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Eupatorium serotinum - Polygonum (lapathifolium, punctatum, pensylvanicum) Riverbar Wet Meadow
Translated Name: Late-flowering Thoroughwort - (Curlytop Knotweed, Dotted Smartweed, Pennsylvania Smartweed) Riverbar Wet Meadow
Common Name: Piedmont-Central Appalachian Scour Bar Wet Meadow
Unique Identifier: CEGL006481
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This association is known only from the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the Piedmont and mountain provinces of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Well-documented occurrences are concentrated in high-gradient reaches, particularly near the fall-line (Potomac Gorge) and Bull Falls at Harpers Ferry. The type occurs on sandy riverbanks and depositional bars, as well as in sand deposits on bedrock floodplains and boulder bars. These habitats experience high rates of sediment erosion and turnover during even moderate floods and are inundated for 3-12% of the year, but are generally exposed for most of the growing season. Vegetation may be sparse during years of more continuous high water during the growing season. In normal growing seasons, the type is a dense growth of tall (1-2 m), predominantly annual herbs. Some weedy, fast-growing perennials are also characteristic. Artemisia annua, Amaranthus spinosus, Datura stramonium, Eupatorium serotinum, Polygonum lapathifolium, Polygonum pensylvanicum, Polygonum punctatum, and Verbena urticifolia are relatively constant and generally contribute most of the cover. Additional, less constant or abundant species include Dysphania ambrosioides, Conoclinium coelestinum, Hibiscus laevis, Mollugo verticillata, Perilla frutescens, Polygonum cespitosum var. longisetum, Solanum carolinense, Solanum ptycanthum, Teucrium canadense, Urtica dioica ssp. dioica, Verbena hastata, and Verbesina alternifolia. Herbaceous vines may also be numerous, with Calystegia sepium, Cynanchum laeve, and Cuscuta gronovii most frequent. Scattered individuals of shrubby to full-sized flood-tolerant trees (e.g., Platanus occidentalis, Acer saccharinum) may be present.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: Classification is supported by analysis of data from 19 plots sampled throughout the known range. Currently, the type is classified as natural that, like most floodplain communities in the Mid-Atlantic region, has been altered to a considerable degree by post-settlement disturbances. However, approximately 30% of this community's characteristic species are weedy exotics, and further study is needed to determine whether this vegetation should be considered a natural or modified type.

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
CEGL006480 Verbesina alternifolia - Elymus riparius - Solidago gigantea - (Teucrium canadense) 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
West Virginia Conoclinum coelestinum - Acalypha gracilens - Polygonum lapathifolium Herbaceous Rivershore Equivalent Certain WVNHP unpubl. data


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Conoclinum coelestinum - Acalypha gracilens - Polygonum lapathifolium Herbaceous Rivershore [Shenandoah Bedrock Scour Bar Herbaceous Vegetation]
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Vanderhorst, J. 2017b. Wild vegetation of West Virginia: Riverscour prairies. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. [http://wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/Factsheets/Riverscour.shtm]
Related Concept Name: Datura stramonium - Eupatorium serotinum - Polygonum (punctatum, lapathifolium, pensylvanicum) 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.
Related Concept Name: Eupatorium serotinum - Cynanchum laeve - Polygonum (pensylvanicum, punctatum, lapathifolium) Herbaceous Vegetation
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.
Related Concept Name: Eupatorium serotinum - Polygonum (lapathifolium, punctatum, pensylvanicum) Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P. 2007. Ecological communities of the Potomac Gorge in Virginia: Composition, floristics, and environmental dynamics. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-12. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 341 pp. plus appendices.
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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.
Related Concept Name: Polygonum (punctatum, lapathifolium, pensylvanicum) - Verbena urticifolia / Ampelamus albidus 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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES202.324 Southern Piedmont Large Floodplain Forest
CES202.608 Central Appalachian River Floodplain
CES202.609 Central Appalachian Stream and Riparian


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (01Jun2007)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Reasons: More data on the global range and dynamics are needed to rank this community.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: DC, MD, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association is known only from the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the Piedmont and mountain provinces of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Well-documented occurrences are concentrated in high-gradient reaches, particularly near the fall-line (Potomac Gorge) and Bull Falls at Harpers Ferry.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
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: Vegetation may be sparse during years of more continuous high water during the growing season. In normal growing seasons, the type is a dense growth of tall (1-2 m) predominantly annual herbs. Some weedy, fast-growing perennials are also characteristic. These include Amaranthus spinosus, Artemisia annua, Datura stramonium, Eupatorium serotinum, Polygonum lapathifolium, Polygonum pensylvanicum, Polygonum punctatum, Teucrium canadense, Verbesina alternifolia, and Verbena urticifolia, which are relatively constant and generally contribute most of the cover. Additional, less constant or abundant species include Dysphania ambrosioides (= Chenopodium ambrosioides), Conoclinium coelestinum (= Eupatorium coelestinum), Hibiscus laevis, Mollugo verticillata, Perilla frutescens, Polygonum cespitosum var. longisetum, Solanum carolinense, Solanum ptycanthum, Teucrium canadense, Urtica dioica ssp. dioica, Verbena hastata, and Verbesina alternifolia. Herbaceous vines may also be numerous, with Calystegia sepium, Cynanchum laeve, and Cuscuta gronovii most frequent. Scattered individuals of shrubby to full-sized flood-tolerant trees (e.g., Platanus occidentalis, Acer saccharinum) may be present.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Amaranthus spinosus GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Artemisia annua GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Datura stramonium GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Eupatorium serotinum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Polygonum lapathifolium GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Polygonum pensylvanicum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Polygonum punctatum GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Verbena urticifolia GNR Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: The type occurs on sandy riverbanks and depositional bars, as well as in sand deposits on bedrock floodplains and boulder bars. These habitats experience high rates of sediment erosion and turnover during even moderate floods and are inundated for 3-12% of the year (Lea 2000), but are generally exposed for most of the growing season.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: In habitats occupied by this community, sediment deposition is apparently frequent enough and sediment turnover extensive enough during even relatively small floods that most established perennial species are quickly buried or scoured away. These conditions favor the prevalence of annual herbs and rapidly growing perennials, both of which probably produce extensive seedbanks. It is uncertain whether this association is fully natural, as approximately 30% of its characteristic species are not indigenous to the region. While it is likely that this vegetation has been altered in both composition and distribution by anthropogenic watershed changes increasing the frequency and level of floods on the Potomac (favoring annual species and exotics), it also seems reasonable to presume that some similar form of low, frequently flooded depositional bar originally occurred along higher gradient stretches of the very powerful Potomac River. For now, the type is classified as a natural type that, like most floodplain communities, has been altered to a considerable degree by post-settlement disturbances. Multi-year research would be needed to elucidate competitive dynamics of this community type and to fully evaluate its conservation value.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): C. Lea (2000)
Element Description Edition Date: 20Dec2018
Element Description Author(s): C. Lea and 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
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Fleming, G. P. 2007. Ecological communities of the Potomac Gorge in Virginia: Composition, floristics, and environmental dynamics. Natural Heritage Technical Report 07-12. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 341 pp. plus appendices.

  • Fleming, G. P., K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2017. The natural communities of Virginia: A classification of ecological community groups and community types. Third approximation. Version 3.0. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/natural-communities/]

  • 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. 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. 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.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 2017b. Wild vegetation of West Virginia: Riverscour prairies. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. [http://wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/Factsheets/Riverscour.shtm]

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

  • 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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