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Spartina cynosuroides Salt Marsh
Translated Name: Big Cordgrass Salt Marsh
Common Name: Atlantic Big Cordgrass Salt Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL004195
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community includes narrow, almost pure stands of Spartina cynosuroides along tidal creeks and sloughs or on levees of oligohaline tidal marshes along the central Atlantic Coast. Some occurrences are nearly monospecific, while others have a diverse component of other graminoids and forbs. Where mixed, associated plants include Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens), Schoenoplectus robustus (= Scirpus robustus), Schoenoplectus americanus (= Scirpus olneyi), Kosteletzkya virginica, Hibiscus moscheutos, Amaranthus cannabinus, Panicum virgatum, Peltandra virginica, and Polygonum punctatum. Where more saline, Spartina alterniflora and Iva frutescens can become more frequent. Where less saline, associates can include Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (= Scirpus validus), Pontederia cordata, Peltandra virginica, Leersia oryzoides, Mikania scandens, Rumex verticillatus, Echinochloa walteri, Polygonum hydropiperoides, and Typha angustifolia (or Typha domingensis in the south), among others. In more disturbed areas, this association can be displaced by Phragmites australis.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Spartina cynosuroides - Panicum virgatum - Phyla lanceolata Salt Marsh (CEGL007741) is similar in terms of dominant and codominant species, however, associated species differ somewhat and CEGL007741 occurs in wind-tidal situations in North Carolina and Virginia. North of New Jersey, Spartina cynosuroides is a component of brackish high marsh associations, but does not tend to dominate.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.5 - Salt Marsh
Division 2.C.5.Nb - North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Macrogroup North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Brackish Salt Marsh
Alliance Cordgrass Brackish Tidal Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007741 Spartina cynosuroides - Panicum virgatum - Phyla lanceolata Salt 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
Delaware Atlantic Giant Cordgrass Marsh Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maryland Spartina cynosuroides Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
New Jersey Spartina cynosuroides Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
North Carolina Tidal Freshwater Marsh (Giant Cordgrass Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012
South Carolina Brackish marsh (allard) Broader   Nelson 1986


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Spartina cynosuroides Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
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: Spartina cynosuroides Herbaceous Vegetation
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: Spartina cynosuroides Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
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: Big Cordgrass 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.
Related Concept Name: Brackish Marsh
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Wharton, C. H. 1978. The natural environments of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta. 227 pp.
Related Concept Name: Brackish Marsh, Oligohaline Variant
Relationship: I - Intersecting
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: Brackish tidal marsh complex
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 (Giant Cordgrass Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Tidal Freshwater Marsh, Oligohaline Variant
Relationship: I - Intersecting
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 Oligohaline 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.

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
CES203.894 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Brackish Tidal Marsh


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

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DE, GA, MA, MD, NC, NJ, SC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey to 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: Spartina cynosuroides is strongly dominant in this community, often occurring in pure stands. Where stands are mixed, common associates can include Schoenoplectus robustus (= Scirpus robustus), Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens), Schoenoplectus americanus (= Scirpus olneyi), Peltandra virginica, Kosteletzkya virginica, Amaranthus cannabinus, Panicum virgatum, Peltandra virginica, and Polygonum punctatum. Where more saline, Spartina alterniflora and Iva frutescens can become more frequent. Where less saline, Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (= Scirpus validus), Polygonum hydropiperoides, Pontederia cordata, Peltandra virginica, Leersia oryzoides, Mikania scandens, Rumex verticillatus, Echinochloa walteri, and Typha angustifolia are also common associates. In more disturbed areas, this association can be displaced by Phragmites australis.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Spartina cynosuroides G4 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs along tidal creeks, guts, and levees of oligohaline to mesohaline marshes in irregularly flooded high marsh situations, but in areas that are well-drained.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Brackish marsh vegetation responds to interacting gradients of salinity and inundation. This association is irregularly flooded by spring and storm tides. Natural deposition occurs adjacent to river and creek channels, which builds natural levees with coarser, more freely drained substrates than the surrounding peat and silty muds. The riverbanks are freely drained and receive regular tidal flushing, which creates silty fibrous peat substrate. As brackish conditions diminish, species composition shifts to more freshwater species and the organic matter content in soils decreases.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): A.S. Weakley, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 13May2002
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
  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.

  • 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.

  • Breden, T. F., Y. R. Alger, K. S. Walz, and A. G. Windisch. 2001. Classification of vegetation communities of New Jersey: Second iteration. Association for Biodiversity Information and New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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., 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. 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 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.

  • Govus, T. E. 1998. Fort Pulaski National Monument Inventory. Final report. Purchase Order # 1443PX509097564. Prepared for National Park Service, Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA. 33 pp. plus appendices and maps.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2001. Herbaceous tidal wetland communities of Maryland's eastern shore: Identification, assessment and monitoring. Report submitted to the U.S. EPA (Clean Water Act 1998 State Wetlands Protection Development Grant Program). Biodiversity Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division. 30 June 2001. [U.S. EPA Reference Wetland Natural communities of Maryland's Herbaceous Tidal Wetlands Grant #CD993724].

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Odum, W. E. 1988. Comparative ecology of tidal freshwater and salt marshes. Annual Review of Ecological Systems 19:147-176.

  • 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.

  • Odum, W. E., and T. J. Smith. 1981. Ecology of tidal, low salinity ecosystems. Pages 36-44 in: R. C. Carey, P. S. Markovits, and J. B. Kirkwood, editors. Proceedings of the workshop on coastal ecosystems of the southeastern United States. FWS/OBS-80/59. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC.

  • 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.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • 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. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

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

  • Wharton, C. H. 1978. The natural environments of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta. 227 pp.


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