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Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Riverscour Wet Meadow
Translated Name: Big Bluestem - Switchgrass - Blue Wild Indigo Riverscour Wet Meadow
Common Name: Central Appalachian-Allegheny Calcareous Riverscour Prairie
Unique Identifier: CEGL006283
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is found in the east-central United States along high-gradient sections of major rivers, such as in gorges and along the fall-line. It usually occupies rocky areas within the active channel shelf at an intermediate level above the low-water level and the bank-full level. Flood scouring and ice floods are powerful and ecologically important abrasive forces that shape the physiognomy and composition of this association. Soils are rapidly drained Psamments. Often, soil material is restricted to the narrow interstices of tightly packed boulders, or to small crevices in bedrock exposures. This community is characterized by a luxuriant growth of the robust grasses Andropogon gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans, Panicum virgatum, and Spartina pectinata which resembles prairie vegetation. Tripsacum dactyloides may also occur. Many of the forbs are also typical of prairies. Characteristic species include Baptisia australis, Allium cernuum, Aristida purpurascens, Bidens frondosa, Chasmanthium latifolium, Clematis viorna, Eleocharis compressa, Conoclinium coelestinum, Coreopsis tripteris, Eupatorium serotinum, Eutrochium fistulosum, Lespedeza violacea, Packera aurea, Physostegia virginiana, Pycnanthemum virginianum, Solidago rupestris, Teucrium canadense, Veronicastrum virginicum, Zizia trifoliata, and Zizia aurea. Scattered and flood-battered shrubs and tree saplings often occur.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: The distinctions between this community type and (Salix caroliniana, Rhododendron arborescens) / Andropogon gerardii - Baptisia australis - (Solidago simplex ssp. randii) Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL008471) seem quite artificial and further study should be undertaken to determine whether these merely represent geographic subtypes of a single association. The effect of merging this type with Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL006283) would likely have no effect on the Global Conservation Status Rank, as CEGL008471 is currently ranked G2Q. Both of these types also appear to be similar to Salix spp. / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL005175), but that type is found in the Interior Low Plateau region. In the Central Appalachian region, this community type is found predominantly on Western Allegheny Mountains (M221Be + M221Bd, Gauley M221Ca dammed).

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.Nd - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Eastern North American Riverscour Vegetation
Group Central Interior-Appalachian Riverscour Barrens & Prairie
Alliance Appalachian Riverine Gravel Wash Prairie

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004033 Southern Appalachian Bedrock Riverscour Vegetation
CEGL004149 (Salix spp.) / Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Salvia azurea Cahaba Riverscour Wet Meadow
CEGL005175 Salix spp. / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans Riverscour Wet Meadow
CEGL006477 Panicum virgatum - Andropogon gerardii Gravel Riverscour Wet Meadow
CEGL006478 Fraxinus americana / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans - Schizachyrium scoparium - Pycnanthemum tenuifolium Riverscour Wet Meadow
CEGL006491 (Hypericum prolificum, Eubotrys racemosa) / Schizachyrium scoparium - Solidago simplex var. racemosa - Ionactis linariifolius Riverscour Sparse Vegetation
CEGL006623 (Betula nigra, Ilex verticillata) / Andropogon gerardii - Solidago simplex var. racemosa Riverscour Wet Meadow
CEGL008471 (Salix caroliniana, Rhododendron arborescens) / Andropogon gerardii - Baptisia australis - (Solidago simplex ssp. randii) Riverscour 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
Ohio Riverine marsh Equivalent   ONHD unpubl. data
Pennsylvania Big bluestem - indian grass river grassland Broader   Fike 1999
West Virginia Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Riverscour Prairie Equivalent Certain WVNHP unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Andropogon gerardii - Baptisia australis riparian herbaceous vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Vanderhorst, J. 2001b. Plant communities of the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia: Northern and southern thirds. Non-game Wildlife and Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Elkins. 146 pp.
Related Concept Name: Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Herbaceous Vegetation [Big Bluestem - Blue Wild Indigo Riverscour Prairie]
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Vanderhorst, J. 2017b. Wild vegetation of West Virginia: Riverscour prairies. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. [http://wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/Factsheets/Riverscour.shtm]
Related Concept Name: Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Rhus radicans - Baptisia australis Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Cornus amomum / Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Shrub Herbaceous Vegetation
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: Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Lea, C. 2000. Plant communities of the Potomac Gorge and their relationship to fluvial factors. M.S. thesis, George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 219 pp.
Related Concept Name: Riverwash Grasslands (Baptisia australis - Lespedeza violacea - Chasmanthium latifolium Herbaceous Vegetation)
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Willow - Indian grass riverine shrubland
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Perles, S., G. Podniesinski, and J. Wagner. 2004. Classification, assessment and protection of non-forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Harrisburg. 128 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES202.609 Central Appalachian Stream and Riparian
CES202.706 South-Central Interior Small Stream and Riparian


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (20May2011)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: There are probably fewer than 100 occurrences of this community rangewide, depending on how an occurrence is defined. It is known from Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia along the Potomac River, from the James River, Shenandoah River, and various tributaries in Virginia, and from scattered patches along about 50 miles along the Greenbrier River in West Virginia. It is also reported from the Delaware River in Pennsylvania and may also occur in Ohio. This community is threatened by invasion of exotic weeds, especially Sorghum halepense, Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos, and Lythrum salicaria.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, OH, PA, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is found in the east-central United States, from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, and possibly Ohio.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
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
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This community is characterized by a luxuriant growth of the robust grasses Andropogon gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans, Panicum virgatum, and Spartina pectinata, which resembles prairie vegetation. Tripsacum dactyloides may also occur. Many of the forbs are also typical of prairies. Characteristic species include Baptisia australis, Allium cernuum, Aristida purpurascens, Bidens frondosa, Chasmanthium latifolium, Clematis viorna, Eleocharis compressa, Conoclinium coelestinum (= Eupatorium coelestinum), Eupatorium serotinum, Lespedeza violacea, Packera aurea, Physostegia virginiana, Pycnanthemum virginianum, Solidago rupestris, Teucrium canadense, Veronicastrum virginicum, Zizia trifoliata, and Zizia aurea. Additional herbs with high cover and/or constancy in some areas include Apocynum cannabinum, Coreopsis tripteris, Cyperus strigosus, Eutrochium fistulosum (= Eupatorium fistulosum), Helianthus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis, Justicia americana, Lobelia cardinalis, Ludwigia alternifolia, Potentilla simplex, Pycnanthemum torrei, Rhynchospora capitellata, Rhynchospora recognita, Solidago juncea, Symphyotrichum laeve, and Viola cucullata. There may be low cover by trees, which are usually short and flood-battered, including Betula nigra, Chionanthus virginicus, Diospyros virginiana, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Platanus occidentalis, Ulmus americana, and Ulmus rubra. Cover in the shrub layer is likewise low and includes short individuals of the tree and shrub species, including Alnus serrulata, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Cornus amomum, Hypericum prolificum, and Salix caroliniana. Low-growing vines include Campsis radicans, Toxicodendron radicans, and Vitis rupestris. In the Potomac River drainage, Solidago simplex var. racemosa, Helianthus occidentalis, Cerastium arvense var. velutinum, and Ceanothus herbaceus are noteworthy components (Lea 2000). In the James River drainage, Orbexilum pedunculatum var. psoralioides, Silphium trifoliatum, Solidago speciosa, and Vicia americana are associated. Vascular plant species richness of sampled plots (Virginia and West Virginia sample sets) averages 43-56 taxa per 100 m2.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Betula nigra G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Vitis rupestris G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Cornus amomum G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Apocynum cannabinum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Baptisia australis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Baptisia australis var. australis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Desmodium glabellum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lespedeza frutescens G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Packera aurea G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Physostegia virginiana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Pycnanthemum torrei G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Vicia americana G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Andropogon gerardii G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Panicum virgatum G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Sorghastrum nutans G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Spartina pectinata G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Baptisia australis var. australis
  (Blue Wild Indigo)
G5T3T4  
Pycnanthemum torrei
  (Torrey's Mountainmint)
G2  
Vitis rupestris
  (Rock Grape)
G3  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Stands occur along high-gradient sections of major rivers, such as in gorges and along the fall-line. They occupy rocky areas within the active channel shelf subject to frequent high-energy flooding, at an intermediate level above the low-water level and the bank-full level. These positions are prone to dramatic restructuring by large floods and patches of this association may be ephemeral. Flooding and scouring are powerful and ecologically important abrasive forces that shape the physiognomy and composition of this association. Soils are rapidly drained Psamments, usually with neutral to high pH. These coarse-textured substrates are potentially well-drained, but fluvial topography and a high water table often result in a mixture of well-drained and poorly drained microsites. Occurrences on flat bedrock often develop scoured out potholes which hold flood and rain water, and vegetation is confined to cracks and sediment accumulations. Soil material is restricted to the narrow interstices of tightly packed boulders, or to small crevices in bedrock exposures. However, along the Greenbrier and New rivers in West Virginia, stands of this type occupy cobble bars rather than stabilized outcrops and boulder deposits.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Flash floods actively scour the floodplain, keeping the vegetation open. Available data suggest that the differences between this community and related types may be more related to flooding frequency/intensity and/or substrate chemistry than to topography (i.e., outcrop vs. cobble bar).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon
Element Description Edition Date: 20Dec2018
Element Description Author(s): L.A. Sneddon, G. Fleming, P. Coulling and S.C. Gawler
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke, mod. 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
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).

  • Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2017. The natural communities of Virginia: A classification of ecological community groups and community types. Third approximation. Version 3.0. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/natural-communities/]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lea, C. 2000. Plant communities of the Potomac Gorge and their relationship to fluvial factors. M.S. thesis, George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 219 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.

  • Perles, S., G. Podniesinski, and J. Wagner. 2004. Classification, assessment and protection of non-forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Harrisburg. 128 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1988c. Ecology forum: Notes on riverside vegetation. The Nature Conservancy News 38:24-25.

  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 2000b. Plant communities of Harper's Ferry National Historical Park: Analysis, characterization, and mapping. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins, WV. 37 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 2001a. Plant community classification and mapping of the Camp Dawson Collective Training Area, Preston County, West Virginia. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins. 101 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 2001b. Plant communities of the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia: Northern and southern thirds. Non-game Wildlife and Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Elkins. 146 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 2017b. Wild vegetation of West Virginia: Riverscour prairies. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. [http://wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/Factsheets/Riverscour.shtm]

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Vegetation classification and mapping of New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2007/092. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 396 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J., and B. P. Streets. 2006. Vegetation classification and mapping of Camp Dawson Army Training Site, West Virginia: Second approximation. Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins. 83 pp.

  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date. Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.

  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011a. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Big Bluestem - Indian-grass Floodplain Grassland Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=15999] (accessed February 06, 2012)

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


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