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Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica - Carya (carolinae-septentrionalis, glabra) / Schizachyrium scoparium Woodland
Translated Name: Post Oak - Blackjack Oak - (Southern Shagbark Hickory, Pignut Hickory) / Little Bluestem Woodland
Common Name: Piedmont Montmorillonite Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL003714
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs most commonly on mafic igneous rocks found in the Triassic basins in the Piedmont of the southeastern United States. Examples may be found on flat uplands where diabase (and related rocks such as gabbro) form dikes or sills close to the surface and subsequent soil development has been affected. Typically, these areas develop dense subsurface "hardpans" and shrink-swell properties that limit plant rooting depth. Thus, vegetation often has a somewhat stunted and open canopy dominated by Quercus stellata and Quercus marilandica. Other typical canopy species include Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Carya glabra, Fraxinus americana, Quercus alba, Quercus phellos, Pinus virginiana, Pinus echinata, and others. Typical understory species include Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Diospyros virginiana, Vaccinium arboreum, Ulmus alata, and Chionanthus virginicus. Shrubs may be sparse or dense, with Viburnum rafinesquianum (= var. rafinesquianum), Viburnum prunifolium, Viburnum rufidulum, and Vaccinium stamineum typical. The most common herbs are Danthonia spicata and Schizachyrium scoparium. Other herbs may include Piptochaetium avenaceum, Clematis ochroleuca, Sericocarpus linifolius (= Aster solidagineus), Hieracium venosum, Hieracium gronovii, Hypericum hypericoides, Symphyotrichum dumosum (= Aster dumosus), Oenothera fruticosa, Lespedeza spp., and Solidago spp. Cladonia spp. are typically present and sometimes common and conspicuous. The woodland structure is maintained by extreme edaphic conditions or by fire.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: The occurrence of a number of species associated with xeric hardpan forest, but which occur largely in pastures, roadsides, or other chronically disturbed areas, supports the idea of a more naturally open vegetation structure (Schafale and Weakley 1990). This association represents the "Basic Hardpan Variant" type of Xeric Hardpan Forest. Another association, Quercus stellata - (Quercus marilandica) / Gaylussacia frondosa Acidic Hardpan Woodland (CEGL004413), represents the "Acidic Hardpan Variant" (Oakley et al. 1995). See also Quercus stellata - Carya carolinae-septentrionalis / Acer leucoderme / Piptochaetium avenaceum - Danthonia spicata Woodland (CEGL003713), the "Basic Rocky Variant" of Piedmont Xeric Hardpan Forest.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Na - Eastern North American Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Southern & South-Central Oak - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Piedmont-Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Oak Forest
Alliance Piedmont Post Oak - Hickory - Pine Woodland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003558 Quercus stellata - (Pinus echinata) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Echinacea laevigata - Oligoneuron album Woodland
CEGL003713 Quercus stellata - Carya carolinae-septentrionalis / Acer leucoderme / Piptochaetium avenaceum - Danthonia spicata Woodland
CEGL004413 Quercus stellata - (Quercus marilandica) / Gaylussacia frondosa Acidic Hardpan Woodland
CEGL004447 Pinus echinata - Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica / Andropogon gyrans - Chrysopsis mariana Woodland
CEGL004910 Quercus prinus - Quercus stellata - Pinus echinata / Vaccinium pallidum / Schizachyrium scoparium Scrub



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 Xeric Hardpan Forest (Basic Hardpan Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus stellata - Quercus alba - Carya glabra / Ulmus alata / Piptochaetium avenaceum - Scleria oligantha Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Montmorillonite Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Peet, R. K., and N. L. Christensen. 1980. Hardwood forest vegetation of the North Carolina Piedmont. Veroffentlichungen des Geobotanischen Institutes der ETH, Stiftung Rubel 68:14-39.
Related Concept Name: Piedmont Hardpan Forest
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: Xeric Hardpan Forest (Basic Hardpan Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2003a. Fourth approximation guide. Piedmont communities. March 2003 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Xeric Hardpan Forest, Basic Hardpan Variant
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Oakley, S. C., H. E. LeGrand, Jr., and M. P. Schafale. 1995. An inventory of mafic natural areas in the North Carolina Piedmont. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 252 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.268 Piedmont Hardpan Woodland and Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (11Aug2004)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This type occurs in areas of mafic lithology in the Piedmont of North Carolina, southern Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina. Only a small percentage of the Piedmont has potential for this community, and most potential areas are small. Sites are vulnerable to logging. It is also threatened by highway construction and housing development. Fire had a poorly understood but likely important role in this community, and almost all examples have had fire excluded. A few examples are protected on public land. This type should at least be G2G3 due to low probability of natural occurrence (limited habitat) and high threats. Grank was changed to reflect this.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This type occurs in areas of mafic lithology in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community has a somewhat stunted and open canopy dominated by Quercus stellata and Quercus marilandica. Other typical canopy species include Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Carya glabra, Fraxinus americana, Quercus alba, Quercus phellos, Pinus virginiana, Pinus echinata, and others. Typical understory species include Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Diospyros virginiana, Vaccinium arboreum, Ulmus alata, and Chionanthus virginicus (Schafale and Weakley 1990). Shrubs may be sparse or dense, with Viburnum rafinesquianum (= var. rafinesquianum), Viburnum prunifolium, Viburnum rufidulum, and Vaccinium stamineum typical. The most common herbs are Danthonia spicata and Schizachyrium scoparium. Other herbs may include Piptochaetium avenaceum, Clematis ochroleuca, Sericocarpus linifolius (= Aster solidagineus), Hieracium venosum, Hieracium gronovii, Hypericum hypericoides, Symphyotrichum dumosum (= Aster dumosus), Oenothera fruticosa, Lespedeza spp., and Solidago spp. Cladonia spp. are typically present and sometimes common and conspicuous. Composition at the northern end of the range in Virginia varies a bit from the typical, with Quercus alba often codominant with Quercus stellata and Carya glabra, and Quercus marilandica and Carya carolinae-septentrionalis infrequent. The herb layer of open Virginia stands is usually dominated by dense swards of Piptochaetium avenaceum, Danthonia spicata, and Scleria oligantha.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya carolinae-septentrionalis G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Carya glabra G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus marilandica G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus stellata G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Ulmus alata G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Echinacea laevigata G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Parthenium auriculatum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Danthonia spicata G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Piptochaetium avenaceum G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G2 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Echinacea laevigata
  (Smooth Purple Coneflower)
G2G3 LE: Listed endangered
Parthenium auriculatum
  (Glade Wild Quinine)
G3G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community is perhaps best known from the Triassic Basin of the Piedmont from south-central Virginia southward, extending into Georgia. Examples occur on upland hardpan flats with montmorillonitic or vertic (shrink-swell) soils. The woodland structure is maintained by extreme edaphic conditions (rooting restrictions, shearing, frequent moisture deficits) or by fire. It is more likely to be found in Iredell or other high-magnesium soils, in contrast to the Acidic Hardpan Variant (Oakley et al. 1995).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Many of these sites now have a more-or-less closed canopy, but are assumed to have been more open. The natural fire frequency is not known but is certain to have been greater in the past (Schafale and Weakley 1990).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale and A.S. Weakley, mod. K.D. Patterson and M. Pyne
Element Description Edition Date: 29May2007
Element Description Author(s): R.E. Evans and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 11Aug2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. R.E. Evans and M. Pyne

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


References
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • 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.

  • Oakley, S. C., H. E. LeGrand, Jr., and M. P. Schafale. 1995. An inventory of mafic natural areas in the North Carolina Piedmont. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 252 pp.

  • Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • Peet, R. K., and N. L. Christensen. 1980. Hardwood forest vegetation of the North Carolina Piedmont. Veroffentlichungen des Geobotanischen Institutes der ETH, Stiftung Rubel 68:14-39.

  • Schafale, M. 2003a. Fourth approximation guide. Piedmont communities. March 2003 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.

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.


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