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Verbesina alternifolia - Elymus riparius - Solidago gigantea - (Teucrium canadense) Riverbar Wet Meadow
Translated Name: Wingstem - Riverbank Wildrye - Giant Goldenrod - (Canada Germander) Riverbar Wet Meadow
Common Name: Piedmont-Central Appalachian Riverbar Tall Wet Meadow
Unique Identifier: CEGL006480
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This tall herb-dominated association is known from the shores of rivers and large streams in the Piedmont and mountain regions of Maryland and West Virginia, as well as from the Green River of Kentucky. It occupies well-drained riverbanks and, less commonly, depositional bars or alluvial fans of medium-sized to large rivers that experience low rates of sediment erosion and turnover during small to moderate floods. Heavy annual deposits of alluvial sediments inhibit tree establishment. The type typically occurs as a narrow, linear strip along the outer edge of a floodplain forest. Occurrences have high solar exposure, though they may experience partial shading from adjacent (landward) forests. Vegetation is characterized by a dense growth of tall (1-3 m), light-demanding, native perennial herbs. The most characteristic species across the range are Chasmanthium latifolium, Dichanthelium clandestinum, Verbesina alternifolia, Elymus spp. (Elymus riparius, Elymus canadensis, Elymus villosus, Elymus virginicus), Conoclinium coelestinum (= Eupatorium coelestinum), several species of Eupatorium (Eutrochium fistulosum (= Eupatorium fistulosum), Eupatorium perfoliatum, Eupatorium serotinum), Rudbeckia laciniata, Solidago gigantea, Calystegia sepium, and Verbena urticifolia. Along the Potomac in the Great Valley of Virginia downstream to the fall line, Teucrium canadense and Scrophularia marilandica are also abundant; less abundant species include Ageratina altissima, Helianthus decapetalus, Oenothera biennis, Phytolacca americana, and Monarda fistulosa.. Along the New and Bluestone rivers in West Virginia, additional characteristic species include Amphicarpaea bracteata, Apios americana, Helenium autumnale, Helianthus strumosus, Heliopsis helianthoides, Packera aurea, Phlox paniculata, Polygonum scandens, Polygonum virginianum, Senna hebecarpa, Solanum carolinense, Solidago canadensis, Symphyotrichum lanceolatum, Symphyotrichum lateriflorum, Tradescantia ohiensis, Tripsacum dactyloides, Verbesina occidentalis, and Vernonia noveboracensis. Tall annual species characteristically dominant on less stabilized bars may be present but generally do not dominate. Woody vines are often common and include Toxicodendron radicans, Vitis riparia, and Vitis vulpina. Scattered shrubby or occasionally full-sized trees of flood-tolerant species may occur, with Acer saccharinum, Platanus occidentalis, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Betula nigra, and Acer negundo the most frequent. Lindera benzoin may be present as a shrub. This type often has a number of invasive exotic weeds, including Polygonum cuspidatum, Polygonum perfoliatum, Schedonorus arundinaceus (= Festuca arundinacea), Phalaris arundinacea, Humulus japonicus, Glechoma hederacea, Microstegium vimineum, and Stellaria media.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: The classification of this type was based, in part, on analysis of data from 10 plots collected during the National Capital Region Parks project, with an additional 10 plots from the New River Gorge and Bluestone River in West Virginia. Although some plots of this type performed convincingly as a discrete group in the National Capital Region analysis, others could not be separated from a group representing the Central Appalachian silver maple floodplain forest, with which this type frequently co-occurs. These results suggest that this type is weakly distinct floristically, sharing many species with the silver maple forest and varying from it along a gradual cline of (presumed) light exposure and increased stress from flooding near the channel. Because the type also tends to occur in small patches, it might, therefore, be considered an ecotonal expression of the silver maple forest. However, it also has similar classification issues with other floodplain forest and woodland types, and the distinctiveness of its physiognomy and habitat (open canopy which promotes rank growth of herbs adapted to full sunlight), its occurrence adjacent to various floodplain forest associations, as well as floristic similarity of stands across a broad range, and certain conservation issues supports its recognition.

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 Wet Shoreline Vegetation
Group Eastern North American Riverine Wetland Vegetation
Alliance Tall Forb Depositional Bar

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006481 Eupatorium serotinum - Polygonum (lapathifolium, punctatum, pensylvanicum) Riverbar Wet Meadow



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
Kentucky Gravel/cobble bar Broader   Evans et al. 2009
Pennsylvania Floodplain Meadow Intersects   Zimmerman et al. 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Rudbeckia laciniata - Solidago gigantea - Teucrium canadense Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Lea, C. 2000. Plant communities of the Potomac Gorge and their relationship to fluvial factors. M.S. thesis, George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 219 pp.
Related Concept Name: Verbesina alternifolia - Teucrium canadense - Verbena urticifolia - (Rudbeckia laciniata - Solidago gigantea) Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Lea, C. 2003. Vegetation types in the National Capital Region Parks. Draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. March 2003. 140 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES202.609 Central Appalachian Stream and Riparian
CES202.705 South-Central Interior Large Floodplain
CES202.706 South-Central Interior Small Stream and Riparian


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (02Aug2006)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Reasons: More data on the global distribution are needed to determine a conservation rank for this community.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DC, KY, MD, PA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community is known from the shores of rivers and large streams in the Piedmont and mountain regions of Maryland and West Virginia and the Interior Low Plateau in Kentucky. It has been documented by plots or observed on the Potomac, Shenandoah, New, Bluestone, and Monocacy rivers and Antietam Creek (Maryland). Small-stream analogues or variants have been observed on Fifteen Mile Creek (Maryland) and on the South Fork of Quantico Creek (Virginia). Potential habitat for this association is widespread, and the type is likely to have a wider geographic range than current documentation indicates.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 212G Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221E Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Western Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code: 221F Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Interior Low Plateau, Shawnee Hills Section
Section Code: 222D 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: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Allegheny Mountains Section
Section Code: M221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Cumberland Mountains Section
Section Code: M221C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: This association represents vegetation consisting of a dense growth (90% cover) of tall (1-3 m), light-demanding, native perennial herbs. Scattered shrubby or occasionally full-sized trees of flood-tolerant species may occur, with Acer saccharinum, Platanus occidentalis, Betula nigra, Liriodendron tulipifera, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Acer negundo the most frequent. Along the Potomac River in the Great Valley of Virginia downstream to the fall line, the most abundant herbs are Verbesina alternifolia, Teucrium canadense, Elymus riparius, Verbena urticifolia, Conoclinium coelestinum (= Eupatorium coelestinum), several species of Eupatorium (Eutrochium fistulosum (= Eupatorium fistulosum), Eupatorium perfoliatum, Eupatorium serotinum), Dichanthelium clandestinum, Scrophularia marilandica, and Chasmanthium latifolium. Less abundant species include Ageratina altissima, Elymus villosus, Elymus virginicus, Helianthus decapetalus, Oenothera biennis, Phytolacca americana, Monarda fistulosa, Rudbeckia laciniata, Calystegia sepium, and Solidago gigantea. Tall annual species characteristically dominant on less stabilized bars may be present but generally do not dominate. Woody vines are often common and include Toxicodendron radicans, and Vitis riparia. Along the New and Bluestone rivers in West Virginia, herbs with high constancy and/or cover include Amphicarpaea bracteata, Apios americana, Boehmeria cylindrica, Chasmanthium latifolium, Conoclinium coelestinum, Dichanthelium clandestinum, Elymus canadensis, Elymus riparius, Elymus virginicus, Eutrochium fistulosum, Eupatorium serotinum, Helenium autumnale, Helianthus strumosus, Heliopsis helianthoides, Leersia virginica, Packera aurea, Phlox paniculata, Polygonum scandens, Polygonum virginianum, Rudbeckia laciniata, Senna hebecarpa, Solanum carolinense, Solidago canadensis, Solidago gigantea, Symphyotrichum lanceolatum, Symphyotrichum lateriflorum, Tradescantia ohiensis, Tripsacum dactyloides, Verbena urticifolia, Verbesina alternifolia, Verbesina occidentalis, and Vernonia noveboracensis. Vascular plant richness is generally high: in West Virginia plots, values range from 41-80 species per 400 m2, averaging 44.6 (Vanderhorst et al. 2008). This type often has a number of invasive exotic weeds, including Polygonum cuspidatum, Polygonum perfoliatum, Schedonorus arundinaceus (= Festuca arundinacea), Phalaris arundinacea, Humulus japonicus, Glechoma hederacea, Microstegium vimineum, Urtica dioica, and Stellaria media. In some locations, non-native species may out-compete the native herbs in this association and form large monospecific patches in floodplain openings, especially those affected by reservoir backup. On the Potomac River above the Great Valley, on the Monocacy River, and on smaller streams outside the Great Valley, several of the more characteristic species for the Shenandoah River, Antietam Creek, and the rest of the Potomac are apparently rare or absent, particularly Rudbeckia laciniata and Solidago gigantea. These differences may reflect the influence of more calcareous substrates and/or stream order on the communities. Hasteola suaveolens, Sida hermaphrodita, Iresine rhizomatosa, Rumex altissimus, and Ruellia strepens are Maryland rare species known from this type. Some examples at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky also contain Xanthium strumarium, Vernonia gigantea ssp. gigantea (= Vernonia altissima), Echinochloa muricata, Dipsacus fullonum (= Dipsacus sylvestris), and Setaria parviflora, in addition to many of the species recorded at other sites.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Spiraea virginiana GNR Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Eupatorium fistulosum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Eupatorium serotinum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Glechoma hederacea GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Hasteola suaveolens GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Helianthus strumosus GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Heliopsis helianthoides GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Humulus japonicus GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Iresine rhizomatosa GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Packera aurea GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Persicaria perfoliata GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polygonum cuspidatum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Polygonum virginianum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Rudbeckia laciniata GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Ruellia strepens GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Rumex altissimus GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Scrophularia marilandica GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Sida hermaphrodita GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Solanum carolinense GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago canadensis GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Solidago gigantea GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Stellaria media GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Urtica dioica GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Verbena urticifolia GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Verbesina alternifolia GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Vernonia noveboracensis GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Carex emoryi GNR Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Chasmanthium latifolium GNR Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Dichanthelium clandestinum GNR Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Elymus canadensis GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus riparius GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Elymus virginicus GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Leersia virginica GNR Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Lolium arundinaceum GNR Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Microstegium vimineum GNR Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Phalaris arundinacea GNR Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Sida hermaphrodita
  (Virginia Mallow)
G3  
Spiraea virginiana
  (Virginia Spiraea)
G2 LT: Listed threatened


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This community occupies well-drained riverbanks and, less commonly, depositional bars of medium-sized to large rivers that experience low rates of sediment erosion and turnover during small to moderate floods. The type typically occurs as a narrow, linear strip along the outer edge of a floodplain forest, where heavy annual deposits of alluvial sediments inhibit tree establishment. Along the Potomac River in the Potomac River Gorge west of Washington, DC, habitats are inundated for 1-4% of the full year and are generally exposed for nearly all of the growing season in most years (Lea 2000). Hydrologic regime is best described as temporarily flooded. Substrates in the Potomac River Gorge are sandy loams or loamy sands (Lea 2000). Samples collected from 10 plots in the Potomac drainage had 100% total base saturation, high pH, and very high calcium levels. Along the New and Bluestone rivers, West Virginia, patches typically occur along slow, straight reaches of river with high banks, as well as on eroded alluvial fans at the mouths of small drainages. Soils are deep alluvial sands with little horizon development. Soils in seven plots along the Bluestone River are described as temporarily flooded, deep, moderately well-drained to well-drained, stone-free or slightly stony sand and loamy sand. They tested medium to slightly acidic (mean pH = 5.8) with relatively high levels of Ca, Cu, Mg, Mn, and Zn, and relatively low levels of organic matter, estimated N release, S, Al, B, Fe, K, Na, and P compared to average values in the area. Elevations range from near sea level on the Potomac River to 506 m on the Bluestone River.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: During years of more continuous high water during the growing season, vegetation may be sparse. Comparison of the frequency of this type at New River Gorge and nearby Bluestone National Scenic River noted that "the rate and extent of sedimentation has been greatly increased by flooding of Bluestone Lake, probably increasing the extent of this association. It can also occur as successional vegetation on floodplains previously cleared for agriculture" (Vanderhorst et al. 2008).


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Lea (2000)
Element Description Edition Date: 02Jan2013
Element Description Author(s): C. Lea, G.P. Fleming, S.C. Gawler
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 19Dec2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): S.C. Gawler

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


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

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • 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.

  • Lea, C. 2000. Plant communities of the Potomac Gorge and their relationship to fluvial factors. M.S. thesis, George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 219 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2003. Vegetation types in the National Capital Region Parks. Draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. March 2003. 140 pp.

  • Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.

  • Pyne, M., E. Lunsford Jones, and R. White. 2010. Vascular plant inventory and plant community classification for Mammoth Cave National Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 334 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2008. Vegetation classification and mapping of Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/106. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Vanderhorst, J. P., J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Vegetation classification and mapping of New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2007/092. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 396 pp.

  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date. Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.

  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011q. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Floodplain Meadow Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=30020] (accessed February 13, 2012)

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]

  • Zimmerman, E., and G. Podniesinski. 2008. Classification, assessment and protection of floodplain wetlands of the Ohio Drainage. U.S. EPA Wetlands Protection State Development Grant no. CD-973081-01-0. Report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Office of Conservation Science. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pittsburgh, PA.


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