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Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis / Bromus pubescens - Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Aquilegia canadensis Forest
Translated Name: Chinquapin Oak / Eastern Redbud / Hairy Woodland Brome - Robin's-plantain - Red Columbine Forest
Common Name: North Atlantic Coastal Plain Dry Calcareous Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL007748
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This dry, open, calcareous forest of the Coastal Plain of Virginia and Maryland is restricted to subxeric to xeric, fertile habitats over unconsolidated, calcareous deposits. These localized habitats are found on southeast- to southwest-facing, usually convex slopes of deep ravines or stream-fronting bluffs that have downcut into Tertiary shell deposits or limesands. Occurrences are small (typically <1 acre) and highly localized in dissected portions of the Virginia Inner Coastal Plain and Maryland Outer Coastal Plain. Quercus muehlenbergii is a constant, codominant or dominant canopy tree and is the most characteristic tree of this type. Some stands tend toward a woodland physiognomy, with low-statured, gnarled trees and a very open canopy. The understory includes Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana and Cercis canadensis var. canadensis. The herb layer is usually patchy but contains a diversity of species, including several long-range mountain disjuncts. Particularly abundant or noteworthy herbaceous species include Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus, Dichanthelium boscii, Bromus pubescens, and Aquilegia canadensis. Other locally important species are Carex albicans, Matelea carolinensis, Elymus hystrix var. hystrix, Elymus villosus, Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia, Symphyotrichum patens, Arabis laevigata, Verbesina virginica var. virginica, Campanulastrum americanum, Smallanthus uvedalius, Silphium trifoliatum var. trifoliatum, Desmodium pauciflorum, Hexalectris spicata, and Piptochaetium avenaceum.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification of this type is supported by analysis of a 1250-plot regional dataset for the NCR and Mid-Atlantic national parks vegetation mapping projects. In that analysis, this association was represented by 22 plots from James City, Stafford, Surry, Westmoreland, and York counties, Virginia, and two plots from Kent County, Maryland. According to Rod Simmons, vegetation similar to the stands of this type at Crow's Nest, Stafford County, Virginia, occurs across the Potomac River at Chapman's Landing, Maryland. It is likely that this community type is endemic to a narrow region of the Coastal Plain stretching from Charles County, Maryland, south to Surry County, Virginia. Further inventory is required to determine whether it is present in Isle of Wight County and City of Suffolk, Virginia. This is a small-patch community type, usually occurring in patches of <1 acre or 0.4 ha. The total acreage of all known occurrences is <20 hectares.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Na - Eastern North American Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Appalachian-Northeastern Oak - Hardwood - Pine Forest & Woodland
Group Northeastern Chinquapin Oak - Red-cedar Alkaline Forest & Woodland
Alliance Chinquapin Oak Calcareous Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007181 Fagus grandifolia - Acer barbatum - Quercus muehlenbergii / Sanguinaria canadensis 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
Maryland Quercus muehlenbergii / Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Dichanthelium boscii - (Verbesina virginica var. virginica) Forest Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus muehlenbergii / Cercis canadensis / Dichanthelium boscii - Bromus pubescens - Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Aquilegia canadensis Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Quercus muehlenbergii / Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Dichanthelium boscii - (Verbesina virginica) Forest
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.
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.
Related Concept Name: Quercus muehlenbergii / Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Dichanthelium boscii - (Verbesina virginica var. virginica) Forest
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: Quercus muhlenbergii - Carya cordiformis / Dichanthelium boscii - Erigeron pulchellus - (Desmodium pauciflorum) Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Quercus muhlenbergii - Celtis (occidentalis, laevigata) / Elymus villosus Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Quercus muhlenbergii / Cercis canadensis / Dichanthelium boscii - Bromus pubescens - Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus - Aquilegia canadensis Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Quercus muhlenbergii / Erigeron pulchellus - Dichanthelium boscii - (Verbesina virginica) Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain Dry Calcareous Forest / Woodland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
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: Coastal Plain Dry Calcareous Forest and Woodland
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.069 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Calcareous Ravine
CES203.242 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (15Feb2007)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This community is restricted to dry, calcium-rich, shell-containing soils of the eastern Virginia and Maryland Coastal Plain. This community is naturally rare and restricted to a specialized edaphic situation that is regionally restricted and extremely rare within this region. Despite relatively intensive inventory, fewer than 30 scattered occurrences totaling less than 20 hectares are known. About 25% of the known patches are located on public lands, but many of these occur in a poor landscape context and are subject to encroachment by invasive weeds.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DC, MD, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This dry, open, calcareous forest is widely scattered in the Coastal Plain of Virginia and Maryland. Occurrences in Virginia are in highly dissected portions of the Inner Coastal Plain in James City, Stafford, Surry, Westmoreland, and York counties. Occurrences in Maryland are in the Outer Coastal Plain in Kent County.

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: 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: Quercus muehlenbergii is a constant, codominant or dominant canopy tree and is the most characteristic tree of this type, occurring with a variety of mostly inconstant associates, including Acer barbatum, Carya cordiformis, Celtis occidentalis, Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra, Quercus prinus, Tilia americana, and Ulmus rubra. Small tree and shrub associates include Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Cornus florida, Dirca palustris, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Ostrya virginiana, Sideroxylon lycioides, and Viburnum rufidulum. The most characteristic or locally abundant herbs include Agrimonia rostellata, Aquilegia canadensis, Arabis laevigata var. laevigata, Aristolochia serpentaria, Bromus pubescens, Carex albicans var. australis, Carex laxiflora var. laxiflora, Dichanthelium boscii, Elymus hystrix var. hystrix, Elymus villosus, Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus, Phryma leptostachya, Solidago caesia, and Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia. Herbs that are important in specific geographic parts of the range include Arnoglossum atriplicifolium, Asclepias verticillata, Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Desmodium pauciflorum, Eupatorium sessilifolium, Fleischmannia incarnata (= Eupatorium incarnatum), Heuchera americana, Matelea carolinensis, Piptochaetium avenaceum, Scleria oligantha, Silphium trifoliatum, Smallanthus uvedalius, Sorghastrum elliottii, and Symphyotrichum patens var. patens. Stands of this community type also contain a number of species that are more-or-less strongly disjunct from primary ranges in the mountains and Piedmont, including Hexalectris spicata, Corallorhiza wisteriana, Campanulastrum americanum, Celastrus scandens, Muhlenbergia sobolifera, Muhlenbergia tenuiflora, Sanicula marilandica, Arabis lyrata, Packera obovata, Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve, and Thalictrum revolutum. Mean species richness of 24 plot samples analyzed by VDNH was 67 taxa per 400 square meters.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus muehlenbergii G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Cercis canadensis G1 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Juniperus virginiana G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Agrimonia rostellata G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Aquilegia canadensis G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Arabis laevigata G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Aristolochia serpentaria G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Erigeron pulchellus G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Phryma leptostachya G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago caesia G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago ulmifolia G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Bromus pubescens G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex albicans var. australis G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex laxiflora G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Dichanthelium boscii G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus hystrix G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus villosus G1 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Hedera helix G1 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 
Lonicera japonica G1 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This forest occurs on subxeric to xeric, fertile habitats over unconsolidated, calcareous deposits in dissected portions of the Inner Coastal Plain from southeastern Virginia north to Kent County, Maryland. The majority of documented stands are in the central Virginia Coastal Plain near Williamsburg (James City, Surry, and York counties). Habitats are developed on the steep, convex, south-facing slopes of deep ravines and stream-fronting bluffs that have downcut into Tertiary shell deposits or limesands. Soils are slightly acidic to circumneutral, with high calcium levels. Mean soil chemistry values from plots of this type are comparable to those from limestone soils in the mountains (G. Fleming unpubl. data): pH = 6.5, Ca = 4707 (ppm), Mg = 116, Fe = 158, Mn = 67, Al = 403, P = 40, K = 113, cation exchange capacity = 27.4, total base saturation = 86.3%.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Warm aspects and dry, highly calcareous soils appear to be the principal environmental factors in the occurrence and composition of this type. Owing to the scarcity of calcareous soils in the Coastal Plain, the combination of requisite site conditions for this type is very rare, accounting for the small and widely dispersed patches. The short, steep slopes incised into unconsolidated sediments provide a somewhat tenuous foothold for trees and are subject to windthrows during hurricanes and other high-wind conditions. For instance, all patches of this association at Chippokes State Park in Surry County, Virginia, were severely damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003 to the extent that the overstory was nearly removed, and the habitats cannot now be traversed because of the fallen trees. Increased light from the canopy removal has fostered massive invasions of Lonicera japonica and Microstegium vimineum at this site.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 15Feb2007
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Feb2007
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
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2001a. Community types of Coastal Plain calcareous ravines in Virginia. Preliminary analysis and classification. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 4 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P. No date. Unpublished data. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • 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., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • McAvoy, W. A., and J. W. Harrison. 2012. Plant community classification and the flora of Native American shell-middens on the Delmarva Peninsula. The Maryland Naturalist 52(1):1-34.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008c. Vegetation classification and mapping at Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/129. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 369 pp.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008d. Vegetation classification and mapping at George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/099. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 231 pp.

  • Patterson, Karen D. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.

  • 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.

  • Ware, D. M. E., and S. Ware. 1992. An Acer barbatum-rich ravine forest community in the Virginia coastal plain. Castanea 57:110-122.


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