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Liriodendron tulipifera - Quercus rubra - Fraxinus americana / Asimina triloba / Actaea racemosa Forest
Translated Name: Tuliptree - Northern Red Oak - White Ash / Pawpaw / Black Baneberry Forest
Common Name: Upper Piedmont-Northern Blue Ridge Basic Mesic Hardwood Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006186
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community is a mesic rich forest occurring in the Piedmont and lower-elevation Appalachians of Virginia and Maryland and possibly extending into adjacent West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. These forests are dominated by Liriodendron tulipifera, occurring with or codominating with Quercus rubra or Fraxinus americana. This community type occupies fertile, well-drained soils of mesic lower slopes and ravines, often in areas underlain by metabasalt of the Catoctin Formation but also on a variety of igneous metamorphic and metasedimentary rocks. Occasionally, stands occur on well-weathered boulder "streams" that have been deposited in low-elevation ravine bottoms and slope concavities. Other species possible in the overstory include Quercus alba, Quercus prinus, Carya ovalis, Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, Ulmus rubra, Nyssa sylvatica, Fagus grandifolia, and Juglans nigra. Subcanopy tree layers contain representatives of the overstory species and Acer rubrum. The lowest tree and shrub layers usually contain small to large colonies of Asimina triloba and Lindera benzoin, along with Cercis canadensis and Cornus florida. The herb layer is usually lush and dense, except where boulder streams prevail or deer grazing is severe. Patch-dominance of ferns and leafy forbs is characteristic; species achieving local abundance in the type include Adiantum pedatum, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Asarum canadense, Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Deparia acrostichoides, Hydrastis canadensis, Phegopteris hexagonoptera, Polystichum acrostichoides, and Uvularia perfoliata. Other constant or characteristic herbaceous species include Botrychium virginianum, Carex laxiflora var. laxiflora, Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis, Collinsonia canadensis, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Desmodium nudiflorum, Galearis spectabilis, Galium circaezans, Galium triflorum, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, Phryma leptostachya, Podophyllum peltatum, Sanguinaria canadensis, Sanicula canadensis, and Stellaria pubera. This association is distinguished from more montane rich cove forests by its lower-elevation habitats, shrub layer dominance by Asimina triloba (a low-elevation species in the Mid-Atlantic region), and the absence or unimportance of many common species of montane cove forests, e.g., Acer saccharum, Tilia americana, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Laportea canadensis, Osmorhiza claytonii, Impatiens pallida, and Trillium grandiflorum.



Classification

Classification Confidence: High
Classification Comments: This description is based on analysis of 32 plots from Virginia and Maryland. This association is distinguished from more montane rich cove forests by its lower-elevation habitats, shrub-layer dominance by Asimina triloba (a low-elevation species in the Mid-Atlantic region), and the absence or unimportance of many common species of montane cove forests, e.g., Acer saccharum, Tilia americana, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Laportea canadensis, Osmorhiza claytonii, Impatiens pallida, and Trillium grandiflorum. Several plots from low elevations of Shenandoah National Park are intermediate between this type and Liriodendron tulipifera - Fraxinus americana - (Aesculus flava) / Actaea racemosa - Laportea canadensis Forest (CEGL007710) and could be assigned equally well to either type. For the purposes of vegetation mapping in Shenandoah , these plots were assigned to CEGL007710.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 1 - Forest & Woodland
Subclass 1.B - Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation 1.B.2 - Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
Division 1.B.2.Na - Eastern North American Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Appalachian-Interior-Northeastern Mesic Forest
Group Appalachian-Central Interior Mesic Forest
Alliance Interior Highlands Basic Mesic Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006055 Fagus grandifolia - Liriodendron tulipifera - Carya cordiformis / Lindera benzoin / Podophyllum peltatum Forest
CEGL007220 Liriodendron tulipifera / (Cercis canadensis) / (Lindera benzoin) Ruderal Forest
CEGL007710 Liriodendron tulipifera - Fraxinus americana - (Aesculus flava) / Actaea racemosa - Laportea canadensis 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
Delaware Tuliptree Forest Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Liriodendron tulipifera - Quercus rubra - Fraxinus americana / Asimina triloba / Cimicifuga racemosa - Uvularia perfoliata 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: Liriodendron tulipifera - Quercus rubra - Fraxinus americana / Lindera benzoin / Arisaema triphyllum Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Liriodendron tulipifera - Quercus rubra / Asimina triloba / Arisaema triphyllum - Cimicifuga racemosa Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.
Related Concept Name: Basic Mesic 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: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Yellow-Poplar - White Oak - Northern Red Oak: 59
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
Related Concept Name: Yellow-Poplar: 57
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.373 Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G4? (24Jan2005)
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: While not a naturally rare type, this community has a restricted geographic distribution, mature examples are uncommon, and all stands are vulnerable to logging and degradation by introduced invasive weeds. Many examples are poorly buffered because of upslope land-use change, timber removal, or conversion of upslope forests to managed forest types.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DEpotentially occurs, MD, PA, VA, WVpotentially occurs
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This vegetation type is scattered in small to large patches throughout the lower Blue Ridge and northern and western Piedmont of Virginia, and much of the Maryland Piedmont and Blue Ridge. It has also been documented in Pennsylvania and may also occur in eastern West Virginia and the Piedmont portion of Delaware.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
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
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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: The typical stand structure of this community type consists of a tall, closed overstory, with very open understory tree layers, and a variably dense shrub layer. The overstory of most stands is dominated or codominated by tall, straight Liriodendron tulipifera often exceeding 35 m in height. Fraxinus americana and Quercus rubra are the most frequent overstory associates and often codominate. Less frequent overstory associates that can sometimes codominate in discrete areas include Quercus alba, Quercus prinus, Carya ovalis, Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, Ulmus rubra, Nyssa sylvatica, Fagus grandifolia, and Juglans nigra. Subcanopy tree layers contain representatives of the overstory species and Acer rubrum. The lowest tree and shrub layers usually contain small to large colonies of Asimina triloba and Lindera benzoin, along with Cercis canadensis and Cornus florida. More locally important small trees and shrubs include Carpinus caroliniana and Hamamelis virginiana. High-climbing vines of Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Toxicodendron radicans, and Vitis spp. are common. The herb layer is usually lush and dense, except where boulder streams prevail or deer grazing is severe. Patch-dominance of ferns and leafy forbs is characteristic; species achieving local abundance in the type include Adiantum pedatum, Amphicarpaea bracteata, Arisaema triphyllum, Asarum canadense, Actaea racemosa (= Cimicifuga racemosa), Deparia acrostichoides, Hydrastis canadensis, Phegopteris hexagonoptera, Polystichum acrostichoides, and Uvularia perfoliata. The most constant, low-cover herbs in 22 Virginia and Maryland plots of the type are Botrychium virginianum, Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis, Desmodium nudiflorum, Galium circaezans, Galium triflorum, Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum, Phryma leptostachya, Sanguinaria canadensis, and Sanicula canadensis. Additional characteristic herbs include Carex laxiflora var. laxiflora, Collinsonia canadensis, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Galearis spectabilis, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa, Podophyllum peltatum, and Stellaria pubera.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Fraxinus americana G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Liriodendron tulipifera G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus rubra G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acer rubrum G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree subcanopy    
 
 
Asimina triloba G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling  
 
 
Lindera benzoin G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Tall shrub/sapling    
 
 
Lindera benzoin G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Actaea racemosa G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Uvularia perfoliata G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Botrychium virginianum G4 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)    
 
 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia G4 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 
Toxicodendron radicans G4 Liana Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This community type occupies fertile, well-drained soils of mesic lower slopes and ravines. It is most extensive in areas underlain by metabasalt of the Catoctin Formation but also occurs on a variety of igneous metamorphic and metasedimentary rocks. Slopes vary from moderate to steep (range = 7-30) and are typically straight or concave. The surface substrate usually has less than 10% exposed boulder and stone cover, and more than 90% cover of leaf litter and other humic material. However, a small number of stands occur on well-weathered boulder "streams" that have been deposited in low-elevation ravine bottoms and slope concavities. Soils are deep, dark loams or sandy loams of colluvial origin. Soil samples collected from representative stands were moderately acidic (mean pH is about 5.5 to 5.9), with moderately high Ca and high Mg, Mn, K, Cu, B, and total base saturation.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Sites now supporting this community are some of the most productive in the Mid-Atlantic region, and most were cleared or cut over in the past. Dominance of Liriodendron tulipifera in stands is no doubt indicative of establishment following abandonment of fields, logging, and natural, large-scale forest disturbances. The ability of Liriodendron to opportunistically occupy and outgrow competitors in gaps created by windthrow and other disturbances apparently enables this species to maintain a position in older-aged mixed forests (Orwig and Abrams 1994, Busing 1995). Although many stands representing this community have probably reached an intermediate successional stage (70 to 140 years old) and become more mixed than a typical, early-successional forest dominated by Liriodendron tulipifera, their future development is unclear. Most plots contain Quercus rubra or Quercus alba in the overstory, but recruitment of these oaks is very low. The most numerous potential canopy species now present in the understory are hickories (Carya alba, Carya cordiformis, and Carya ovalis), Fraxinus americana, and Nyssa sylvatica. In the absence of longer-lived and more tolerant species such as Fagus grandifolia or Acer saccharum (usually unimportant or absent in the type), it appears that maturing stands will gradually contain more mixed dominance by Liriodendron, Carya spp., Fraxinus, and perhaps Nyssa, with fewer Quercus spp. Most likely because of their moist fertile soils, habitats of this community type are very favorable for shade-tolerant, invasive introduced plants, particularly following small-scale soil disturbances. The most problematic introduced species include Microstegium vimineum, Rubus phoenicolasius, Lonicera japonica, and Alliaria petiolata. Mortality or partial die-back of Cornus florida resulting from the fungal pathogen dogwood anthracnose (Discula destructiva) and visible damage to herbaceous plants by grazing white-tailed deer have been noted in many stands of the type.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming
Element Description Edition Date: 01Feb2008
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming and K. D. Patterson
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Jan2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): 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
  • Busing, R. F. 1995. Disturbance and population dynamics of Liriodendron tulipifera: Simulations with a spatial model of forest succession. Journal of Ecology 83:4.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • Davis, M. B. 1993. Old growth in the East: A survey. The Cenozoic Society, Richmond, Vermont.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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. M. McCoy. 2004. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-01. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/ncintro.htm]

  • 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. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • 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.

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. Taverna. 2006. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, western region. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2006. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Orwig, D. A., and M. D. Abrams. 1994. Contrasting radical growth and canopy recruitment patterns in Liriodendron tulipifera and Nyssa sylvatica: Gap-obligate versus gap-facultative tree species. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 24:2141-2149.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/125. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Patterson, K. D. 2008b. Vegetation classification and mapping at Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/100. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 173 pp.

  • Perles, S. J., G. S. Podniesinski, W. A. Millinor, and L. A. Sneddon. 2006c. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Park. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2006/058. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Townsend, J. F. 2006. Natural Heritage Resources of Virginia: Rare Plants. Unpublished report. Natural Heritage Technical Report 06-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 58 pp. plus appendices.

  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.


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