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Quercus prinus - Juniperus virginiana - (Pinus virginiana) / Philadelphus hirsutus - Celtis occidentalis Woodland
Translated Name: Chestnut Oak - Eastern Red-cedar - (Virginia Pine) / Streambank Mock Orange - Common Hackberry Woodland
Common Name: Blue Ridge Calcareous Shale Slope Woodland
Unique Identifier: CEGL007720
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: These mixed or deciduous, edaphically-maintained woodlands are known from the Southern Blue Ridge of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, possibly ranging into the adjacent Ridge and Valley and Cumberland Mountains. They occur as small-patch openings on steep slopes, below 915 m (3000 feet) elevation, over outcrops of moderately calcareous shales, siltstones and sandstones. Habitats are extremely steep and rocky, with some parts mantled by thin soil over bedrock, and other parts covered by loose gravel-sized shale fragments. Trees are sparse and stunted, generally 2-10 m tall. Primary species include Quercus prinus, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Pinus virginiana, and Acer rubrum. Some stands have Carya glabra, Carya ovata, Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Fraxinus americana, Quercus rubra, Ulmus alata, and Acer saccharum as important canopy associates. Shrubs include Philadelphus hirsutus, Ostrya virginiana, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Celtis occidentalis, Celtis tenuifolia, Acer leucoderme, Cornus florida, Staphylea trifolia, Chionanthus virginicus, Ulmus rubra, Ptelea trifoliata, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, and Rhus copallinum var. latifolia. Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia are common scrambling vines. Herbs include Sedum ternatum, Solidago spp., Danthonia sericea, Danthonia spicata, Andropogon virginicus, Carex pensylvanica, Paronychia argyrocoma, Selaginella rupestris, Houstonia longifolia (= var. compacta), Amsonia tabernaemontana, Dichanthelium boscii, Muhlenbergia tenuifolia, Packera obovata (= Senecio obovatus), Asclepias quadrifolia, Erigeron pulchellus, Polygala paucifolia, Arabis laevigata, Campanula divaricata, and Aristolochia serpentaria. Some openings are very grassy and include species such as Sorghastrum nutans, Andropogon gerardii, Muhlenbergia capillaris, Panicum sp., Coreopsis major, Baptisia tinctoria, Lechea racemulosa, Liatris sp., and Penstemon sp. Additional herbs from stands assigned here from the Ocoee River Gorge (Tennessee) include Chasmanthium latifolium, Solidago sphacelata, Carex purpurifera, and Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (= Aster oblongifolius) (these dominant to frequent), as well as Asplenium platyneuron, Carex laxiflora, Carex pensylvanica, Cheilanthes lanosa, Dichanthelium sp., Euphorbia corollata, Geum sp., Heuchera sp., Oxalis grandis, Rudbeckia triloba, Sedum nevii, Senna marilandica, Tradescantia sp., Verbesina occidentalis, and Verbesina virginica.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: In a regional analysis for the Southern Appalachian portion of the Appalachian Trail (Fleming and Patterson 2009a), a small group of three plots was determined to be conceptually and floristically consistent with this association. All three plots were formerly assigned to the all-deciduous type (former Carya glabra - Fraxinus americana - Quercus prinus / Ostrya virginiana / Philadelphus hirsutus Woodland (CEGL004995)), and a decision was made to merge that type into this one.

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 South-Central Interior Oak Forest & Woodland
Alliance Southern Chestnut Oak Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003624 Pinus virginiana / Vaccinium pallidum / Schizachyrium scoparium - Carex pensylvanica Woodland
CEGL008540 Quercus prinus - Pinus virginiana - (Pinus pungens) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Dichanthelium depauperatum Woodland



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 Calcareous Shale Slope Woodland Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Carya glabra - Fraxinus americana - Quercus prinus / Ostrya virginiana / Philadelphus hirsutus Woodland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Mountain / Piedmont Basic Woodland
Relationship: B - Broader
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]

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.598 Appalachian Shale Barrens


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (24Feb2010)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This Southern Blue Ridge shale woodland community is limited in occurrence to steep river-fronting slopes with moderately calcareous, exposed and eroding shale. This community appears to be edaphically-maintained, but may also be maintained by periodic fires. Fewer than 10 occurrences totaling less than 1000 acres are known. Threats are few, although logging in adjacent areas can cause unnatural disturbance or downslope erosion, along with alteration of light levels.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This shale woodland is limited to the Southern Blue Ridge of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Known stands are from the Hot Springs Window in North Carolina, the French Broad River and Ocoee River Gorge in Tennessee, and along Whitetop Laurel Creek near Damascus, Virginia.

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: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Possible
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Trees are sparse and stunted, generally 2-10 m tall. Primary species include Quercus prinus, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Pinus virginiana, and Acer rubrum. Some stands have Carya glabra, Carya ovata, Carya carolinae-septentrionalis, Fraxinus americana, Quercus rubra, Ulmus alata, and Acer saccharum as important canopy associates. Shrubs include Philadelphus hirsutus, Ostrya virginiana, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Celtis occidentalis, Celtis tenuifolia, Acer leucoderme, Cornus florida, Staphylea trifolia, Chionanthus virginicus, Ulmus rubra, Ptelea trifoliata, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, and Rhus copallinum var. latifolia. Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans and Parthenocissus quinquefolia are common. Herbs include Sedum ternatum, Solidago spp., Danthonia sericea, Danthonia spicata, Andropogon virginicus, Carex pensylvanica, Paronychia argyrocoma, Selaginella rupestris, Houstonia longifolia (= var. compacta), Amsonia tabernaemontana, Dichanthelium boscii, Muhlenbergia tenuifolia, Packera obovata (= Senecio obovatus), Asclepias quadrifolia, Erigeron pulchellus, Polygala paucifolia, Arabis laevigata, Campanula divaricata, and Aristolochia serpentaria. Some openings are very grassy, and include species such as Sorghastrum nutans, Andropogon gerardii, Muhlenbergia capillaris, Panicum sp., Coreopsis major, Baptisia tinctoria, Lechea racemulosa, Liatris sp., and Penstemon sp. Additional herbs from stands assigned here from the Ocoee River Gorge (Tennessee) include Chasmanthium latifolium, Solidago sphacelata, Carex purpurifera, and Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (= Aster oblongifolius) (these dominant to frequent), as well as Asplenium platyneuron, Carex laxiflora, Carex pensylvanica, Cheilanthes lanosa, Dichanthelium sp., Euphorbia corollata, Geum sp., Heuchera sp., Oxalis grandis, Rudbeckia triloba, Sedum nevii, Senna marilandica, Tradescantia sp., Verbesina occidentalis, and Verbesina virginica.

Stands included here from shale slopes above the French Broad River (Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee) are open stands on "sub-calcareous" shales. The vegetation has an open canopy of Quercus prinus with scattered examples of other woody plants. Other trees include Ostrya virginiana, Ulmus alata, Quercus rubra, Carya pallida, and Pinus virginiana. These are primarily deciduous stands, but with some pine. The stand in Virginia is a deciduous, apparently edaphically-maintained woodland dominated by stunted (6-10 m tall) Quercus prinus and Carya glabra, with less common associates of Fraxinus americana, Carya ovata, Quercus rubra, and Acer saccharum. Shrub cover varies from moderately to very dense and is dominated by patchy thickets of Philadelphus hirsutus. Associated small trees and shrubs include Ostrya virginiana and Amelanchier arborea. The herb layer is sparse on the steeper, more erosive slopes, becoming denser and more grass-dominated on the stabilized upper slope.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya glabra G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Fraxinus americana G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Ostrya virginiana G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus prinus G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Juniperus virginiana G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Pinus virginiana G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer rubrum G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Celtis occidentalis G2 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Philadelphus hirsutus G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Pycnanthemum curvipes G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Sedum nevii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Thaspium pinnatifidum G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Pycnanthemum curvipes
  (Stone Mountainmint)
G3  
Sedum nevii
  (Nevius' Stonecrop)
G3  
Thaspium pinnatifidum
  (Cutleaf Meadow-parsnip)
G2G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community is associated with steep slopes of the Southern Blue Ridge, below 915 m (3000 feet) elevation, over outcrops of moderately calcareous shales, siltstones and sandstones. Habitats are extremely steep and rocky, with some parts mantled by thin soil over bedrock, and other parts covered by loose gravel-sized shale fragments. Known stands are located on slopes fronting rivers and large streams, where downcutting over geological time has resulted in continual mass-wasting of the relatively soft shales. Quantitative soil chemistry data are not available, but the presence of some obligate nutrient-demanding species (e.g., Philadelphus hirsutus, Acer leucoderme, Packera obovata, Solidago sphacelata) and a conspicuous absence of ericaceous shrubs at every site is indicative of at least moderately calcareous soils. At the Virginia site, on a steep, southwest-facing sideslope along Whitetop Laurel Creek, calciphilic species tend to be concentrated on the lower, more erosive soils of the occurrence, and less common on more stable, upper slopes where bases have probably been leached. Bedrock is mapped as the Unicoi Formation, which here consists of conglomeratic sandstone and phyllite, with minor interbedded basalt. Numerous shaley-appearing outcrops and loose boulders cover about 50% of the slope where this community occurs. About 30% of the remaining surface substrate consists of exposed, dark-colored, clay-loam mineral soil with substantial coverage by mosses and lichens.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This community appears to be edaphically-maintained, but may also be maintained by periodic fires. The exotic grass Microstegium vimineum can be invasive in stands of this association.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 24Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): A.S. Weakley and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. G.P. Fleming

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., 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. 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.

  • 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 P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.

  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • 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. 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.

  • 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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