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Morella pensylvanica / Diodia teres Shrubland
Translated Name: Northern Bayberry / Rough Buttonweed Shrubland
Common Name: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CEGL003881
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is a maritime shrubland dominated by Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica), occurring with Baccharis halimifolia, Rhus copallinum, and stunted individuals of Pinus taeda, Prunus serotina, Quercus virginiana, and Diospyros virginiana. Dense shade beneath shrubs and the frequent movement of sand in this community limit the herbaceous cover. Typical herbaceous species include Ammophila breviligulata, Panicum amarum var. amarulum, Cyperus grayi, Lechea maritima, Dichanthelium acuminatum, Spartina patens, Triplasis purpurea, Cenchrus tribuloides, Chamaesyce polygonifolia, Diodia teres, Hudsonia tomentosa, Oenothera humifusa, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Rumex acetosella, Solidago sempervirens, and Toxicodendron radicans. This maritime shrubland usually occupies the intermediate areas between the very unstable oceanward portions of the dunes and the more protected backdunes, where it forms partially open to dense shrub thickets. The substrate is sand with no soil profile development, and with variable amounts of accumulated leaf litter. Where this community occupies the lee side of foredunes, greater exposure to winds and storms contributes to a shorter stature and more open aspect of the vegetation. Here there are large patches of open unvegetated or sparsely vegetated sand. This community occurs from Delaware south to northern North Carolina.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This community is a maritime shrubland dominated by Morella pensylvanica. It supports species characteristic of Morella pensylvanica Dune Shrubland Alliance (A0902), including Solidago sempervirens, Oenothera humifusa, Cyperus grayi, Ammophila breviligulata, Chamaesyce polygonifolia, Rhus copallinum, and from Maryland and north, Prunus maritima. This association is further characterized by species that differentiate it from other communities in the alliance, most notably Morella cerifera, Panicum amarum, Spartina patens, Baccharis halimifolia, and stunted individuals of Pinus taeda. Morella pensylvanica - Prunus maritima Shrubland (CEGL006295) is the northern analog of this association.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.4 - Temperate to Polar Scrub & Herb Coastal Vegetation
Division 2.B.4.Na - Eastern North American Coastal Scrub & Herb Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Coastal Dune & Grassland
Group North Atlantic Coastal Dune & Grassland
Alliance Northern Bayberry Dune Shrubland

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004240 Morella (pensylvanica, cerifera) / Schizachyrium littorale - Eupatorium hyssopifolium Shrub Grassland
CEGL006295 Morella pensylvanica - Prunus maritima Shrubland



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
Delaware Chesapeake Bay Maritime Shrubland Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
North Carolina Maritime Shrub (Bayberry Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Morella pensylvanica / Diodia teres Shrubland
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.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Myrica pensylvanica - (Prunus maritima) Shrubland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.
Related Concept Name: Myrica pensylvanica / Diodia teres Shrubland
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.
Related Concept Name: Prunus maritima, Myrica pensylvanica coastal dune scrub association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Clancy, K. 1993a. Selected rare and historical vascular plants of Delaware. Bartonia 57:75-92.
Related Concept Name: Dunegrass-shrub transition zone
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Dune Scrub
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: Maritime Shrub
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: Maritime Shrub (Northern Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2003b. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain communities. March 2003 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Maritime Shrubland
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.
Related Concept Name: Shrub succession community
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.
Related Concept Name: Upland (dune) thicket
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Klotz, L. H. 1986. The vascular flora of Wallops Island and Wallops Mainland, Virginia. Castanea 51:306-326.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.264 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Swale
CES203.273 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Dune and Maritime Grassland


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2 (28Jan1999)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This maritime shrubland community is restricted to large coastal dune systems from Delaware to Nag's Head, North Carolina. The community is confined to primary dunes subjected to wind and salt spray; these dynamic forces cause natural decimation of some occurrences while building habitat for other new occurrences. For this reason, the community depends on the existence of large expanses of habitat to support the naturally shifting mosaic. As a maritime community, it is faced with many threats common to all maritime systems: dune stabilization, commercial and residential development, road expansion. Approximately 50 occurrences covering 1200-1500 acres is estimated rangewide.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, MD, NC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is restricted to backdunes of shorelines from Delaware to Nag's Head, North Carolina.

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: Predicted or probable
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 community is a maritime shrubland dominated by Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica), occurring with Baccharis halimifolia, Rhus copallinum, and stunted individuals of Pinus taeda. Prunus maritima is more characteristic of this community from Delaware northward. The constant movement of sand in this community limits the herbaceous cover. Typical herbaceous species include Ammophila breviligulata, Panicum amarum var. amarulum, Cyperus grayi, Dichanthelium acuminatum, Spartina patens, Triplasis purpurea, Cenchrus tribuloides, Chamaesyce polygonifolia, Diodia teres, Hudsonia tomentosa, Lechea maritima, Oenothera humifusa, Cakile edentula, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Rumex acetosella, Solidago sempervirens, and Toxicodendron radicans.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Morella cerifera G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Morella pensylvanica G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Diodia teres G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Solidago sempervirens G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Ammophila breviligulata G2 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This maritime shrubland community usually occupies the area intermediate between the very unstable oceanward portions of the dunes and the more protected backdunes, where it forms partially open to dense shrub thickets. The substrate is sand with no soil profile development, and with variable amounts of accumulated leaf litter. Where this community occupies the lee side of foredunes, greater exposure to winds and storms contributes to a shorter stature and more open aspect of the vegetation. Here, there are large patches of open unvegetated or sparsely vegetated sand.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: This association can grade into Ammophila dunes or maritime forest.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): L.A. Sneddon
Element Description Edition Date: 01Feb2005
Element Description Author(s): L.A. Sneddon
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 28Jan1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): L.A. Sneddon

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


References
  • Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.

  • Berdine, M. A. 1998. Maryland vegetation classification. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD.

  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.

  • Brock, J. C., C. W. Wright, M. Patterson, A. Naeghandi, and L. J. Travers. 2007. EAARL bare earth topography - Assateague Island National Seashore. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2007-1176. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1176/start.html]

  • Clancy, K. 1993a. Selected rare and historical vascular plants of Delaware. Bartonia 57:75-92.

  • Clancy, K. 1993b. A preliminary classification of the natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Inventory, Division of Parks and Recreation, Dover. 30 pp.

  • Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • 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., 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. 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.

  • Higgins, E. A. T., R. D. Rappleye, and R. G. Brown. 1971. The flora and ecology of Assateague Island. University of Maryland Experiment Station Bulletin A-172. 70 pp.

  • Hill, S. R. 1986. An annotated checklist of the vascular flora of Assateague Island (Maryland and Virginia). Castanea 5:265-305.

  • Klotz, L. H. 1986. The vascular flora of Wallops Island and Wallops Mainland, Virginia. Castanea 51:306-326.

  • Schafale, M. 2003b. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain communities. March 2003 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.

  • Sneddon, L., M. Anderson, and K. Metzler. 1996. Community alliances and elements of the Eastern Region. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Heritage Task Force, Boston, MA. 235 pp.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1995c. NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program: Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. 1997a. Vegetation classification of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Report to the NBS/NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy. Eastern Regional Office, Boston, MA.


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