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Quercus phellos - Quercus (palustris, lyrata) / Ilex decidua / Carex typhina Floodplain Forest
Translated Name: Willow Oak - (Pin Oak, Overcup Oak) / Possum-haw / Cattail Sedge Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Piedmont Oak Floodplain Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006498
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This swamp forest ranges from the Piedmont and adjacent inner Coastal Plain of central Virginia south through the Piedmont into north-central North Carolina. It occupies somewhat poorly drained to very poorly drained floodplains of large streams and small rivers. Typical habitats include shallow sloughs, low flat terraces, and backswamps. Hydrologic regime can be somewhat ambiguous, but is probably best characterized as seasonally flooded. Flooding is typically fairly shallow (<30 cm). Soils examined at plots had silt and silty-clay loam horizons grading to sticky clay, white- or orange-mottled subsoils. Samples were uniformly strongly acidic, but some had moderately high calcium, magnesium, and base saturation levels. Relatively undisturbed stands have a strong oak component, with Quercus phellos (most constant), Quercus palustris, Quercus lyrata, and Quercus michauxii sharing dominance in variable combinations. Quercus pagoda and Quercus bicolor also occur but are infrequent and local. Fraxinus pennsylvanica and Liquidambar styraciflua are constant, sometimes codominant overstory associates. Ilex decidua is the most constant shrub dominant, with Carpinus caroliniana and Viburnum prunifolium codominant in some areas. The herb layer is usually dense and characterized by patch-dominance of sedges and other graminoids, including Carex typhina, Carex grayi, Carex tribuloides, Carex radiata, Carex intumescens, Leersia virginica, Poa autumnalis, Glyceria striata, and Cinna arundinacea. Characteristic forbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Impatiens capensis, Lysimachia ciliata, Lycopus virginicus, Commelina virginica, and Saururus cernuus. Spring ephemerals such as Cardamine bulbosa, Cardamine douglassii, and Claytonia virginica are sometimes abundant on hummocks and other better drained microhabitats. Invasive weeds, especially Lysimachia nummularia, are often problematic in this community type.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: This association has been plot-sampled and classified repeatedly by VDNH. The current classification is based on analysis of a 1250-plot regional dataset assembled for the NCR and Mid-Atlantic national parks vegetation mapping projects. This type was represented by 20 plots from the southern Piedmont and immediately adjacent Coastal Plain of Virginia. Additional information supplied by Mike Schafale indicates that this association is also present in north-central North Carolina.

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 Oak - Sweetgum Floodplain Forest
Alliance Piedmont Willow Oak Floodplain Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL006497 Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Carex tribuloides - Carex radiata - (Carex squarrosa) Wet Forest
CEGL006605 Quercus (phellos, palustris, michauxii) - Liquidambar styraciflua / Cinna arundinacea Floodplain Forest
CEGL007356 Quercus pagoda - Quercus phellos - Quercus lyrata - Quercus michauxii / Chasmanthium latifolium 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 Piedmont Bottomland Forest (Northern Low Subtype) Equivalent Certain Schafale 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Quercus phellos - Quercus (palustris, lyrata) / Ilex decidua / Carex typhina 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: Ulmus americana / Ilex decidua / Carex (tribuloides, intumescens, typhina) Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Ulmus americana / Ranunculus caroliniana Forest
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Coastal Plain / Piedmont Swamp Forest
Relationship: B - Broader
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]

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.323 Southern Piedmont Small Floodplain and Riparian Forest
CES202.324 Southern Piedmont Large Floodplain Forest


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3? (31May2007)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association has a limited geographic range in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. Within that area, it is not rare but occurs in isolated, small or linear patches that are subject to multiple disturbances, including logging, hydrologic modification, and invasive exotics. This bottomland type is especially vulnerable to timber harvests because of its large component of valuable oaks.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: NC, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: The type ranges from the Piedmont and adjacent inner Coastal Plain of central Virginia south through the Piedmont into north-central North Carolina.

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
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Relatively undisturbed stands have a strong oak component, with Quercus phellos (most constant), Quercus palustris, Quercus lyrata, and Quercus michauxii sharing dominance in variable combinations. Quercus pagoda and Quercus bicolor also occur but are infrequent and local. Fraxinus pennsylvanica and Liquidambar styraciflua are constant, sometimes codominant overstory associates. Other overstory and understory trees include Ulmus americana, Acer rubrum, Carya ovata, Ulmus alata, Celtis occidentalis, and Betula nigra. Ilex decidua is the most constant shrub dominant, with Carpinus caroliniana and Viburnum prunifolium codominant in some areas. Climbing and scrambling lianas of Toxicodendron radicans, Smilax rotundifolia, and Campsis radicans are also common. The herb layer is usually dense and characterized by patch-dominance of sedges and other graminoids, including Carex typhina, Carex grayi, Carex tribuloides, Carex radiata, Carex intumescens, Leersia virginica, Poa autumnalis, Glyceria striata, and Cinna arundinacea. Characteristic forbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Impatiens capensis, Lysimachia ciliata, Lycopus virginicus, Commelina virginica, and Saururus cernuus. Spring ephemerals such as Cardamine bulbosa, Cardamine douglassii, and Claytonia virginica are sometimes abundant on hummocks and other better drained microhabitats. The invasive exotic Lysimachia nummularia is often abundant and problematic in this community type.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Quercus lyrata G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus michauxii G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus palustris G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Quercus phellos G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Lysimachia nummularia G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex grayi G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex typhina G3 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in somewhat poorly drained to very poorly drained floodplains of large streams and small rivers. Typical habitats include shallow sloughs, low flat terraces, and backswamps. Hydrologic regime can be somewhat ambiguous, but is probably best characterized as seasonally flooded. Standing water is usually present, at least in discrete sloughs or pools, well into the growing season. However, sites usually have some microtopographic heterogeneity that includes better drained hummocks that are rarely inundated. Flooding is typically fairly shallow (<30 cm). Soils examined at plots had silt and silty-clay loam horizons grading to sticky clay, white- or orange-mottled subsoils. Samples were uniformly strongly acidic, but some had moderately high calcium, magnesium, and base saturation levels.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Disturbed stands have a smaller component of oaks and increased importance of Liquidambar styraciflua, Acer rubrum, and Betula nigra.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming (2002b)
Element Description Edition Date: 31May2007
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 31May2007
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
  • 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, 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.

  • 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.

  • Walton, D. P., P. P. Coulling, J. Weber, A. Belden, Jr., and A. C. Chazal. 2001. A plant community classification and natural heritage inventory of the Pamunkey River floodplain. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-19. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 200 pp. plus appendices.


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