NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
Ecological Association Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected.
See All Search Results    View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron catawbiense - (Gaylussacia baccata, Pieris floribunda, Vaccinium corymbosum) Shrubland
Translated Name: Mountain Laurel - Catawba Rosebay - (Black Huckleberry, Mountain Fetterbush, Highbush Blueberry) Shrubland
Common Name: Southern Appalachian Mountain Laurel Bald
Unique Identifier: CEGL003814
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee, on ridges and steep, rocky slopes at intermediate elevations (1220-1524 m [4000-5000 feet]). It also occurs in very small patches at elevations higher than 1035 m (3400 feet) in the Cumberland Mountains along the Virginia-Kentucky border. It is a mostly evergreen shrubland, although deciduous shrubs may be present and even locally dominant. Shrubs form a dense, sometimes impenetrable thicket, 1-4 m tall. The most typical shrub dominants are Kalmia latifolia and Rhododendron catawbiense, although Gaylussacia baccata, Leiophyllum buxifolium, Pieris floribunda, Rhododendron carolinianum, Rhododendron maximum, and Vaccinium corymbosum are dominant or have high coverage in some occurrences. Other shrubs include Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), Clethra acuminata, Ilex montana, Vaccinium stamineum, Leucothoe recurva, and Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides. Small openings in the shrub canopy are dominated by lichens, bare rock or herbs, with some occurrences having up to 60% exposed rock. Herb cover beneath the shrub canopy is absent or very sparse (<5%) and may include Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens, Goodyera pubescens, Melampyrum lineare, Mitchella repens, and Pteridium aquilinum. Smilax rotundifolia is a common vine. Small, scattered trees are possible (Acer rubrum, Amelanchier laevis, Betula alleghaniensis, Ilex montana, Magnolia fraseri, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Picea rubens, Prunus pensylvanica, Quercus rubra, and Sorbus americana) and may be more typical of shrublands resulting from intense fires on less exposed sites. Windfall, landslides, and small, localized, lightning-caused fires are important in the establishment and maintenance of these shrublands. This community can result from secondary succession after fire or logging or can occur as a topo-edaphic climax on steep or exposed sites.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: These shrublands possibly have a broader distribution and typically occur at lower elevations than other montane shrublands in Rhododendron catawbiense - Rhododendron carolinianum - Kalmia latifolia Shrub Bald Alliance (A0744). In the Southern Blue Ridge, this shrubland generally occurs at elevations over 1220 m (4000 feet) and grades into forests dominated by Quercus coccinea, Pinus rigida, Pinus pungens, and/or Quercus rubra. High-elevation occurrences may be compositionally similar to another heath bald community, Rhododendron carolinianum - Rhododendron catawbiense - Leiophyllum buxifolium Shrubland (CEGL007876).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.2 - Temperate Grassland & Shrubland
Division 2.B.2.Nc - Eastern North American Grassland & Shrubland
Macrogroup Appalachian Rocky Felsic & Mafic Scrub & Grassland
Group Southern Appalachian Shrub Bald
Alliance Catawba Rosebay - Carolina Azalea - Mountain Laurel Shrub Bald

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004819 Menziesia pilosa - Vaccinium (erythrocarpum, simulatum, corymbosum) - Sorbus americana Shrubland
CEGL007876 Rhododendron carolinianum - Rhododendron catawbiense - Leiophyllum buxifolium 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
North Carolina Heath Bald (Low Elevation Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron catawbiense - (Gaylussacia baccata, Pieris floribunda, Vaccinium corymbosum) Shrubland
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.
Related Concept Name: BR Shrub Bald
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.
Related Concept Name: Heath Bald
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 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: Heath Bald (Blueberry Subtype)
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Heath Bald (Low Elevation Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2002. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain communities. November 2002 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: IC4a. Heath Bald Shrubland
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
Related Concept Name: Mountain laurel-great laurel summits
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.
Related Concept Name: Southern Appalachian Shrub / Grass Bald
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.294 Southern Appalachian Grass and Shrub Bald


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G2G3 (15Feb1999)
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: This is a locally common heath bald type in parts of the Southern Blue Ridge and Cumberland Mountains. Some occurrences represent a topo-edaphic climax, while other areas require fire to maintain the physiognomy. Fire-maintained occurrences are threatened by general fire prevention in the mountains.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, KY, NC, TN, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Examples in the Cumberlands of Kentucky, and Southern Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley of Virginia are rare and of limited extent.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association typically manifests as a mostly evergreen shrubland, although deciduous shrubs may be present and even locally dominant. These shrubs form a dense, sometimes impenetrable thicket, 1-4 m tall. The most typical shrub dominants are Kalmia latifolia and Rhododendron catawbiense, although Gaylussacia baccata, Leiophyllum buxifolium, Pieris floribunda, Rhododendron carolinianum, Rhododendron maximum, and Vaccinium corymbosum are dominant or have high coverage in some occurrences. Other shrubs include Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa), Clethra acuminata, Ilex montana, Vaccinium simulatum, Vaccinium stamineum, Leucothoe recurva, and Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides. Small openings in the shrub canopy are dominated by lichens, bare rock or herbs, with some occurrences having up to 60% exposed rock. Herb cover beneath the shrub canopy is absent or very sparse (<5%) and may include Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens, Goodyera pubescens, Melampyrum lineare, Mitchella repens, and Pteridium aquilinum. Smilax rotundifolia is a common vine. Small, scattered trees are possible (Acer rubrum, Amelanchier laevis, Betula alleghaniensis, Ilex montana, Magnolia fraseri, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Prunus pensylvanica, Picea rubens, Quercus rubra, and Sorbus americana) and may be more typical of shrublands resulting from intense fires on less exposed sites.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Abies fraseri G2 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy      
 
 
Kalmia latifolia G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhododendron catawbiense G2 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Hypericum buckleii G2 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling      
 
 
Liatris helleri G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Glyceria nubigena G2 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Pseudevernia cladonia G2 Lichen Nonvascular      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Abies fraseri
  (Fraser Fir)
G2  
Glyceria nubigena
  (Smoky Mountains Mannagrass)
G2G3  
Hypericum buckleii
  (Blue Ridge St. John's-wort)
G3  
Liatris helleri
  (Heller's Blazingstar)
G2Q LT: Listed threatened
Pseudevernia cladonia
  (Light-and-dark Lichen)
G2G4  


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community occurs in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee on ridges and steep, rocky slopes at intermediate elevations (1220-1524 m [4000-5000 feet]). It also occurs in very small patches at elevations higher than 1035 m (3400 feet) in the Cumberland Mountains along the Virginia-Kentucky border.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Windfall, landslides, and small, localized, lightning-caused fires are important in the establishment and maintenance of these shrublands. This community can result from secondary succession after fire or logging or can occur as a topo-edaphic climax on steep or exposed sites.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Karen Patterson
Element Description Edition Date: 24Feb2010
Element Description Author(s): K.D. Patterson, T. Govus and R. White
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Feb2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): K.D. Patterson, mod. R. White

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


References
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.

  • Ambrose, J. 1990a. Georgia's natural communities--A preliminary list. Unpublished document. Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory. 5 pp.

  • CAP [Central Appalachian Forest Working Group]. 1998. Central Appalachian Working group discussions. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA.

  • 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. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.

  • 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.

  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Pyne, M. 1994. Tennessee natural communities. Unpublished document. Tennessee Department of Conservation, Ecology Service Division, Nashville. 7 pp.

  • Risk, P. L. 1993. High elevation heath communities in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

  • Schafale, M. 2002. Fourth approximation guide. Mountain communities. November 2002 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.

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

  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.

  • White, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2017
NatureServe
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: November 2016