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Caltha leptosepala Wet Meadow
Translated Name: White Marsh-marigold Wet Meadow
Unique Identifier: CEGL001954
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This wet meadow association occurs in the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to Montana, west into Utah and Idaho. Stands occur in the subalpine and lower alpine zones on perennially saturated ground in narrow forest openings to broad mountain valley bottoms and is often associated with shallow seeps on hillslopes. This association typically occupies seeps, streamsides, springs, and wet, subirrigated meadows and on slopes up to 30%. Substrates are always saturated at the surface with moderate to high water-holding capacity and fine-loamy, fine, and clayey skeletal particle size classes. Soils are somewhat variable, ranging in texture from organic muck and peat to sandy loam to fine-textured and originating from organic deposits, glacial-fluvial deposits, or granitic igneous rock. Litter and duff are typically 10-20% cover, and moss can cover up to 50% of the ground surface. The vegetation is characterized by a moderate to dense (30-100% cover) herbaceous layer dominated by Caltha leptosepala and low cover of Cardamine cordifolia and Rhodiola rhodantha. Many graminoids and forbs that tolerate long-term soil saturation may also be present. Carex aquatilis is very common and is sometimes a codominant with Caltha leptosepala. Deschampsia cespitosa may be present in small amounts. Other common associates include graminoids Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex aquatilis (and many other wet sedges), Eleocharis spp., Poa arctica, Juncus drummondii, and forbs Arnica mollis, Erigeron peregrinus, Equisetum arvense, Ligusticum tenuifolium, Oxypolis fendleri, Parnassia fimbriata, Pedicularis groenlandica, Polygonum bistortoides, Senecio triangularis, Sibbaldia procumbens, Stellaria umbellata, Swertia perennis, and Trollius laxus ssp. albiflorus. Scattered shrubs may be present. Stands can be recognized by the prominence of Caltha leptosepala, a near absence of shrubs, and low cover of Cardamine cordifolia and Rhodiola rhodantha. In forest openings this association is found with Salix planifolia shrublands and Carex aquatilis and Senecio triangularis meadows. On high-elevation peatlands it occurs with stands of Eleocharis quinqueflora and Salix planifolia shrublands.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This association needs to be compared with Caltha leptosepala - Rhodiola rhodantha Wet Meadow (CEGL001957), because they are very similar and may not be distinct.

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.Nb - Western North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Western North American Montane Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Vancouverian-Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Alpine Snowbed, Wet Meadow & Dwarf-shrubland
Alliance White Marsh-marigold - Red-pod Stonecrop Wet Meadow

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL001956 Caltha leptosepala - Polygonum bistortoides Wet Meadow
CEGL001957 Caltha leptosepala - Rhodiola rhodantha Wet Meadow
CEGL001958 Cardamine cordifolia - Caltha leptosepala 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
Idaho Caltha leptosepala Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain IDCDC 2005
Oregon Caltha leptosepala ssp. howellii flush Equivalent Certain Kagan et al. 2004


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala ssp. howellii Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala ssp. howellii
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Murray, M. P. 2000. Wetland plant associations of the western hemlock zone in the central coastal and westslope Cascade Mountains. Unpublished report, Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland, OR. 82 pp. [http://www.natureserve.org/nhp/us/or/nw_or_wetlands.pdf]
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala Community Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala Dominance Type
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hansen, P. L., S. W. Chadde, and R. D. Pfister. 1988b. Riparian dominance types of Montana. University of Montana Miscellaneous Publication 49. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Missoula. 411 pp.
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Carsey, K., D. Cooper, K. Decker, D. Culver, and G. Kittel. 2003b. Statewide wetlands classification and characterization: Wetland plant associations of Colorado. Prepared for Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver, by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 79 pp. [http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/documents/2003/wetland_classification_final_report_2003.pdf]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.
Related Concept Name: Caltha leptosepala Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Sanderson, J., and S. Kettler. 1996. A preliminary wetland vegetation classification for a portion of Colorado's west slope. Report prepared for Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver, CO, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII, Denver, CO. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Deschampsia cespitosa - Caltha leptosepala Plant Association
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.
Related Concept Name: Marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) Plant Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, and J. Sanderson. 1999a. A classification of the riparian plant associations of the Rio Grande and Closed Basin watersheds, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.
Related Concept Name: Wet Meadow Communities
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Ellison, L. 1954. Subalpine vegetation of the Wasatch Plateau, Utah. Ecological Monographs 24(2):89-104.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES306.812 Rocky Mountain Alpine-Montane Wet Meadow


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (01Feb1996)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WY
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This widespread wet meadow association occurs in the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to Montana, west into Utah and Idaho.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Dry Domain
Division Name: Temperate Steppe Regime Mountains
Province Name: Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe - Open Woodland - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M331 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Yellowstone Highlands Section
Section Code: M331A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Overthrust Mountains Section
Section Code: M331D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: South-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: North-Central Highlands Section
Section Code: M331H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Parks and Ranges Section
Section Code: M331I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe - Coniferous Forest - Alpine Meadow Province
Province Code: M332 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Idaho Batholith Section
Section Code: M332A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This wetland association is characterized by a moderate to dense (30-100% cover) herbaceous layer dominated by Caltha leptosepala and low cover of Cardamine cordifolia and Rhodiola rhodantha (= Sedum rhodanthum). Many graminoids and forbs that tolerate long-term soil saturation may also be present. Carex aquatilis is very common and is sometimes a codominant with Caltha leptosepala. Deschampsia cespitosa may be present in small amounts. Other common associates include graminoids Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex aquatilis, Carex illota, Carex pellita (= Carex lanuginosa), Carex muricata, Carex nigricans, Carex scopulorum, Carex simulata, Carex utriculata, Eleocharis spp., Poa arctica, Juncus drummondii, and forbs Arnica mollis, Erigeron peregrinus, Equisetum arvense, Ligusticum tenuifolium, Oxypolis fendleri, Parnassia fimbriata, Pedicularis groenlandica, Polygonum bistortoides, Senecio triangularis, Sibbaldia procumbens, Stellaria umbellata, Swertia perennis, and Trollius laxus ssp. albiflorus (Padgett et al. 1989, Kittel et al. 1999b). Scattered shrubs may be present, including Kalmia microphylla, Salix planifolia, Salix wolfii, Vaccinium spp., and Phyllodoce empetriformis in low amounts. In forest openings this association is found with Salix planifolia shrublands and Carex aquatilis and Senecio triangularis meadows. On high-elevation peatlands it occurs with stands of Eleocharis quinqueflora and Salix planifolia shrublands.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Caltha leptosepala G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Pedicularis groenlandica G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Senecio triangularis G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex aquatilis G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Juncus drummondii G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This wet meadow association occurs in the Rocky Mountains from Colorado to Montana, west into Utah and Idaho. Elevations range from 3000 to 3500 m (9820-11,500 feet) in Colorado and 2745 to 3110 m (9000-10,200 feet) in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Stands occur in the subalpine and lower alpine zones on perennially saturated ground in narrow forest openings to broad mountain valley bottoms and is often associated with shallow seeps on hillslopes. This association typically occupies seeps, streamsides, springs, and wet, subirrigated meadows and on slopes up to 30% (Padgett et al. 1989, Kittel et al. 1999b, Carsey et al. 2003b). Substrates are always saturated at the surface with moderate to high water-holding capacity and fine-loamy, fine, and clayey skeletal particle size classes(Padgett et al. 1989). Soils are somewhat variable, ranging in texture from organic muck and peat to sandy loam to fine-textured and originating from organic deposits, glacial-fluvial deposits, or granitic igneous rock. Soils are classified as Histic Cryaquepts, Terric Borohemists, and Terric and Lithic Borosaprists (Padgett et al. 1989). Litter and duff are typically 10-20% cover, and moss can cover up to 50% of the ground surface.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Western Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 18Jan2005
Element Description Author(s): G. Kittel and K.A. Schulz

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


References
  • Bourgeron, P. S., and L. D. Engelking, editors. 1994. A preliminary vegetation classification of the western United States. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Western Heritage Task Force, Boulder, CO. 175 pp. plus appendix.

  • CNHP [Colorado Natural Heritage Program]. 2006-2017. Tracked natural plant communities. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. [https://cnhp.colostate.edu/ourdata/trackinglist/plant_communities/]

  • Carsey, K., D. Cooper, K. Decker, D. Culver, and G. Kittel. 2003b. Statewide wetlands classification and characterization: Wetland plant associations of Colorado. Prepared for Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver, by Colorado Natural Heritage Program, College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 79 pp. [http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/documents/2003/wetland_classification_final_report_2003.pdf]

  • Carsey, K., G. Kittel, K. Decker, D. J. Cooper, and D. Culver. 2003a. Field guide to the wetland and riparian plant associations of Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.

  • Cogan, D., K. Varga, and G. Kittel. 2005. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Final Project Report 2002-2005 Vegetation Mapping Project. Technical Memorandum 8260-06-02. USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO. 87 pp. plus Appendixes A-F.

  • Ellison, L. 1954. Subalpine vegetation of the Wasatch Plateau, Utah. Ecological Monographs 24(2):89-104.

  • Hansen, P. L., S. W. Chadde, and R. D. Pfister. 1988b. Riparian dominance types of Montana. University of Montana Miscellaneous Publication 49. Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Missoula. 411 pp.

  • Hemstrom, M. A., S. E. Logan, and W. Pavlat. 1987. Plant association and management guide, Willamette National Forest. Report R6-Ecol 257-B-86. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, OR. 312 pp.

  • Hickman, J.C. 1976. Non-forest vegetation of the central western Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Northwest Science 50:145-155.

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. 2005. Wetland and riparian plant associations in Idaho. Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise. [http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/tech/CDC/ecology/wetland_riparian_assoc.cfm] (accessed 14 June 2005).

  • Jankovsky-Jones, M., S. K. Rust, and R. K. Moseley. 1999. Riparian reference areas in Idaho: A catalog of plant associations and conservation sites. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-20. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 141 pp.

  • Johnston, B. C. 1987. Plant associations of Region Two: Potential plant communities of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. R2-ECOL-87-2. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Lakewood, CO. 429 pp.

  • Kagan, J. S., J. A. Christy, M. P. Murray, and J. A. Titus. 2004. Classification of native vegetation of Oregon. January 2004. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland. 52 pp.

  • Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, A. McMullen, and J. Sanderson. 1999b. A classification of riparian and wetland plant associations of Colorado: A user's guide to the classification project. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. 70 pp. plus appendices.

  • Kittel, G., E. Van Wie, M. Damm, R. Rondeau, S. Kettler, and J. Sanderson. 1999a. A classification of the riparian plant associations of the Rio Grande and Closed Basin watersheds, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

  • Komarkova, V. 1986. Habitat types on selected parts of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre national forests. Unpublished final report prepared for USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Fort Collins, CO. 270 pp. plus appendices.

  • McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.

  • Murray, M. P. 2000. Wetland plant associations of the western hemlock zone in the central coastal and westslope Cascade Mountains. Unpublished report, Oregon Natural Heritage Program, Portland, OR. 82 pp. [http://www.natureserve.org/nhp/us/or/nw_or_wetlands.pdf]

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1988b. Riparian community type classification of Utah. Publication R4-ECOL-88-01. USDA Forest Service, Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • Padgett, W. G., A. P. Youngblood, and A. H. Winward. 1989. Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho. Research Paper R4-ECOL-89-0. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT.

  • Salas, D., J. Stevens, and K. Schulz. 2005. USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Technical Memorandum No. 8260-05-02. USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO. 161 pp. plus Appendices A-L (733 pp.).

  • Sanderson, J., and S. Kettler. 1996. A preliminary wetland vegetation classification for a portion of Colorado's west slope. Report prepared for Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver, CO, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region VIII, Denver, CO. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO. 243 pp.

  • Western Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boulder, CO.

  • del Moral, R. 1973. The vegetation of Findley Lake Basin. The American Midland Naturalist 89(10):26-40.


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