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Carex tetanica - Carex prairea - Eleocharis erythropoda - Lysimachia quadriflora Fen
Translated Name: Rigid Sedge - Prairie Sedge - Bald Spikerush - Four-flower Yellow Loosestrife Fen
Common Name: Shenandoah Valley Wet Prairie
Unique Identifier: CEGL006170
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This calcareous, herbaceous community is currently documented from three sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The type occurs in saturated areas on level alluvium with somewhat poorly to poorly drained soils. Vegetation is a graminoid-dominated wetland with <1% cover of woody plants in high-quality stands. Key species include Carex tetanica, Carex prairea, Carex interior, Carex suberecta, Carex emoryi, Eleocharis erythropoda, Hierochloe odorata (= ssp. odorata), Lysimachia quadriflora, Pycnanthemum virginianum, and Juncus balticus var. littoralis. A similar type may also occur in the midwestern United States.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.2 - Temperate to Polar Bog & Fen
Division 2.C.2.Na - North American Bog & Fen
Macrogroup North American Boreal & Sub-boreal Alkaline Fen
Group North-Central Interior & Appalachian Alkaline Fen
Alliance Lower New England Calcareous Sedge Shrub Fen

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



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Carex tetanica - Carex prairea - Eleocharis erythropoda - Lysimachia quadriflora Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.
Related Concept Name: Baltic rush-tussock sedge marsh
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Calcareous Fen
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: Eutrophic Saturated Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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
CES201.582 Laurentian-Acadian Wet Meadow-Shrub Swamp


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1Q (31Mar2004)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: There are fewer than five known occurrences of this type, covering less than 20 acres. The type is currently reported only from Virginia, but similar vegetation occurs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and may occur to the west in Kentucky or Tennessee. There are probably less than 100 acres of this community rangewide. Data from similar sites in other states are needed to compare this community with wet grasslands or fens elsewhere in the East.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is currently only known from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Similar vegetation occurs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia (Altona Marsh), and possibly Kentucky and Tennessee.

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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community has a herbaceous physiognomy with less than 1% cover of woody species in high-quality stands. Graminoid-dominated herb cover is generally dense (up to 100%) and relatively diverse, averaging 36 taxa per 100 square meters in four plot samples. Patch-dominant species include Carex tetanica, Carex prairea, Carex emoryi, Carex trichocarpa, Eleocharis erythropoda, Juncus balticus var. littoralis, Juncus dudleyi, Packera aurea (= Senecio aureus), and Symphyotrichum puniceum var. puniceum (= Aster puniceus var. puniceus). Characteristic low-cover species include Lysimachia quadriflora, Lythrum alatum var. alatum, Filipendula rubra, Carex buxbaumii, Equisetum arvense, Pycnanthemum virginianum, Carex interior, Carex suberecta, Hierochloe odorata (= ssp. odorata), Vernonia noveboracensis, Verbena hastata, Cardamine bulbosa, Viola cucullata, Lathyrus palustris, Pedicularis lanceolata, and Oxypolis rigidior. In the absence of active disturbance regimes, stands of this community are susceptible to invasion by woody swamp plants, including Acer rubrum, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Rosa palustris, as well as by exotics such as Elaeagnus umbellata. This community contains the southernmost occurrence of Carex prairea.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Elaeagnus umbellata G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Cirsium muticum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Filipendula rubra G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lysimachia quadriflora G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lythrum alatum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Symphyotrichum puniceum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Vernonia noveboracensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex prairea G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex stricta G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex trichocarpa G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Juncus balticus G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Typha x glauca G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community occurs in saturated, groundwater-influenced floodplains along large streams of the Shenandoah Valley in west-central Virginia. One occurrence has been somewhat degraded by an artificial drainage ditch. Soils of these habitats appear to be true Mollisols with a pH range of 5.7 to 7.8 and very high calcium content (mean = 4200 ppm for four samples).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: It is thought that presettlement examples of this community type were maintained in open condition by periodic burning and grazing by megaherbivores. The persistence of a few small patches of the type may represent artifacts of human disturbance regimes such as light cattle grazing and, at two sites, fires ignited from an adjacent railroad track. In recent years, colonies of Juncus balticus var. littoralis have been expanding dramatically at two sites, and this species may represent a localized patch-dominant that becomes more abundant in the absence of natural disturbance regimes. Other portions of one occurrence have been recently invaded by woody swamp plants such as Acer rubrum, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Rosa palustris.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M. Anderson, mod. Eastern Ecology Group and G. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 30Mar2004
Element Description Author(s): G. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31Mar2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G. Fleming

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


References
  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • 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. 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.

  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 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.

  • Sneddon, L., M. Anderson, and K. Metzler. 1996. Community alliances and elements of the Eastern Region. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Heritage Task Force, Boston, MA. 235 pp.

  • 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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