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Photinia melanocarpa - Gaylussacia baccata / Carex pensylvanica Shrubland
Translated Name: Black Chokeberry - Black Huckleberry / Pennsylvania Sedge Shrubland
Common Name: High-Elevation Outcrop Barrens (Black Chokeberry Igneous / Metamorphic Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL008508
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community type is known from scattered localities along nearly the full length of the Blue Ridge in Virginia and could potentially occur in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This vegetation type is associated with medium- to high-elevation exposed outcrops of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including metabasalt (greenstone), porphyritic leucocharnockite, amphibolite, and rhyolite. Elevation ranges from about 880 to 1400 m (2900-4600 feet). Habitats are typically on strongly convex, upper slopes and rocky summits with west to northwest or flat aspects. The community is a patchwork of shrub thickets, small herbaceous mats, and exposed, lichen-covered rock surfaces. Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa) is the dominant shrub, or is codominant with Gaylussacia baccata, Hamamelis virginiana, Smilax tamnoides, and/or Kalmia latifolia. Minor woody components include Sorbus americana, Rhododendron catawbiense, and Menziesia pilosa, as well as severely stunted Betula alleghaniensis and Quercus rubra.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Additional data collection from known stands that have not been plot-sampled would increase the robustness of this type's classification. Examples of this community should be sought outside the Virginia Blue Ridge.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.2 - Temperate Grassland & Shrubland
Division 2.B.2.Nc - Eastern North American Grassland & Shrubland
Macrogroup Appalachian Rocky Felsic & Mafic Scrub & Grassland
Group Appalachian Mafic Glade
Alliance Southern Appalachian Mafic Shrubland

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: Hamamelis virginiana - Rhododendron catawbiense - Physocarpus opulifolius Association
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. J., and T. F. Wieboldt. 1993. Classification and ecological interpretation of mafic glade vegetation on Buffalo Mountain, Floyd County, Virginia. Banisteria 2:3-10.
Related Concept Name: Photinia melanocarpa - Gaylussacia baccata / Carex pensylvanica Shrubland
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: Saxifraga michauxii - Solidago randii - Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Coulling, P. P., and T. J. Rawinski. 1999. Classification of vegetation and ecological land units of the Piney River and Mt. Pleasant area, Pedlar Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-03, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: High-Elevation Outcrop Barren
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.294 Southern Appalachian Grass and Shrub Bald
CES202.348 Southern and Central Appalachian Mafic Glade and Barrens
CES202.600 Central Appalachian Pine-Oak Rocky Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1? (20Jun2001)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This is a naturally rare, small-patch vegetation type limited by special habitat requirements. Currently, there are only 10 known occurrences of this vegetation, in aggregate covering less than 4 hectares (10 acres). Additional occurrences are likely but would not significantly increase the aggregate acreage of the type.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MDpotentially occurs, NCpotentially occurs, PApotentially occurs, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community type is known from scattered localities along nearly the full length of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. It is of potential occurrence in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The community is a patchwork of shrub thickets, small herbaceous mats, and exposed, lichen-covered rock surfaces. Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa) is the dominant shrub, or is codominant with Gaylussacia baccata, Hamamelis virginiana, Smilax tamnoides, and/or Kalmia latifolia. Minor woody components include Sorbus americana, Rhododendron catawbiense, and Menziesia pilosa, as well as severely stunted Betula alleghaniensis and Quercus rubra. The most frequent herbaceous species are Carex pensylvanica, Saxifraga michauxii, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Polypodium appalachianum, Agrostis perennans, Paronychia argyrocoma, Solidago simplex var. randii, Hylotelephium telephioides (= Sedum telephioides), Heuchera villosa, Campanula divaricata, and Danthonia spicata. Species richness of plot-sampled stands ranges from 12 to 37 taxa per 100 square meters (mean = 22).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Aronia melanocarpa G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Gaylussacia baccata G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Smilax tamnoides G1 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Micranthes petiolaris G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Minuartia groenlandica G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Paronychia argyrocoma G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Sibbaldiopsis tridentata G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Solidago simplex var. randii G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Huperzia appalachiana G1 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Hylotelephium telephioides G1 Succulent forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex pensylvanica G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This vegetation type is associated with medium- to high-elevation exposed outcrops of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including metabasalt (greenstone), porphyritic leucocharnockite, amphibolite, and rhyolite. The elevation range of plot-sampled stands is from about 880 to 1400 m (2900-4600 feet). Habitats are typically on strongly convex, upper slopes and rocky summits with west to northwest or flat aspects. Surface cover of bedrock and loose boulders in plot-sampled stands averages 80%, with mean lichen cover of 44% on these rocks. Soil development and moisture potential at these sites are minimal, and habitats may also be subject to severe winter temperatures, high winds, and ice.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson and G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 01Feb2008
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20Jun2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): G.P. Fleming

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


References
  • Coulling, P. P., and T. J. Rawinski. 1999. Classification of vegetation and ecological land units of the Piney River and Mt. Pleasant area, Pedlar Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-03, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., A. Belden, Jr., K. E. Heffernan, A. C. Chazal, N. E. Van Alstine, and E. M. Butler. 2007a. A natural heritage inventory of the rock outcrops of Shenandoah National Park. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 433 pp. plus appendixes.

  • 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., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • 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.

  • Rawinski, T. J., and T. F. Wieboldt. 1993. Classification and ecological interpretation of mafic glade vegetation on Buffalo Mountain, Floyd County, Virginia. Banisteria 2:3-10.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, P. Townsend, and J. Foster. 2006. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients. Final Report (v.1.1). Research technical report prepared for USDI, National Park Service. USGS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. 92 pp. plus appendices.

  • Young, J., G. Fleming, W. Cass, and C. Lea. 2009. Vegetation of Shenandoah National Park in relation to environmental gradients, Version 2.0. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2009/142. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 389 pp.


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