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Camassia quamash Lowland Wet Prairie
Translated Name: Small Camas Lowland Wet Prairie
Common Name: Willamette Valley Wet Prairie
Unique Identifier: CEGL003341
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: Habitat is clay prairie and basalt scabland with a seasonally perched water table. Camassia quamash is the primary species in this association, with lesser amounts of Saxifraga oregana, Ranunculus occidentalis, and Triteleia hyacinthina. Camassia is conspicuous in spring and forms dense stands of gorgeous blue flowers, but it all but disappears with summer drought. Because of its seasonal presence, low elevation, and proximity to agriculture, many exotic species are present. Weeds such as Hypochaeris radicata, Stellaria, Aira caryophyllea, and Galium aparine may be inconspicuous when Camassia is at its peak but may dominate sites once it has disappeared. Both white and blue forms of Camassia quamash may be present, as well as Camassia leichtlinii. Camas was one of the most important staple foods for the original native peoples of the Willamette Valley, and wet prairies were intensively managed for food production. Arable prairies were converted to agriculture, and those on scabland sites were grazed by livestock, so that most surviving remnants are degraded with exotic species. This association may intergrade with the Triteleia hyacinthina association in areas of shallow soil over bedrock that have a perched water table or seasonal seepage.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.4 - Temperate to Polar Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Division 2.C.4.Nb - Western North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Vancouverian Lowland Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Vancouverian Freshwater Wet Meadow & Marsh
Alliance Lowland Camas - Quillwort Wet Prairie

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



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Camassia quamash - Triteleia hyacinthina Association
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Chappell, C. B. 2006a. Plant associations of balds and bluffs of western Washington. Natural Heritage Report 2006-02. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia. [http://www.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/communities/pdf/balds_veg.pdf]
Related Concept Name: Camassia quamash / Sphagnum subsecundum
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.
Related Concept Name: Camassia quamash Association
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Titus, J. H., and J. A. Christy. 1996a. Vegetation of Big Marsh, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon. Report to Deschutes National Forest. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, Portland.
Related Concept Name: Camassia quamash
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES204.874 Willamette Valley Wet Prairie


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (01Oct2002)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: ID, OR, WA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is found in western Oregon and Washington (Christy 2004) and Idaho.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Marine Division
Province Name: Pacific Lowland Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 242 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Willamette Valley and Puget Trough Section
Section Code: 242A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Camassia quamash is the primary species in this association, with lesser amounts of Saxifraga oregana, Ranunculus occidentalis, and Triteleia hyacinthina. Camassia is conspicuous in spring and forms dense stands of gorgeous blue flowers, but it all but disappears with summer drought. Because of its seasonal presence, low elevation, and proximity to agriculture, many exotic species are present. Weeds such as Hypochaeris radicata, Stellaria, Aira caryophyllea, and Galium aparine may be inconspicuous when Camassia is at its peak but may dominate sites once it has disappeared. Both white and blue forms of Camassia quamash may be present, as well as Camassia leichtlinii.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Camassia quamash G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Hypochaeris radicata G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Aira caryophyllea G3 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Habitat is clay prairie and basalt scabland with a seasonally perched water table.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Camas was one of the most important staple foods for the original native peoples of the Willamette Valley, and wet prairies were intensively managed for food production (Boyd 1999). Arable prairies were converted to agriculture, and those on scabland sites were grazed by livestock, so that most surviving remnants are degraded with exotic species.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): J.A. Christy (2004)
Element Description Edition Date: 10Jun2006
Element Description Author(s): J.A. Christy (2004)

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


References
  • Chappell, C. B. 2006a. Plant associations of balds and bluffs of western Washington. Natural Heritage Report 2006-02. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia. [http://www.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/communities/pdf/balds_veg.pdf]

  • Christy, J. A. 2004. Native freshwater wetland plant associations of northwestern Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, OR.

  • Copass, C., and T. Ramm-Granberg. 2016b. Vancouver National Historic Reserve vegetation inventory and mapping project. Natural Resource Report NPS/NCCN/NRR--2016/1128. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 90 pp.

  • Erixson, J., and D. Cogan. 2012c. Vegetation inventory project report: Nez Perce National Historical Park. Natural Resource Report NPS/UCBN/NRR--2012/531. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO. 380 pp.

  • IDCDC [Idaho Conservation Data Center]. 2005. Wetland and riparian plant associations in Idaho. Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise. [http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/tech/CDC/ecology/wetland_riparian_assoc.cfm] (accessed 14 June 2005).

  • Kagan, J. S., J. A. Christy, M. P. Murray, and J. A. Titus. 2004. Classification of native vegetation of Oregon. January 2004. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland. 52 pp.

  • McCain, C., and J. A. Christy. 2005. Field guide to riparian plant communities in northwestern Oregon. Technical Paper R6-NR-ECOL-TP-01-05. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, Portland. 357 pp.

  • Sawyer, J. O., T. Keeler-Wolf, and J. Evens. 2009. A manual of California vegetation. Second edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento CA. 1300 pp.

  • Titus, J. H., and J. A. Christy. 1996a. Vegetation of Big Marsh, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon. Report to Deschutes National Forest. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, Portland.

  • Titus, J. H., and J.A. Christy. 1996b. Unpublished vegetation data, Popcorn Swale Preserve. Oregon Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, Portland.

  • WNHP [Washington Natural Heritage Program]. 2018. Unpublished data files. Washington Natural Heritage Program, Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA.

  • Western Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boulder, CO.


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