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Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica - Nyssa biflora / Fraxinus caroliniana / Itea virginica Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Bald-cypress - Water Tupelo - Swamp Tupelo / Carolina Ash / Virginia Sweetspire Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Atlantic Coastal Plain Bald-cypress - Water Tupelo Blackwater Small Stream Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007432
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is one of several small blackwater stream swamp forests of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, characteristically associated with ambiguously blackwater rivers. This type covers very wet forests that are flooded by river overbank flow for long periods and are dominated by combinations of Nyssa aquatica, Nyssa biflora, Taxodium distichum, and Taxodium ascendens. This type covers examples along Coastal Plain streams in regions of fine-textured soils and examples in somewhat isolated basins of brownwater floodplains, where Nyssa aquatica and Nyssa biflora are both important components of the canopy. This forest is common along small rivers that arise in the Atlantic Coastal Plain (blackwater rivers) from Virginia to northern Florida. Dominant species, which account for at least 75% of the canopy cover, are Taxodium distichum, Nyssa aquatica, and Nyssa biflora. Other bottomland species often found in this community include Acer rubrum, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Quercus laurifolia. The shrub layer generally is open, and Itea virginica is common. The herbaceous layer is very sparse and limited to higher areas and tree bases. The dominant species in this stratum is Phanopyrum gymnocarpon; other typical species include Boehmeria cylindrica, Saururus cernuus, Justicia ovata, Carex lupulina, Hydrocotyle verticillata, Mikania scandens, Spiranthes cernua, Asclepias perennis, Commelina virginica, Leersia lenticularis, and others. Some stands may have a distinctive understory of Arundinaria gigantea. Soils are semipermanently flooded, and probability of annual flooding is 100%. More work needs to be done to understand the geographic variation in the type.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Although not included in the distribution of this type, vegetation with these nominals as dominants occurs in Arkansas (D. Zollner pers. comm.).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest
Group Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest
Alliance Southern Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002421 Taxodium distichum - (Nyssa aquatica) / Forestiera acuminata - Planera aquatica Floodplain Forest
CEGL007054 Nyssa biflora - (Taxodium distichum) / Clethra alnifolia - Viburnum nudum / Woodwardia areolata Floodplain Forest
CEGL007429 Nyssa aquatica - Nyssa biflora Swamp Forest
CEGL007431 Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica / Fraxinus caroliniana Floodplain Forest
CEGL007719 Taxodium distichum - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Quercus laurifolia / Acer rubrum / Saururus cernuus Floodplain Forest



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
Florida Floodplain swamp Broader   FNAI 1997
North Carolina Cypress--Gum Swamp (Intermediate Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
South Carolina Bald cypress - tupelo gum swamp Broader   Nelson 1986


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Nyssa aquatica - Taxodium distichum / Fraxinus caroliniana / Triadenum walteri Semipermanently Flooded Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1998. Comparative wetlands ecology study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Northwest River, and North Landing River in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 98-9. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 181 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 1998. Virginia natural community framework, version January 30, 1998. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Bald Cypress - Tupelo Swamp
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: Baldcypress - Tupelo: 102
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Blackwater Stream Floodplain Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.
Related Concept Name: Cypress--Gum Swamp (Blackwater Subtype)
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: Cypress--Gum Swamp (Intermediate Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: IIA4c. Bald Cypress - Swamp Black Gum Swamp
Relationship: B - Broader
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: Mesotrophic Semipermanently Flooded Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.066 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.247 Atlantic Coastal Plain Blackwater Stream Floodplain Forest
CES203.248 Atlantic Coastal Plain Brownwater Stream Floodplain Forest
CES203.249 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Blackwater River Floodplain Forest
CES203.250 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Brownwater River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G4 (12May1998)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This community type is thought to be relatively secure globally, but the global status needs further assessment.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: FL, GA, NC, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: Taxodium distichum - Nyssa aquatica - Nyssa biflora / Fraxinus caroliniana / Itea virginica Forest is common along small rivers that arise in the Atlantic Coastal Plain (blackwater rivers) from Virginia to northern Florida.

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: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This type is dominated by combinations of Nyssa aquatica, Nyssa biflora, Taxodium distichum, and Taxodium ascendens; Nyssa aquatica and Nyssa biflora are both important components of the canopy. Dominant species, which account for at least 75% of the canopy cover, are Taxodium distichum, Nyssa aquatica, and Nyssa biflora. Other bottomland species often found in this community include Acer rubrum, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Quercus laurifolia. The shrub layer generally is open, and Itea virginica is common. The herbaceous layer is very sparse and limited to higher areas and tree bases. The dominant species in this stratum is Phanopyrum gymnocarpon; other typical species include Boehmeria cylindrica, Saururus cernuus, Justicia ovata, Carex lupulina, Hydrocotyle verticillata, Mikania scandens, Spiranthes cernua, Asclepias perennis, Commelina virginica, Leersia lenticularis, and others. Some stands may have a distinctive understory of Arundinaria gigantea. The NC and SC crosswalked communities are broader and some of the above-listed species may not be appropriate.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Crataegus aestivalis G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Nyssa aquatica G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Nyssa biflora G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Taxodium distichum G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Fraxinus caroliniana G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Planera aquatica G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Persea palustris G3 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Ilex amelanchier G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Itea virginica G3 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Leucothoe axillaris G3 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Cardamine longii G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Epidendrum conopseum G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Justicia ovata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Lilaeopsis carolinensis G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Peltandra virginica G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Ranunculus flabellaris G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Saururus cernuus G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Dryopteris carthusiana G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Dryopteris cristata G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Isoetes riparia G3 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex decomposita G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Luziola fluitans G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Torreyochloa pallida G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Gelsemium rankinii G3 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 
Lejeunea bermudiana G3 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Lopholejeunea muelleriana G3 Liverwort/hornwort Nonvascular      
 
 
Sagittaria filiformis G3 Aquatic herb Submerged aquatic      
 
 
Sagittaria kurziana G3 Aquatic herb Submerged aquatic      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Cardamine longii
  (Long's Bittercress)
G3?  
Carex decomposita
  (Cypress-knee Sedge)
G3G4  
Lejeunea bermudiana
  (a liverwort)
G3G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association is one type of small blackwater stream swamp forest of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and is characteristically associated with ambiguously blackwater rivers. This type covers very wet forests that are flooded by river overbank flow for long periods. This type covers examples along Coastal Plain streams in regions of fine-textured soils and examples in somewhat isolated basins of brownwater floodplains. The soils are semipermanently flooded, and the probability of annual flooding is 100%. An occurrences is known from the Pungo soil series. More work needs to be done to understand the geographic variation in the type.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: The community experiences annual flooding. Exact successional dynamics of the community are not known, but with significant sediment deposition, bottomland hardwood communities possibly may develop.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S. Landaal
Element Description Edition Date: 15Mar1994
Element Description Author(s): S. Landaal
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Oct2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne

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.

  • Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

  • Applequist, M. B. 1959. A study of soil and site factors affecting the growth and development of swamp blackgum and tupelo gum stands in southeastern Georgia. D.F. dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NC. 180 pp.

  • Burdant, C. L., Jr., E. S. Nixon, and R. L. Willett. 1977. Woody vegetation of an inland heronry in East Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 21:475-486.

  • Burns, R. M., and B. H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990a. Silvics of North America: Volume 1. Conifers. Agriculture Handbook 654. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC. 675 pp.

  • Christensen, N. L. 1988. Vegetation of the southeastern Coastal Plain. Pages 317-363 in: M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge University Press, New York.

  • Demaree, D. 1932. Submerging experiments with Taxodium. Ecology 13:258-262.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 1992a. Natural communities. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 6 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.

  • Fleming, G. P. 1998. Virginia natural community framework, version January 30, 1998. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 6 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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 K. D. Patterson. 2011b. Analysis of Coastal Plain / Outer Piedmont bottomlands and non-alluvial wetlands in Virginia, 400 plots. In-house analysis, January 2011. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 1998. Comparative wetlands ecology study of the Great Dismal Swamp, Northwest River, and North Landing River in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 98-9. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 181 pp. plus appendices.

  • Klawitter, R. A. 1962. Sweetgum, swamp tupelo and water tupelo sites in a South Carolina bottomland forest. D.F. dissertation, Duke University, Durham, NC. 176 pp.

  • Martin, W. H., S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, editors. 1993a. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Lowland terrestrial communities. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 502 pp.

  • Mitsch, W. J., and J. G. Gosselink. 1986a. Southern deepwater swamps. Pages 317-351 in: J. W. Mitsch and J. G. Gosselink, Wetlands. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York.

  • Nelson, J. B. 1986. The natural communities of South Carolina: Initial classification and description. South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Columbia, SC. 55 pp.

  • Oberholster, C. 1993. Preliminary list of natural communities of Alabama. Unpublished document. Alabama Department Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Section, Montgomery, AL. 6 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.

  • Penfound, W. T., and T. F. Hall. 1939. A phytosociological analysis of a tupelo gum forest near Huntsville, Alabama. Ecology 20:358-64.

  • Radford, A. E., and D. L. Martin. 1975. Potential ecological natural landmarks: Piedmont region, eastern United States. University of North Carolina, Department of Botany, Chapel Hill. 249 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1992. A classification of Virginia's indigenous biotic communities: Vegetated terrestrial, palustrine, and estuarine community classes. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report No. 92-21. Richmond, VA. 25 pp.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 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.

  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.

  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. [1998]b. Classification of the vegetation of Congaree Swamp National Monument. Report to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Southern Conservation Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 67 pp.

  • Wharton, C. H., W. M. Kitchens, E. C. Pendleton, and T. W. Sipe. 1982. The ecology of bottomland hardwood swamps of the Southeast: A community profile. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services. FWS/OBS-81/37. Washington, DC.

  • Wieland, R. G. 1994b. Mississippi Natural Heritage Program: Ecological communities. Unpublished document. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Museum of Natural Science, Natural Heritage Program, Jackson, MS. 7 pp.

  • Zollner, Douglas. Personal communication. Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy, Arkansas Field Office, Little Rock.


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