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Asplenium ruta-muraria - Pellaea atropurpurea Cliff Sparse Vegetation
Translated Name: Wall-rue - Purple Cliffbrake Cliff Sparse Vegetation
Common Name: Montane Cliff (Calcareous Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL004476
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community includes calcareous cliffs associated with limestone or dolomite geology in Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. This community includes dry to rather moist limestone and dolomite outcrops, usually shaded by trees rooted in adjacent forested communities. It has little vegetative cover, often with 90% of the rock surface unvegetated. Mosses and lichens can have moderate coverage; vascular plants occur on ledges and rooted in cracks. Calciphilic herbs such as Asplenium ruta-muraria, Pellaea atropurpurea, Pellaea glabella ssp. glabella, Asplenium resiliens, Aquilegia canadensis are characteristic. Moister microhabitats of the crevice may have mosses such as Anomodon rostratus and Anomodon attenuatus.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This community is scattered in the Central Appalachian and Ridge and Valley provinces but is extremely uncommon in the Southern Blue Ridge.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 6 - Open Rock Vegetation
Subclass 6.B - Temperate & Boreal Open Rock Vegetation
Formation 6.B.1 - Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Other Rock Vegetation
Division 6.B.1.Na - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Cliff, Scree & Rock Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Group Appalachian Cliff & Rock Vegetation
Alliance Central Appalachian Circumneutral Fern Cliff

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



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
Alabama Asplenium ruta-muraria - Pellaea atropurpurea Sparse Vegetation Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Maryland Asplenium ruta-muraria - Pellaea atropurpurea Sparse Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
North Carolina Montane Cliff (Calcareous Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Pennsylvania Calcareous Opening/Cliff Undetermined   Fike 1999
Tennessee Asplenium ruta-muraria - Pellaea atropurpurea Sparse Vegetation Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Asplenium ruta-muraria - Pellaea atropurpurea Sparse 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: Basic Cliff
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: IE1a. Southern Appalachian Calcareous Cliff
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Calcareous Cliff
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
Related Concept Name: Montane Cliff (Calcareous Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Mountain / Piedmont Calcareous Cliff
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: Spleenwort-cliffbrake calcareous cliff
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.356 Southern Interior Calcareous Cliff
CES202.603 North-Central Appalachian Circumneutral Cliff and Talus


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (11Aug1997)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, GApotentially occurs, KY, MD, NC, PA, SC, TN, VA, WVpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community occurs in areas of limestone or dolomite geology from Pennsylvania south to Alabama. It is found primarily in the Ridge and Valley and Cumberland Plateau, but ranges into scattered areas in the Blue Ridge.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 221H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: 221J Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Highland Rim Section
Section Code: 222E 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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Stands of this association are characterized by sparse herbaceous vegetation, with vascular plants rooted in crevices and on shelves. Calciphilic herbs such as Aquilegia canadensis, Dodecatheon meadia, Symphyotrichum ericoides, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, Cystopteris bulbifera, Bouteloua curtipendula, Pellaea atropurpurea, Dryopteris marginalis, Allium cernuum, Heuchera americana, Carex oligocarpa, Asplenium trichomanes, Arabis hirsuta, Arabis lyrata, Phlox subulata, Hylotelephium telephioides (= Sedum telephioides), and Saxifraga virginiensis are characteristic. Woody species may occur scattered throughout or at the margins; these species include Juniperus virginiana, Rhus aromatica, Toxicodendron radicans, Hydrangea arborescens, Fraxinus americana, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Cercis canadensis, Tilia americana, Carya spp., Quercus muehlenbergii, Ostrya virginiana, and Cornus florida.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Aquilegia canadensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Asplenium resiliens G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Asplenium ruta-muraria G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Pellaea atropurpurea G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Pellaea glabella ssp. glabella G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community occurs on calcareous cliffs, outcrops, and rocky slopes and is often shaded by trees rooted in adjacent forested communities and/or the outcrops. It has little vegetative cover, often with 90% of the rock surface unvegetated. Mosses and lichens can have moderate coverage, and vascular plants occur on ledges and rooted in cracks.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Species composition varies with moisture, shade and exposure on the rocky surface. Introduced weeds, including Ailanthus altissima, Centaurea biebersteinii, Sedum acre, Verbascum thapsus, Lonicera japonica, and Melilotus officinalis (= Melilotus albus), may become established on more sheltered and mesic faces.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Southeastern/Eastern Ecology Groups
Element Description Edition Date: 03Oct2006
Element Description Author(s): E. Largay and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 11Aug1997

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


References
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

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

  • 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., 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.

  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • 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.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • Schotz, Al. Personal communication. Community Ecologist. Alabama Natural Heritage Program. Huntingdon College, Massey Hall, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106-2148.

  • 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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