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(Cephalanthus occidentalis) / Dulichium arundinaceum - (Polygonum hydropiperoides, Glyceria acutiflora, Proserpinaca palustris) Marsh
Translated Name: (Common Buttonbush) / Threeway Sedge - (Swamp Smartweed, Creeping Mannagrass, Marsh Mermaidweed) Marsh
Common Name: Central Appalachian Montane Depression Pond (Threeway Sedge - Buttonbush Type)
Unique Identifier: CEGL003746
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs in mostly seasonally flooded (rarely semipermanently flooded) depression ponds in the Central Appalachian, Ridge and Valley, and Northern Blue Ridge provinces. Habitats are thought to have formed by solution or collapse of underlying bedrock strata. Occurrences range from 470 m (1540 feet) to over 900 m (3000 feet) elevation. Topographic position varies from ridge crests to mountain-foot alluvial. Ridge and Valley ponds developed on sideslope benches resulting from landsliding and catastrophic slope failure are often referred to as "sag ponds." Ponds developed by solution and collapse of carbonate rocks underlying acidic alluvial and colluvial materials eroded from the Blue Ridge and deposited along the eastern edge of the Great Valley of Virginia in massive alluvial fans are often referred to as "Shenandoah Valley sinkhole ponds." These topographically variable wetlands range from seasonally to semipermanently flooded, with water levels maintained by continually perched groundwater or seepage inputs. Overall hydrologic regime is best characterized as seasonally flooded, but two or three of the ponds are almost always flooded year-round. Substrates are generally organic, and the surficial peat in which emergent plants are rooted is extremely acidic. Vegetation varies from entirely herbaceous to a fairly dense shrubland dominated by Cephalanthus occidentalis. Many of the ponds are primarily herbaceous but have outer zones, discrete patches, or islands of shrubs within them. Where present, Cephalanthus occurs in variable abundance, often being limited to marginal zones or specific areas of the pond. In the typical, seasonally flooded ponds, the herb layer is typically dense and dominated by Dulichium arundinaceum. The most frequent and characteristic herbaceous associates are Glyceria acutiflora, Polygonum hydropiperoides, and Proserpinaca palustris. Some ponds have a deep center that is dominated by a zone of Nuphar advena (= Nuphar lutea ssp. advena). Several other forbs and graminoids, including Bidens discoidea, Carex canescens ssp. disjuncta, Carex lasiocarpa var. americana, Carex lupulina, Carex stricta, Carex vesicaria, Glyceria septentrionalis, Glyceria canadensis, Glyceria obtusa, Scirpus ancistrochaetus, Schoenoplectus torreyi (= Scirpus torreyi), Triadenum virginicum, Triadenum fraseri, and Utricularia spp. are inconstant but locally patch-dominant. Semipermanently flooded ponds tend to be floristically depauperate and contain a high proportion of floating or submersed aquatic species, including Torreyochloa pallida, Eleocharis palustris (= Eleocharis smallii), Glyceria acutiflora, Potamogeton spp., Proserpinaca palustris, and Utricularia spp.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: This type was based on quantitative analysis of all montane depression wetlands in Virginia (Fleming and Patterson 2009b). Excellent examples occur in the Maple Flats pond complex in the Shenandoah Valley (Augusta County, Virginia), and the type also appears to be the major type of ridge crest pond in the Ridge and Valley province (Fleming 1998). Other examples include Browns Pond (Warm Springs District, George Washington National Forest), Potts Mountain Pond (New River Ranger District, Jefferson National Forest), and Peters Mountain Pond (James River District, George Washington National Forest).

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 Marsh, Wet Meadow & Shrubland
Group Central Interior-Appalachian Open Depression Pond
Alliance Southern Interior Threeway Sedge Depression Pond Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004075 Cephalanthus occidentalis - (Leucothoe racemosa) / Carex joorii Shrub Swamp
CEGL004134 Scirpus cyperinus - Dulichium arundinaceum / Sphagnum spp. Marsh
CEGL006242 Cephalanthus occidentalis / Polygonum hydropiperoides - Panicum verrucosum Shrub Swamp
CEGL008542 Carex aquatilis - Dulichium arundinaceum Marsh



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
Pennsylvania Rice Cutgrass - Bulrush Marsh Broader   Zimmerman et al. 2012


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: (Cephalanthus occidentalis) / Dulichium arundinaceum - (Polygonum hydropiperoides, Glyceria acutiflora, Proserpinaca palustris) Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2009b. Classification of selected Virginia montane wetland groups. In-house analysis, December 2009. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Dulichium arundinaceum Shrubland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Polygonum hydropiperoides - Glyceria acutiflora - Proserpinaca palustris Shrubland
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Proserpinaca palustris - Polygonum hydropiperoides community
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and N. E. Van Alstine. 1999. Plant communities and floristic features of sinkhole ponds and seepage wetlands in southeastern Augusta County, Virginia. Banisteria 13:67-94.
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Torreyochloa pallida Shrubland [Provisional]
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.
Related Concept Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis / Torreyochloa pallida community
Relationship: F - Finer
Reference: Fleming, G. P., and N. E. Van Alstine. 1999. Plant communities and floristic features of sinkhole ponds and seepage wetlands in southeastern Augusta County, Virginia. Banisteria 13:67-94.
Related Concept Name: Montane Depression Wetland
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G1 (18Feb2010)
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This community type is known from less than 20 sites which collectively cover less than 20 hectares (50 acres). Although additional occurrences are possible, they would not substantially increase the very small aggregate area of the type. These very small-patch wetlands are threatened by hydrologic disturbances and timber harvests.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: PApotentially occurs, VA, WV
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This community type is known from a small number of natural mountain ponds in western Virginia, mostly in the Ridge and Valley province. It may also occur in southern Pennsylvania.

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: 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: Blue Ridge Mountains Section
Section Code: M221D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Vegetation varies from entirely herbaceous to a fairly dense shrubland dominated by Cephalanthus occidentalis. Many of the ponds are primarily herbaceous but have outer zones, discrete patches, or islands of shrubs within them. Cephalanthus occurs in variable abundance, often being limited to marginal zones or specific areas of the pond. Other woody species occurring infrequently are Ilex verticillata, Decodon verticillatus, and Photinia pyrifolia (= Photinia arbutifolia). In the typical, seasonally flooded ponds, the herb layer is typically dense and dominated by Dulichium arundinaceum. The most frequent and characteristic herbaceous associates are Glyceria acutiflora, Polygonum hydropiperoides, and Proserpinaca palustris. Some ponds have a deep center that is dominated by a zone of Nuphar advena (= Nuphar lutea ssp. advena). Several other forbs and graminoids, including Bidens discoidea, Carex canescens ssp. disjuncta, Carex lasiocarpa var. americana, Carex lupulina, Carex stricta, Carex vesicaria, Glyceria septentrionalis, Glyceria canadensis, Glyceria obtusa, Scirpus ancistrochaetus, Schoenoplectus torreyi (= Scirpus torreyi), Triadenum virginicum, Triadenum fraseri, and Utricularia spp., are inconstant but locally patch-dominant. Additional low-cover herbaceous associations include Juncus canadensis, Leersia oryzoides, Potamogeton spp., Eleocharis acicularis, Panicum verrucosum, Boehmeria cylindrica, Ludwigia palustris, and many others. Semipermanently flooded ponds tend to be floristically depauperate and contain a high proportion of floating or submersed aquatic species, including Torreyochloa pallida, Eleocharis palustris (= Eleocharis smallii), Glyceria acutiflora, Potamogeton spp., Proserpinaca palustris, and Utricularia spp. Species richness of 14 plot-sampled stands ranges from 7 to 17 taxa per 100 m2 (mean = 11).

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Cephalanthus occidentalis G1 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Vaccinium macrocarpon G1 Dwarf-shrub Herb (field)      
 
 
Cuscuta polygonorum G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Persicaria hydropiperoides G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Proserpinaca palustris G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)  
 
 
Carex vesicaria G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Dulichium arundinaceum G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Eleocharis melanocarpa G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Eleocharis robbinsii G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Glyceria acutiflora G1 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Schoenoplectus torreyi G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 
Scirpus ancistrochaetus G1 Graminoid Herb (field)      
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Scirpus ancistrochaetus
  (Northeastern Bulrush)
G3 LE: Listed endangered


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: Habitats are depression ponds thought to have formed by solution or collapse of underlying bedrock strata. Occurrences range from 470 m (1540 feet) to over 900 m (3000 feet) elevation. Topographic position varies from ridge crests to mountain-foot alluvial fans (Fleming and Van Alstine 1999). Ridge and Valley ponds developed on sideslope benches resulting from landsliding and catastrophic slope failure are often referred to as "sag ponds" (Frampton 1995, Harbor 1996). Ponds developed by solution and collapse of carbonate rocks underlying acidic alluvial and colluvial materials eroded from the Blue Ridge and deposited along the eastern edge of the Great Valley of Virginia in massive alluvial fans are often referred to as "Shenandoah Valley sinkhole ponds." These topographically variable wetlands range from seasonally to semipermanently flooded, with water levels maintained by continually perched groundwater or seepage inputs. Overall hydrologic regime is best characterized as seasonally flooded, but two or three of the ponds are almost always flooded year-round. Substrates are generally organic, and the surficial peat in which emergent plants are rooted is extremely acidic. C-14 dating of material extracted from a semipermanently flooded, peat-filled depression on the southeastern flank of Peters Mountain (Alleghany County) indicated a late Pleistocene origin for this wetland (Frampton 1995).


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): G. Fleming and K. Patterson (2009b)
Element Description Edition Date: 17Feb2012
Element Description Author(s): G.P. Fleming
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 18Feb2010
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
  • Buhlmann, K. A., J. C. Mitchell, and L. R. Smith. 1999. Descriptive ecology of the Shenandoah Valley sinkhole pond system in Virginia. Banisteria 13:23-51.

  • Fleming, G. P. 1998. Virginia natural community framework, version January 30, 1998. Unpublished document. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 6 pp.

  • 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., and K. D. Patterson. 2009b. Classification of selected Virginia montane wetland groups. In-house analysis, December 2009. 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 N. E. Van Alstine. 1999. Plant communities and floristic features of sinkhole ponds and seepage wetlands in southeastern Augusta County, Virginia. Banisteria 13:67-94.

  • Fleming, G. P., and P. P. Coulling. 2001. Ecological communities of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Preliminary classification and description of vegetation types. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 317 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., and W. H. Moorhead, III. 2000. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Peter's Mountain area, James River Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 00-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. Unpublished report submitted to the USDA Forest Service. 195 pp. plus appendices.

  • Frampton, J .B. 1995. Quaternary mass movements in Alleghany, Rockbridge, and Botetourt counties, Virginia. Unpublished senior research thesis, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA.

  • Harbor, D. J. 1996. Classification and mapping of geomorphology in the Peters Mountain, Laurel Fork, and Upper Piney River areas, George Washington National Forest. Unpublished report to the USDA Forest Service. Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA. 25 pp.

  • Rawinski, T. J. 1997. Vegetation ecology of the Grafton Ponds, York County, Virginia, with notes on waterfowl use. Natural Heritage Technical Report 97-10. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 42 pp. plus appendix.

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

  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011y. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Rice Cutgrass - Bulrush Marsh Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=30028] (accessed February 14, 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]


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