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Schoenoplectus pungens - Fimbristylis (castanea, caroliniana) Marsh
Translated Name: Common Threesquare - (Marsh Fimbry, Carolina Fimbry) Marsh
Common Name: Mid-Atlantic Interdunal Swale
Unique Identifier: CEGL004117
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This interdunal swale community of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland is characterized by dense cover of Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens) and/or Spartina patens, with Fimbristylis castanea or Fimbristylis caroliniana. There is usually shallow standing water present in these swales in the spring, when Schoenoplectus pungens or Spartina patens is generally dominant with few other associates except species of Eleocharis. By late summer a number of other species such as Fimbristylis castanea and Sabatia stellaris contribute more substantial cover. Other herbs contribute very little to the overall vegetative cover. These associated species include Andropogon virginicus, Andropogon glomeratus, Eleocharis rostellata, Phragmites australis, Pluchea foetida, Pluchea odorata, Cyperus filicinus, Juncus scirpoides, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Eleocharis parvula, Panicum amarum, Fimbristylis autumnalis, Sabatia stellaris, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Fuirena pumila, and Juncus canadensis. Diagnostic species are Schoenoplectus pungens and Fimbristylis castanea. Related vegetation of the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina southward is accommodated under Fimbristylis castanea - Schoenoplectus pungens Marsh (CEGL003790).



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This association is similar to Juncus (dichotomus, scirpoides) - Drosera intermedia Wet Meadow (CEGL004111) in environment, but lacks Xyris spp., Pogonia spp., and Lycopodiella appressa (= Lycopodium appressum). It may represent a successional phase or be slightly more brackish. Subsequent vegetation classification and mapping of adjoining Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge noted the presence of a variant occurring in shallow interdunal ponds. This variant, referred to as the Eleocharis spp. - Schoenoplectus pungens variant, differs from the typic association in its absence of Fimbristylis spp., lower diversity, and dominance of Eleocharis albida and/or Eleocharis quadrangulata and Schoenoplectus pungens. Associated species include Panicum rigidulum, Panicum virgatum, Proserpinaca palustris, and others.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.4 - Temperate to Polar Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Division 2.C.4.Ne - Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Plain Wet Prairie & Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Interdunal Marsh & Prairie
Alliance Southeastern Fimbry Coastal Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL003790 Fimbristylis castanea - Schoenoplectus pungens Marsh
CEGL004111 Juncus (dichotomus, scirpoides) - Drosera intermedia Wet Meadow



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
Maryland Schoenoplectus pungens - Fimbristylis (castanea, caroliniana) Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Fimbristylis (castanea, caroliniana) - Scirpus pungens Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Berdine, M. A. 1998. Maryland vegetation classification. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD.
Related Concept Name: Juncus scirpoides-Scirpus pungens interdunal wetland association
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: McAvoy, W., and K. Clancy. 1994. Community classification and mapping criteria for Category I interdunal swales and coastal plain pond wetlands in Delaware. Final Report submitted to the Division of Water Resources in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. 47 pp.
Related Concept Name: Schoenoplectus pungens - Fimbristylis (castanea, caroliniana) Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Fresh marsh community
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.
Related Concept Name: Interdunal Swale
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Wet Grassland
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: Maritime Wet Grassland (Threesquare Subtype)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Wet community of barrier flats
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Travis, R. W., and P. J. Godfrey. 1976. Interactions of plant communities and oceanic overwash on the manipulated barrier islands of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina. Pages 777-780 in: Proceedings of the First Conference on Scientific Research in the National Parks, Volume II.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1G2 (19Jan2006)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This small-patch community is limited to coastal dunes of Maryland and Virginia. There are likely fewer than 100 occurrences.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is currently described from Maryland and Virginia.

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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association is characterized by dense cover of Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens) or Spartina patens in association with Fimbristylis castanea or Fimbristylis caroliniana. In early spring, Schoenoplectus pungens and/or Spartina patens is usually dominant, with few other associates visible. By later summer as the water table drops, additional species emerge, including abundant Fimbristylis castanea and Sabatia stellaris. Cover and composition of associated species are variable but in aggregate include Andropogon virginicus, Andropogon glomeratus, Eleocharis rostellata, Phragmites australis, Pluchea foetida, Pluchea odorata, Cyperus filicinus, Juncus scirpoides, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Eleocharis parvula, Panicum amarum, Fimbristylis autumnalis, Sabatia stellaris, Ptilimnium capillaceum, Fuirena pumila, and Juncus canadensis.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Andropogon virginicus G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Fimbristylis castanea G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Schoenoplectus pungens G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Spartina patens G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association is characterized by seasonally wet maritime interdunal depressions, commonly known as "interdunal swales." There is usually standing water present in these swales in the spring. The Eleocharis spp. - Schoenoplectus pungens variant of this association occurs in similar habitat but tends to be flooded for a longer period of the year. Although this association occurs in swales, it occurs in association with the highest dunes on the island and so has a higher relative elevation than any other island wetlands. Average elevation of this association at Assateague Island National Seashore is 1.23 m, as calculated from lidar-derived data of Brock et al. (2007).


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon and A. Berdine
Element Description Edition Date: 06Sep2013
Element Description Author(s): L.A. Sneddon and A. Berdine
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 19Jan2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): L.A. Sneddon

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


References
  • Berdine, M. A. 1998. Maryland vegetation classification. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD.

  • Brock, J. C., C. W. Wright, M. Patterson, A. Naeghandi, and L. J. Travers. 2007. EAARL bare earth topography - Assateague Island National Seashore. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2007-1176. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1176/start.html]

  • 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.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.

  • Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.

  • McAvoy, W., and K. Clancy. 1994. Community classification and mapping criteria for Category I interdunal swales and coastal plain pond wetlands in Delaware. Final Report submitted to the Division of Water Resources in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. 47 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.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • 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.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1995c. NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.

  • Travis, R. W., and P. J. Godfrey. 1976. Interactions of plant communities and oceanic overwash on the manipulated barrier islands of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina. Pages 777-780 in: Proceedings of the First Conference on Scientific Research in the National Parks, Volume II.


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