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Celtis laevigata - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - (Juglans nigra) / Asimina triloba / Carex grayi Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Sugarberry - Green Ash - (Black Walnut) / Pawpaw / Gray's Sedge Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Atlantic Coastal Plain Sugarberry - Green Ash Levee Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004740
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is a levee forest of brownwater rivers in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the Carolinas, possibly ranging north and south to adjacent states. It has been described from the Congaree River, South Carolina, and from the Roanoke River, North Carolina, where it occurs in two more-or-less distinct phases. Both phases have closed canopies codominated by Acer negundo, Celtis laevigata, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Ulmus americana. Subcanopies range from dense to sparse and are dominated by Asimina triloba. The relative abundance and diversity of understory herbs (e.g., Carex grayi, Carex louisianica) are inversely related to the abundance of Asimina triloba; however, Arundinaria gigantea often has a higher abundance under Asimina. Vines are also common, and important species include Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, and Smilax rotundifolia. In the Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina, the mostly closed canopy of this community is dominated by Celtis laevigata, Juglans nigra, Acer negundo, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Ulmus americana. These species are important in the well-developed subcanopy also. These occurrences differ from the Roanoke River occurrences by having a lesser amount of tree importance contributed by Fraxinus pennsylvanica and by having substantial amounts of Juglans nigra. A variety of other tree species are possible in these strata; these species include Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus laurifolia, Diospyros virginiana, Carya cordiformis, Quercus pagoda, Morus rubra, and others. The shrub layer ranges from sparse to well-developed and is dominated by Asimina triloba with Lindera benzoin, Ilex decidua, and likely other species present as well. The moderately dense understory is dominated by Elymus virginicus. Other typical species include Carex grayi, Carex retroflexa, Chasmanthium latifolium, Elephantopus carolinianus, Leersia lenticularis, Polygonum virginianum, Sanicula canadensis, Carex bromoides, Glyceria striata, Laportea canadensis, and others. The vine stratum is moderate, and many species are possible. Among these are Bignonia capreolata, Berchemia scandens, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Smilax bona-nox, Smilax tamnoides, Vitis rotundifolia, Matelea carolinensis, Cocculus carolinus, and Vitis vulpina.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This type is based on plot data collected on the floodplains of the Roanoke River, North Carolina, and the Congaree River, South Carolina. Related vegetation in Virginia's Coastal Plain and Piedmont is treated as Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Platanus occidentalis - Celtis laevigata / Chasmanthium latifolium Piedmont Floodplain Forest (CEGL007013).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.3 - Temperate Flooded & Swamp Forest
Division 1.B.3.Nb - Southeastern North American Flooded & Swamp Forest
Macrogroup Southern Coastal Plain Floodplain Forest
Group Southern Ash - Elm - Willow Floodplain Forest
Alliance Coastal Plain Sycamore - Green Ash - Elm Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL007013 Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Platanus occidentalis - Celtis laevigata / Chasmanthium latifolium Piedmont Floodplain Forest
CEGL007730 Platanus occidentalis - Celtis laevigata - Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Ilex decidua / Carex retroflexa Floodplain 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
North Carolina Brownwater Levee Forest (High Levee Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Celtis laevigata - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Acer negundo / Asimina triloba / Carex grayi Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rice, S. K., and R. K. Peet. 1997. Vegetation of the Lower Roanoke River Floodplain. Unpublished report to The Nature Conservancy. 154 pp.
Related Concept Name: Brownwater Levee Forest (High Levee Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain Levee Forest (Brownwater Subtype)
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.066 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Large River Floodplain Forest
CES203.250 Atlantic Coastal Plain Small Brownwater River Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3G5 (16Aug1997)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: This community type is globally relatively secure (TNC 1998b).

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: GA, NC, SC
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This levee forest is found along brownwater rivers in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the Carolinas, possibly ranging north and south to adjacent states. It has been described from the Congaree River, South Carolina, and from the Roanoke River, 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: 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 forest has been documented as occurring in two more-or-less distinct phases (Rice and Peet 1997). Both phases have closed canopies codominated by Acer negundo, Celtis laevigata, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Ulmus americana. Subcanopies range from dense to sparse and are dominated by Asimina triloba. One of the phases (the Asimina triloba phase) has a more well-developed understory stratum of Asimina triloba than the other, although it is at least frequent in the other, lower-density phase (Rice and Peet 1997). The other phase is called the Carex grayi - Carex louisianica phase, and its understory is often a continuous, dense mixture of Carex species. The relative abundance and diversity of understory herbs are inversely related to the abundance of Asimina triloba; however, Arundinaria gigantea often has a higher abundance under Asimina. Vines are also common, and important species include Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, and Smilax rotundifolia.

In the Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina, the mostly closed canopy of this community is dominated by Celtis laevigata, Juglans nigra, Acer negundo, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Ulmus americana. These species are important in the well-developed subcanopy also. These occurrences differ from the Roanoke River occurrences by having a lesser amount of tree importance contributed by Fraxinus pennsylvanica and by having substantial amounts of Juglans nigra. A variety of other tree species are possible in these strata; these species include Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus laurifolia, Diospyros virginiana, Carya cordiformis, Quercus pagoda, Morus rubra, and others. The shrub layer ranges from sparse to well-developed and is dominated by Asimina triloba with Lindera benzoin, Ilex decidua, and likely other species present as well. The moderately dense understory is dominated by Elymus virginicus. Other typical species include Carex grayi, Carex retroflexa, Chasmanthium latifolium, Elephantopus carolinianus, Leersia lenticularis, Polygonum virginianum, Sanicula canadensis, Carex bromoides, Glyceria striata, Laportea canadensis, and others. The vine stratum is moderate, and many species are possible. Among these are Bignonia capreolata, Berchemia scandens, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Smilax bona-nox, Smilax tamnoides, Vitis rotundifolia, Matelea carolinensis, Cocculus carolinus, and Vitis vulpina. The exotics Ligustrum sinense, Melia azedarach, Lonicera japonica, and Microstegium vimineum are present in some occurrences of this community. At Ocmulgee National Monument near Macon, Georgia, this community is documented with nearly 100% cover of Ligustrum sinense in the shrub strata and thus a sparse, species-poor herbaceous layer.


Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Acer negundo G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Celtis laevigata G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Fraxinus pennsylvanica G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Asimina triloba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy  
 
 
Melia azedarach G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Ligustrum sinense G4 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Carex grayi G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Microstegium vimineum G4 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Lonicera japonica G4 Liana Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This forest occurs on levees of brownwater rivers. Soils that support these forests are relatively fertile and loamy because of frequent flooding and resultant sediment deposition. At Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina, this forest type occurs in the southern portion of the unit on well-drained, relatively fertile levees of the Congaree River. These undergo frequent inundation of relatively shorter duration than areas behind the levee (TNC 1998b). On the Roanoke River (North Carolina), this vegetation occurs on the Chewacla Loam and the Wehadkee Loam.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): S.K. Rice and R.K. Peet, mod. S. Landaal
Element Description Edition Date: 17Feb2009
Element Description Author(s): S.K. Rice, R.K. Peet, S. Landaal
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Oct2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M. Pyne

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


References
  • 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.

  • Rice, S. K., and R. K. Peet. 1997. Vegetation of the Lower Roanoke River Floodplain. Unpublished report to The Nature Conservancy. 154 pp.

  • Schafale, M. 2000. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain. January 2000 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.

  • TNC [The Nature Conservancy]. [1998]b. Classification of the vegetation of Congaree Swamp National Monument. Report to BRD-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program. The Nature Conservancy, Southern Conservation Science, Chapel Hill, NC. 67 pp.


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