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Schizachyrium scoparium - Saxifraga michauxii - Coreopsis major Grassland
Translated Name: Little Bluestem - Michaux's Saxifrage - Greater Tickseed Grassland
Common Name: Southern Appalachian High-Elevation Rocky Summit (Little Bluestem Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL004074
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association covers high-elevation rocky summits in the Southern Appalachians occurring at elevations of from 1260 to 1715 m (4125-5625 feet) on outcrops of mafic rock or on felsic rock where perennial seepage exists. Vegetative cover is sparse and consists of graminoids, forbs, and shrubs which are rooted in rock fissures. Typical species include Saxifraga michauxii, Coreopsis major, Schizachyrium scoparium, Kalmia latifolia, Dichanthelium acuminatum, Danthonia spicata, and Paronychia argyrocoma. This community is surrounded by deciduous forests dominated by Quercus rubra, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, and occasionally Tsuga caroliniana. Other characteristic species include Campanula divaricata, Solidago bicolor, and Allium allegheniense.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: In an 1134-plot regional analysis (Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia) for the Southern Appalachian portion of the Appalachian Trail, eight plots were classified as this association (Fleming and Patterson 2009a). Plots are from Bluff Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Hawksbill Rock, and Three Top Mountain (all NC). This group was intensively compared to the group representing (Kalmia latifolia, Physocarpus opulifolius) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Thalictrum revolutum - Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Shrub Grassland (CEGL004238), a related, high-elevation mafic outcrop type. Both types feature constant Schizachyrium scoparium and Coreopsis major, but the two are otherwise found to be distinct in both physiognomy and floristic composition. Some examples of this association (CEGL004074) might well be considered sparse vegetation; both mean total vegetative cover and mean species richness are almost twice as high in the CEGL004238 group. In this comparative analysis, the most diagnostic species of CEGL004074 are Carex brunnescens ssp. sphaerostachya, Carex umbellata, Clethra acuminata, Houstonia purpurea var. montana (= Houstonia montana), Hypericum mitchellianum, Kalmia latifolia, Krigia montana, Paronychia argyrocoma, Polypodium appalachianum, Rhododendron catawbiense, Saxifraga michauxii, and Hylotelephium telephioides. Species richness averages 23 taxa / sample.

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 Central & Southern Appalachian Rocky Outcrop
Alliance Appalachian Michaux's Saxifrage - Wretched Sedge - Little Bluestem Rocky Grassland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004238 (Kalmia latifolia, Physocarpus opulifolius) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Thalictrum revolutum - Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Shrub Grassland
CEGL008509 Minuartia groenlandica - Paronychia argyrocoma - Saxifraga michauxii Grassland



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 High Elevation Rocky Summit (Little Bluestem Basic Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Tennessee Schizachyrium scoparium - Saxifraga michauxii - Coreopsis major Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Coreopsis major / Schizachyrium scoparium outcrop community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Wiser, S. K. 1993. Vegetation of high-elevation rock outcrops of the Southern Appalachians: Composition, environmental relationships, and biogeography of communities and rare species. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 271 pp.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Wiser, S. K., R. K. Peet, and P. S. White. 1996. High-elevation rock outcrop vegetation of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Journal of Vegetation Science 7:703-722.
Related Concept Name: Schizachyrium scoparium - Saxifraga michauxii - Coreopsis major Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.
Related Concept Name: High Elevation Rocky Summit
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: High Elevation Rocky Summit (Little Bluestem Basic 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: IE4a. Southern Appalachian High Elevation Acidic Rocky Summit
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
CES202.327 Southern Appalachian Rocky Summit


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (15Jan1995)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This community is naturally rare, representing a tiny fraction of the high-mountain landscape. It is known from scattered, small acreage occurrences. Heavy recreational use in these fragile communities has damaged, and continues to threaten, many examples. Additionally, atmospheric deposition of air pollutants may have an adverse effect on these high-elevation communities.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, TN
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is restricted to covers high-elevation rocky summits in the Southern Appalachians occurring at elevations of from 1260 to 1715 m (4125-5625 feet).

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: The vegetative cover in stands of this type is sparse and consists of graminoids, forbs, and shrubs rooted in rock fissures. Typical species include Saxifraga michauxii, Coreopsis major, Schizachyrium scoparium, Kalmia latifolia, Dichanthelium acuminatum, Danthonia spicata, and Paronychia argyrocoma. This community is surrounded by deciduous forests dominated by Quercus rubra, Acer rubrum var. rubrum, and occasionally Tsuga caroliniana. Other characteristic species include Campanula divaricata, Solidago bicolor, and Allium allegheniense.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Allium allegheniense G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Coreopsis major G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Liatris helleri G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Micranthes petiolaris G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Selaginella tortipila G1 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Allium allegheniense
  (Allegheny Onion)
G3?  
Liatris helleri
  (Heller's Blazingstar)
G2Q LT: Listed threatened
Selaginella tortipila
  (Twisted-hair Spikemoss)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This vegetation is found in association with high-elevation rocky summits in the Southern Appalachians occurring at elevations of from 1260 to 1715 m (4125-5625 feet) , on outcrops of mafic rock or on felsic rock where perennial seepage occurs.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley, K.D. Patterson and M.P. Schafale
Element Description Edition Date: 19Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley, K.D. Patterson and M.P. Schafale
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Jan1995
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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.

  • 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.

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

  • Schafale, M. 2002. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain communities. November 2002 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.

  • Wiser, S. K. 1993. Vegetation of high-elevation rock outcrops of the Southern Appalachians: Composition, environmental relationships, and biogeography of communities and rare species. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 271 pp.

  • Wiser, S. K., R. K. Peet, and P. S. White. 1996. High-elevation rock outcrop vegetation of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Journal of Vegetation Science 7:703-722.


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