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Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. - Lemna spp. Southern Shrub Swamp
Translated Name: Common Buttonbush / Sedge species - Duckweed species Southern Shrub Swamp
Common Name: Southern Buttonbush Pond
Unique Identifier: CEGL002191
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This buttonbush shrubland occurs widely throughout the southeastern United States. Stands occupy shallow water depressions, oxbow ponds, beaver ponds, and backwater sloughs of stream and river floodplains. It also occurs in upland pond depressions. Inundation is usually continuous throughout the year, but these sites can become dry in mid or late summer or during periods of prolonged drought. In floodplain situations, soils are deep (1 m or more) consisting of peat or muck over alluvial parent material. Cephalanthus occidentalis comprises nearly 90% of the shrub layer in waters 1-2 m deep. Other shrubs commonly encountered may include Cornus sp. (Cornus foemina (= Cornus stricta) or Cornus amomum to the south and Cornus sericea (= Cornus stolonifera) to the north) and Salix spp. Sedges, including Carex stipata, Carex stricta, Carex lurida, and Carex intumescens, are the dominant herbaceous species present, although Hibiscus spp. can also form dense stands in shallower water. Lemna spp. and Leersia oryzoides are also common plants in this natural community. Populus heterophylla and Nyssa biflora or Nyssa aquatica may also occur within their range. Floristic characteristics that distinguish this type from more northern types are needed. This may occur as a long-persistent successional stage. This community can result from natural or artificial disturbance of hydrology.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This community can be highly dynamic from one season to the next, and species composition and density are wholly dependent on water regime (Niering 1985). Primary identifying characteristics include the near absence of trees and dominance of buttonbush (at least 25% coverage). Floristic characteristics that distinguish this type from more northern types are needed. Stands of buttonbush with widely scattered Taxodium (<10%?, <20% cover?) should be placed in this type.

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 Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Eastern North American Shrub Swamp
Alliance Buttonbush - Swamp-loosestrife Shrub Swamp

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002190 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. Northern Shrub Swamp
CEGL002421 Taxodium distichum - (Nyssa aquatica) / Forestiera acuminata - Planera aquatica Floodplain Forest
CEGL004075 Cephalanthus occidentalis - (Leucothoe racemosa) / Carex joorii Shrub Swamp
CEGL004742 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. moscheutos Wet Shrubland
CEGL006069 Cephalanthus occidentalis - Decodon verticillatus Shrub Swamp



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 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. - Lemna spp. Southern Shrubland Equivalent Certain Schotz pers. comm.
Delaware Southern Buttonbush Pond Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Illinois Pond (S) Intersects   White and Madany 1978
Illinois Shrub Swamp (S) Intersects   White and Madany 1978
Indiana Wetland - swamp shrub Broader   Homoya et al. 1988
Kansas Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. Southern Shrubland Equivalent Certain Lauver et al. 1999
Kentucky Shrub swamp Undetermined   Evans 1991
Louisiana Scrub/Shrub Swamp Broader   Smith 1996
Missouri Shrub Swamp Broader   Nelson 1985
North Carolina Coastal Plain Semipermanent Impoundment (Typic Marsh Subtype) Intersects   Schafale 2012
North Carolina Piedmont/Mountain Semipermanent Impoundment (Piedmont Marsh Subtype) Intersects   Schafale 2012
Ohio Buttonbush Shrub Swamp Undetermined   ONHD unpubl. data
Oklahoma Cephalanthus occidentalis shrubland association Undetermined   Hoagland 2000
Tennessee Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. - Lemna spp. Southern Shrubland Equivalent Certain TDNH unpubl. data
Texas Cephalanthus occidentalis/Carex spp. series Equivalent Certain TNHS unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Rumex verticillata Floodplain Pond
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: Cephalanthus occidentalis Shrubland
Relationship: F - Finer
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: Buttonbush Series
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Diamond, D. D. 1993. Classification of the plant communities of Texas (series level). Unpublished document. Texas Natural Heritage Program, Austin. 25 pp.
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain Semipermanent Impoundment
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: Eastern Broadleaf and Needleleaf Forests: 113: Southern Floodplain Forest (Quercus-Nyssa-Taxodium)
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Küchler, A. W. 1964. Potential natural vegetation of the conterminous United States. American Geographic Society Special Publication 36. New York, NY. 116 pp.
Related Concept Name: Palustrine: Palustrine Scrub Shrub Wetland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. FWS/OBS-79/31. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC. 103 pp.
Related Concept Name: Palustrine: Scrub-Shrub Wetland: Riparian
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1985. Global Vertebrate Characterization Abstract Habitats. Unpublished document. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA.
Related Concept Name: Scrub/Shrub Swamp
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Shrub Swamp
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
Related Concept Name: UNESCO FORMATION CODE: III.B.3c
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization]. 1973. International classification and mapping of vegetation. Series 6, Ecology and Conservation. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Paris. 93 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES202.694 North-Central Interior Floodplain
CES202.705 South-Central Interior Large Floodplain
CES203.066 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.489 East Gulf Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.490 Mississippi River Bottomland Depression
CES203.559 East Gulf Coastal Plain Small Stream and River Floodplain Forest
CES203.715 Columbia Bottomlands Forest and Woodland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4 (03Oct1996)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This type is widespread with many occurrences suspected across its range. However, many sites have also been drained for conversion to cropland. A number of remaining examples of this community are protected, but even these can be threatened by accelerated siltation resulting from excessive soil erosion and channelization in adjacent areas.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: AL, AR, DEpotentially occurs, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This buttonbush shrubland type occurs widely throughout the southeastern United States, ranging from southern Ohio west to Kansas, south to Texas and east to North Carolina. This community also occurs in Delaware and possibly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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: Southern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 221H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Ozark Highlands Section
Section Code: 222A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Upper Gulf Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 222C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Shawnee Hills Section
Section Code: 222D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Highland Rim Section
Section Code: 222E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Bluegrass Section
Section Code: 222F Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Central Till Plains, Oak-Hickory Section
Section Code: 222G 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: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Coastal Plain Middle Section
Section Code: 231B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Cumberland Plateau Section
Section Code: 231C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Arkansas Valley Section
Section Code: 231G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
Province Name: Lower Mississippi Riverine Forest Province
Province Code: 234 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Mississippi Alluvial Basin Section
Section Code: 234A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Prairie Division
Province Name: Prairie Parkland (Subtropical) Province
Province Code: 255 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Central Gulf Prairies and Marshes Section
Section Code: 255D 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: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Ozark Broadleaf Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Boston Mountains Section
Section Code: M222A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Regime Mountains
Province Name: Ouachita Mixed Forest - Meadow Province
Province Code: M231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Ouachita Mountains Section
Section Code: M231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Cephalanthus occidentalis comprises nearly 90% of the shrub layer in waters 1-2 m deep (Voigt and Mohlenbrock 1964). Other shrubs commonly encountered include Cornus amomum to the south and Cornus sericea (= Cornus stolonifera) to the north and Salix spp. Sedges are the dominant herbaceous species present, including Carex stipata, Carex stricta, Carex lurida, and Carex intumescens, although Hibiscus spp. can also form dense stands in shallower water. Lemna spp. and Leersia oryzoides are also common plants in this natural community. Populus heterophylla and Nyssa biflora may also occur within their range (TNC 1995a). In the Columbia Bottomlands of Texas, common associates include Salix nigra, Forestiera acuminata, Echinodorus berteroi (= Echinodorus rostrata), Sagittaria sp., and floating aquatics such as Pistia stratiotes, Limnobium spongia, Azolla caroliniana, and Spirodela polyrrhiza. In the Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain, some associated herbs (e.g., at Shiloh National Military Park) include Leersia oryzoides, Polygonum spp., and Saururus cernuus.

This community expresses differences in physiognomy and vegetative density/diversity in response to substrate aggradation and water regime. Some trees which are the first to appear in this community are Nyssa aquatica and Populus heterophylla. With considerable light reaching the water, constituents of the shrub layer increase in size and number until a group of tree seedlings assume dominance.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Nyssa aquatica G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Emergent tree    
 
 
Populus heterophylla G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Emergent tree    
 
 
Leitneria floridana G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Cephalanthus occidentalis G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Leitneria floridana
  (Corkwood)
G3  
Vegetation Structure Summary: This community occurs in a wide variety of wetland habitats including inundated depressions, oxbow ponds, and backwater sloughs of stream and river floodplains. The commonality among these occurrences is water depth ranging from 1-2 m and permanent or semipermanent inundation. The degree of bottom aggradation affects the continuity of vegetation coverage (complete or patchy). The tree canopy is poorly developed (less than 20% cover) or absent (Nelson 1985, White and Madany 1978). If trees are present, they are scattered and exhibit pronounced signs of water stress. Many dead trees stand in shrub swamps as a testimony to their intolerance of prolonged standing water (Voigt and Mohlenbrock 1964).

Vegetation Structure
Stratum Growth Form
Height of Stratum (m)
Cover
Class
%
Min
Cover %
Max
Cover %
Emergent tree Broad-leaved deciduous tree
 
 
 
 
Tall shrub/sapling Broad-leaved deciduous shrub
 
 
 
 
Herb (field) Herb
 
 
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Stands occupy shallow water depressions, oxbow ponds, upland pond depressions, beaver ponds, and backwater sloughs of stream and river floodplains. Inundation is usually continuous throughout the year, but these sites can become dry in mid or late summer or during periods of prolonged drought. In floodplain situations, soils are deep (one meter or more) consisting of peat or muck over alluvial parent material (Nelson 1985, Lauver et al. 1999). Key environmental factors which favor the establishment and maintenance of this community include nearly continuous inundation from 1-2 m in depth (Voigt and Mohlenbrock 1964).

Soils can be mineral or organic but are saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part (Mitsch and Gosselink 1993). Soil associations listed are those types in Illinois which could support this community. Soils are deep (100 cm [40 inches] or more) consisting of peat or muck over alluvial parent material (Nelson 1985). They include Lawson - Sawmill - Darwin, Haymond - Petrolia - Karnak, Martinsville - Sciotoville, Alford - Wellston, Hosmer - Zanesville - Berks, Grantsburg - Zanesville - Wellston, Houghton - Palms - Muskego| fine-fine/silty-coarse-silty (some evic-coprogenous), mixed montmorillonitic, mesic; Cumulic Hapludolls, Cumulic Haplaquolls, Typic Hapladalfs, Aquic Fragiudalfs, Ultic Hapludalfs, Typic Fragiudalfs, Typic Dystrochrepts, Terrice Medisaprists, Typic Medisaprists, Limnic Medisaprists; Alfisols, Mollisols, Inceptisols, Entisols (Fehrenbacher et al. 1982). The geologic substrate is Paleozoic rock deeply buried by alluvium.

Vegetative diversity and density are highly variable in response to the depth and duration of flooding. This community is characterized by continuous (or nearly so) flooding to depths ranging from 1-2 m (Voigt and Mohlenbrock 1964). As water levels approach 2 m, large areas of open water may occur.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Periods of excessive, prolonged flooding are common in the rainy season (winter and spring). Seasonal flooding and heavy rains leading to inundation of stands to a depth of 1-2 m favor establishment of this type and contribute nutrients, sediments, and organic debris. Excessive inputs of any of these can greatly accelerate natural successional processes which are responsible for the conversion of wetlands to terrestrial habitats.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): D.J. Allard, mod. M. Guetersloh, mod. D. Faber-Langendoen
Element Description Edition Date: 31Oct2005
Element Description Author(s): M. Guetersloh, D. Faber-Langendoen and E. Largay
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 27Jan2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen

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


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