca pectinata, Proserpinaca palustris, Asclepias perennis, Commelina virginica, Leersia lenticularis, and Phanopyrum gymnocarpon (= Panicum gymnocarpon). Decumaria barbara, Toxicodendron radicans, and Bignonia capreolata are commonly occurring vines but usually have <10% cover. The exotic plant species Eichhornia crassipes may a problem. The SC crosswalked community is broader and some of the above-listed species may not be appropriate.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Nyssa aquatica G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Taxodium distichum G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer rubrum var. drummondii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Fraxinus caroliniana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Planera aquatica G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Ilex amelanchier G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Cephalanthus occidentalis G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Itea virginica G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Rosa palustris G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Boehmeria cylindrica G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Heteranthera multiflora G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Ranunculus laxicaulis G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex decomposita G5 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Eichhornia crassipes G5 Aquatic herb Floating aquatic      
 
 
Hottonia inflata G5 Aquatic herb Submerged aquatic      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Carex decomposita
  (Cypress-knee Sedge)
G3G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: The community occurs on a variety of inundated topographic habitats, including oxbow ponds and lakes, backwater sloughs, along river edges and in various isolated depressions within the floodplain. It is more commonly associated with brownwater than blackwater rivers. Soil types on which it is found include very poorly drained phases of Entisols, Alfisols, Inceptisols, Ultisols, and Spodosols (Burns and Honkala 1990a). Hydrologic regime is the most important environmental determinant of the distribution of this community. Sites experience frequent flooding to near permanent ponding, with floodwater that may be 3 m deep during rainy seasons and may remain for extended periods (Burns and Honkala 1990a). Probability of annual flooding is 100% with soils nearly permanently saturated (Wharton et al. 1982).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Flooding frequency is approximately 100% of years, and flooding duration is approximately 100% of the growing season. This is a Zone II community.

The community is potentially very long-lasting; bald-cypress trees have been reported to live longer than 1000 years. In areas where sediment accumulates over time, bottomland hardwood forest types may succeed this community.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S. Landaal
Element Description Edition Date: 23May1994
Element Description Author(s): S. Landaal
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 08Jun1998

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.

  • Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

  • Applequist, M. B. 1959. A study of soil and site factors affecting the growth and development of swamp blackgum and tupelo gum stands in southeastern Georgia. D.F. dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NC. 180 pp.

  • Burdant, C. L., Jr., E. S. Nixon, and R. L. Willett. 1977. Woody vegetation of an inland heronry in East Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 21:475-486.

  • Burns, R. M., and B. H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990a. Silvics of North America: Volume 1. Conifers. Agriculture Handbook 654. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC. 675 pp.

  • Christensen, N. L. 1988. Vegetation of the southeastern Coastal Plain. Pages 317-363 in: M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge University Press, New York.

  • Demaree, D. 1932. Submerging experiments with Taxodium. Ecology 13:258-262.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992a. Natural communities. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 6 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.

  • 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. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011b. Analysis of Coastal Plain / Outer Piedmont bottomlands and non-alluvial wetlands in Virginia, 400 plots. In-house analysis, January 2011. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Jones, S. M., D. H. Van Lear, and S. K. Cox. 1981b. Major forest community types of the Savannah River Plant: A field guide. USDE Savannah River Plant, National Environmental Research Park Program. Report No. SRO-NERP-9. 79 pp. plus 24 illustrations.

  • Klawitter, R. A. 1962. Sweetgum, swamp tupelo and water tupelo sites in a South Carolina bottomland forest. D.F. dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NC. 176 pp.

  • LNHP [Louisiana Natural Heritage Program]. 2009. Natural communities of Louisiana. Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, Baton Rouge. 46 pp. [http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page_wildlife/6776-Rare%20Natural%20Communities/LA_NAT_COM.pdf]

  • Martin, W. H., S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. 1993a. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 502 pp.

  • Mitsch, W. J., and J. G. Gosselink. 1986a. Southern deepwater swamps. Pages 317-351 in: J. W. Mitsch and J. G. Gosselink, Wetlands. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.

  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 pp.

  • Oberholster, C. 1993. Preliminary list of natural communities of Alabama. Unpublished document. Alabama Department Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Section, Montgomery, AL. 6 pp.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Penfound, W. T., and T. F. Hall. 1939. A phytosociological analysis of a tupelo gum forest near Huntsville, Alabama. Ecology 20:358-64.

  • Radford, A. E., and D. L. Martin. 1975. Potential ecological natural landmarks: Piedmont region, eastern United States. University of North Carolina, Department of Botany, Chapel Hill. 249 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 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.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.

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

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. [1998]b. Classification of the vegetation of Congaree Swamp National Monument. Report to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Southern Conservation Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 67 pp.

  • Wharton, C. H., W. M. Kitchens, E. C. Pendleton, and T. W. Sipe. 1982. The ecology of bottomland hardwood swamps of the Southeast: A community profile. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services. FWS/OBS-81/37. Washington, DC.


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