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Zizania aquatica Tidal Marsh
Translated Name: Annual Wild Rice Tidal Marsh
Common Name: Atlantic Coast Wild Rice Tidal Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL004202
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This is a freshwater tidal marsh characterized by Zizania aquatica that occurs in oligohaline zones of tidal rivers along the north and mid-Atlantic Coast of North America. These marshes occur in the lower reaches of freshwater tidal systems, in fresh to slightly brackish areas along flats that are infrequently exposed at very low tides. Soils are highly variable and are composed of varying amounts of silts, silty mucks, fine peat, to very coarse sands. Zizania aquatica is dominant, although only conspicuously so in mid to late summer, when it overtops early season vegetation. This community can be codominated by species such as Pontederia cordata, Peltandra virginica, Polygonum arifolium, Polygonum punctatum, and/or Bidens spp. Common associates are generally a mixture of freshwater and brackish species and can include Sagittaria latifolia, Ludwigia palustris, Impatiens capensis, Leersia oryzoides, Amaranthus cannabinus, Hibiscus moscheutos, Sium suave, Acorus americanus, and Schoenoplectus fluviatilis. This vegetation provides an important food source for migratory birds.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Because of high seasonal variability, stands sampled in the early spring that may appear to be Peltandra virginica - Pontederia cordata Tidal Marsh (CEGL004706) may be more appropriately classified as Zizania aquatica Tidal Marsh (CEGL004202). This vegetation is best sampled later in the season.

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.Ne - Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Fresh-Oligohaline Tidal Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Fresh-Oligohaline Tidal Marsh
Alliance Southern Wild Rice Tidal Freshwater Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002382 Zizania (aquatica, palustris) Marsh
CEGL003887 Zizania aquatica Gulf Coast Tidal Marsh



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
Connecticut Annual wildrice - Pickerelweed (Zizania aquatica - Pontederia cordata) community Equivalent Certain Metzler and Barrett 2006
Delaware Atlantic Coast Wild Rice Tidal Marsh Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Zizania aquatica Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
Massachusetts Freshwater Tidal Marsh Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Jersey Zizania aquatica Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Freshwater tidal marsh Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
North Carolina Tidal Freshwater Marsh (Wild Rice Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
Pennsylvania Riverbank Freshwater Tidal Marsh Broader   Zimmerman et al. 2012
Rhode Island Freshwater Tidal Marsh Broader   Enser 1999


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Peltandra virginica - Polygonum punctatum - Sagittaria latifolia Freshwater Marsh
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Pontederia cordata - Leersia oryzoides Tidal Freshwater Marsh
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Zizania aquatica - Polygonum punctatum Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Coulling, P. P. 2002. A preliminary classification of tidal marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp vegetation and assorted non-tidal, chiefly non-maritime, herbaceous wetland communities of the Virginia Coastal Plain. October 2002. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-18. 30 pp.
Related Concept Name: Zizania aquatica - Pontederia cordata - Peltandra virginica - Polygonum punctatum Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Zizania aquatica - Pontederia cordata community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2001. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft 5/21/2001. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Center, Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.
Related Concept Name: Zizania aquatica var. aquatica Tidal Marsh
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Zizania aquatica Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.
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: Zizania aquatica marsh community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Barrett, N. E. 1989. Vegetation of the tidal wetlands of the lower Connecticut River: Ecological relationships of plant community-types with respect to flooding and habitat. M.S. thesis, University of Connecticut, Storrs. 209 pp.
Related Concept Name: FW Tidal Marsh
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Freshwater Tidal Marsh
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.
Related Concept Name: Freshwater Tidal Marsh: Wild Rice - Smartweed Type
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: McCoy, K. M., and G. P. Fleming. 2000. Ecological communities of U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Army. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-08. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 156 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Freshwater tidal marsh complex, midtidal zone
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Breden, T. F. 1989. A preliminary natural community classification for New Jersey. Pages 157-191 in: E. F. Karlin, editor. New Jersey's rare and endangered plants and animals. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 280 pp.
Related Concept Name: Tidal Freshwater Marsh
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.
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.
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: Tidal Freshwater Marsh (Wild Rice Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Wild Rice Community Type
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Odum, W. E., T. J. Smith, III, J. K. Hoover, and C. C. McIvor. 1984. The ecology of tidal freshwater marshes of the United States east coast: A community profile. FWS/OBS-83/17. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC. 176 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.259 Atlantic Coastal Plain Embayed Region Tidal Freshwater Marsh
CES203.376 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Fresh and Oligohaline Tidal Marsh
CES203.516 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Fresh and Oligohaline Tidal Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4? (13Aug1997)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, DE, FLpotentially occurs, GApotentially occurs, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Maine and Massachusetts south to South Carolina, possibly extending into Georgia.

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: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This freshwater tidal marsh community can be highly variable in species composition, but characterized by Zizania aquatica, which is dominant and monotypic in some examples, often forming a "canopy" over such species as Pontederia cordata, Peltandra virginica, Polygonum arifolium, Polygonum punctatum, and/or Bidens spp., among others. Common associates are generally a mixture of freshwater and brackish species and can include Sagittaria latifolia, Ludwigia palustris, Impatiens capensis, Leersia oryzoides, Amaranthus cannabinus, Hibiscus moscheutos, Sium suave, Acorus americanus, and Schoenoplectus fluviatilis. Nuphar advena (= Nuphar lutea ssp. advena) is a common associate in the southern portion of the range. This plant association shows extreme seasonal variability with Zizania aquatica becoming a conspicuous component only in mid to late summer and generally senescing by mid to late autumn. The exotic species Murdannia keisak can be a major component in many stands in Virginia. This vegetation provides an important food source for migratory birds.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Aeschynomene virginica G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Murdannia keisak G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Zizania aquatica G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Aeschynomene virginica
  (Sensitive Joint-vetch)
G2 LT: Listed threatened


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in the lower reaches of freshwater tidal marshes, in fresh to slightly brackish areas that are low within the marsh and are infrequently exposed at lowest tides. It occurs on alluvial soils that are commonly silts or silty clays, although occasionally have a greater sand component. Zizania flats are best developed in quiet waters conducive to sedimentation (Barrett 1989).


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Freshwater tidal marshes are naturally dynamic systems that are best developed where there is a major input of freshwater, a daily tidal range of at least 0.5 m, and a geomorphology that tends to constrict and magnify tidal influence in the upper reaches of the estuary (Odum et al. 1984). They are subject to diurnal flooding by tides and seasonal and episodic flooding from river discharge. Plant composition of freshwater tidal marshes generally occurs as a mosaic of patches dominated by a few or a single species. Species composition is determined by species life history characteristics, especially lifeform, phenology and mode of regeneration in response to microhabitat conditions, and the frequency and duration of flooding. Plant composition has seasonal variation. Landward, this community can grade into other freshwater tidal marsh associations, especially Peltandra virginica - Pontederia cordata Tidal Marsh (CEGL004706), and it can grade into tidal shrublands, such as Alnus serrulata / (Zizania aquatica, Zizaniopsis miliacea) Tidal Shrubland (CEGL004627) in Virginia. Towards the shore of the river, this association grades into Nuphar advena Tidal Marsh (CEGL004472).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley 8-94, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 09May2007
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid

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


References
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  • Coulling, P. P. 2002. A preliminary classification of tidal marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp vegetation and assorted non-tidal, chiefly non-maritime, herbaceous wetland communities of the Virginia Coastal Plain. October 2002. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-18. 30 pp.

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