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Cephalanthus occidentalis - (Leucothoe racemosa) / Carex joorii Shrub Swamp
Translated Name: Common Buttonbush - (Swamp Doghobble) / Cypress Swamp Sedge Shrub Swamp
Common Name: Typic Piedmont Upland Pool
Unique Identifier: CEGL004075
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs in isolated small depressions in Piedmont upland settings, holding water much or all of the growing season and wet enough that trees are excluded from the interior or at least sparsely scattered there. The vegetation is an open mix of shrubs and herbs, with Cephalanthus occidentalis or Leucothoe racemosa generally dominating. Carex joorii is most typically the dominant herb, but other wetland graminoids may occur. The flora is depauperate and does not include large numbers of plants with Coastal Plain affinities. Quercus phellos generally occurs along the edge, and Liquidambar styraciflua or Acer rubrum may also be present.


Classification Confidence: Moderate

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.Nd - Eastern North American Temperate & Boreal Freshwater Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Macrogroup Eastern North American Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Eastern North American Shrub Swamp
Alliance Buttonbush - Swamp-loosestrife Shrub Swamp

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002191 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Carex spp. - Lemna spp. Southern Shrub Swamp
CEGL003746 (Cephalanthus occidentalis) / Dulichium arundinaceum - (Polygonum hydropiperoides, Glyceria acutiflora, Proserpinaca palustris) Marsh
CEGL003911 Forestiera acuminata - (Planera aquatica, Cephalanthus occidentalis) Floodplain Scrub
CEGL004116 Nyssa biflora / Cephalanthus occidentalis - Lyonia lucida Sagpond Forest
CEGL004134 Scirpus cyperinus - Dulichium arundinaceum / Sphagnum spp. Marsh
CEGL004457 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Limnobium spongia - Salvinia minima Shrub Swamp
CEGL004533 Leucothoe racemosa - Vaccinium fuscatum - Smilax walteri Wet Shrubland
CEGL004550 Nyssa biflora / Cephalanthus occidentalis - Leucothoe racemosa Swamp Forest
CEGL006069 Cephalanthus occidentalis - Decodon verticillatus Shrub Swamp
CEGL006242 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Polygonum hydropiperoides - Panicum verrucosum Shrub Swamp

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:
Information from programs in other jurisdictions will be posted when they are made available.
Subnation Concept Name Relationship to Standard Confidence Reference
North Carolina Upland Pool (Typic Piedmont Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012

Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Upland Pool (Typic Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2003a. Fourth approximation guide. Piedmont communities. March 2003 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.336 Piedmont Upland Depression Swamp

NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (17Feb2004)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This association is extreme rare and of limited extent with only 5 occurrences known, and less than 10 acres in aggregate.

Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, SCpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: Known only from scattered locations in the North Carolina Piedmont.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation Summary: Vegetation is somewhat zoned, with open shrubs in the center and often a narrow ring of wetland trees and denser shrubs around the edge. Cephalanthus occidentalis is almost always present and is usually dominant in the interior. Leucothoe racemosa may dominate the shrub layer, and other wetland shrubs (e.g., Vaccinium fuscatum) may potentially be present. Herbs range from sparse to moderate in density. Carex joorii is usually present and may be dense in the interior or on the edge. Other plants may include Vaccinium fuscatum, Smilax rotundifolia, and Chasmanthium laxum. Quercus phellos generally occurs along the edge, and Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa sylvatica, and/or Acer rubrum may also occur. Overall species richness is very low. Other herbaceous species include other species of Carex, Scirpus cyperinus, and Juncus spp. In addition, Climacium americanum, Sphagnum lescurii, or other mosses may be common (M. Schafale pers. comm.).

Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Small basins in upland settings, holding water through much of the growing season. The hydroperiod is long enough to exclude trees except on the edge and in local raised microsites. Water comes from rainfall, and possibly an immediate small watershed. Basins generally occur in shallow depressions on upland flats or in ridgetop saddles, often associated with mafic rock substrate and soils with an impermeable clay hardpan.

Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Herbaceous abundance can vary substantially in response to variation in duration and depth of flooding, which varies with rainfall. Breeding amphibians may constitute an important ecosystem component, dominating animal communities and presumably affecting nutrient cycling. Fire may rarely penetrate the interior in dry periods but probably has little effect.

Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank

Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale
Element Description Edition Date: 11Aug2004
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Schafale and M. Pyne
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17Feb2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M.P. Schafale

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

  • Schafale, M. 2003a. Fourth approximation guide. Piedmont 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.

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

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
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Data last updated: November 2016