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Taxodium distichum / Cephalanthus occidentalis / Boehmeria cylindrica - Ceratophyllum muricatum Maritime Swamp Forest
Translated Name: Bald-cypress / Common Buttonbush / Small-spike False Nettle - Prickly Hornwort Maritime Swamp Forest
Common Name: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Bald-cypress Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL004079
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association appears to be one of the most distinctive maritime swamps in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. It is currently known from a two sites in North Carolina and Virginia, both in wet dune swales on barrier islands. This example is a somewhat open forest with little to no understory or shrub layer present. The overstory is dominated by Taxodium distichum with lesser amounts of Liquidambar styraciflua and Acer rubrum also present. Woody vines are prominent in this association as in many maritime types of the region.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This association is based on two sites, but appears to be quite distinct from the related maritime swamps in being wetter. The concept should include any tree-dominated maritime swamp wet enough to be dominated by Taxodium. Taxodium is present in small amounts in only one of the other maritime swamp forests. Twinspan analysis of North Carolina maritime forest plot data by Wentworth et al (1993) found it to be the most distinctive of the maritime swamp forest groups.

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 Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest
Alliance Bald-cypress Nonriverine Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL002420 Taxodium distichum / Lemna minor Floodplain Forest
CEGL004082 Acer rubrum - Nyssa biflora - (Liquidambar styraciflua, Fraxinus sp.) Maritime Swamp Forest
CEGL004914 Taxodium ascendens / Magnolia virginiana / Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense Swamp 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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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 Maritime Swamp Forest (Cypress Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Taxodium distichum / Cephalanthus occidentalis / Boehmeria cylindrica - Ceratophyllum muricatum Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Maritime Swamp Forest
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: 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: Maritime Swamp Forest (Cypress Subtype)
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Schafale, M. 2003b. Fourth approximation guide. Coastal Plain communities. March 2003 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.261 Central Atlantic Coastal Plain Maritime Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (27Feb2004)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This association is extremely rare being known from only two sites, one in North Carolina and one in southeastern Virginia.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is known from the southeastern Virginia and North Carolina coast. It could potentially occur in adjacent states but no examples are known.

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: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The North Carolina occurrence is a somewhat open forest is dominated by Taxodium distichum. Liquidambar styraciflua and Acer rubrum are also present. There is little understory or shrub layer, but Diospyros virginiana and Morella cerifera (= var. cerifera) occur near the edges, and small amounts of Cephalanthus occidentalis and Rosa palustris occur in wetter portions. Woody vines, especially Vitis rotundifolia, Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Berchemia scandens, and Smilax rotundifolia, are prominent, especially in the shallower portions. Ceratophyllum muricatum dominates the semipermanent open water. Boehmeria cylindrica dominates on hummocks and on the edges. Other herbs include Carex lurida, Lycopus rubellus, Saururus cernuus, Triadenum virginicum, and Ptilimnium capillaceum. At First Landing/Seashore State Park and Fort Story in Virginia, this community occurs in linear dune swales, covering an estimated 12 hectares. The stands are dominated almost exclusively by uneven-aged Taxodium distichum festooned with Tillandsia usneoides, with occasional individuals of Nyssa biflora, Nyssa aquatica, and Liquidambar styraciflua also present. Understory tree layers are absent or poorly developed. There are small shrub patches on hummocks and around the edges of the swales, consisting mostly of Cephalanthus occidentalis, Decodon verticillatus, Leucothoe racemosa, Morella cerifera (= var. cerifera), Itea virginica, and Lyonia ligustrina. Herbs are very sparse, but scattered individuals or patches of Carex seorsa, Bidens discoidea, Lycopus rubellus, Triadenum virginicum, and Utricularia gibba occur.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Taxodium distichum G1 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Boehmeria cylindrica G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Ceratophyllum muricatum G1 Aquatic herb Submerged aquatic  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in dune swales or depressions on barrier islands, that are flooded semipermanently to permanently. Water levels presumably reflect the local water table. It occurs on more sheltered portions of the barrier island, surrounded by upland maritime forests, with light but not severe salt spray. Sea water overwash or intrusion probably never occurs.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Sea water overwash is probably absent, but severe salt spray and wind damage occur in storms. Vegetation likely varies with variations in water level from year to year. As in all barrier island environments, these sites are geologically young and potentially short-lived, however, they are among the most stable portions of barrier islands and most have existed since prehistoric times.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): M.P. Schafale
Element Description Edition Date: 10Jun2008
Element Description Author(s): M.P. Schafale and G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10Jun2008
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): M.P. Schafale, mod. G.P. Fleming

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


References
  • 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., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • 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.

  • 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.

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


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