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Taxodium distichum - Nyssa biflora - Fraxinus profunda / Peltandra virginica - (Bignonia capreolata) Tidal Forest
Translated Name: Bald-cypress - Swamp Tupelo - Pumpkin Ash / Green Arrow-arum - (Crossvine) Tidal Forest
Common Name: Chesapeake Bay Tidal Bald-cypress - Swamp Tupelo Swamp Forest
Unique Identifier: CEGL006850
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This tidal forest borders mid to upper portions of the Pocomoke River in Maryland, and the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Piankatank rivers in Virginia. Habitats are predominately freshwater (<0.5 ppt) and subject to periodic inundation by diurnal or irregular lunar tides. Stands are typically positioned on low floodplains forming a corridor between fringing tidal marshes and upland habitats. These tidal forests are structurally diverse and best characterized by moderately dense (60-80% cover) to dense (80-100% cover) overstory canopies composed of Taxodium distichum and Nyssa biflora. Taxodium distichum is strongly diagnostic of this type, frequently attaining high cover and constancy. The canopy may also include, in variable proportions, species such as Fraxinus profunda, Acer rubrum, and occasional individuals of Liquidambar styraciflua, Pinus taeda, and Chamaecyparis thyoides. Magnolia virginiana and Carpinus caroliniana are frequent in the understory as trees or tall shrubs. Shrub and herb diversity is exceptionally high within this community and similar in composition and structure to Fraxinus spp.-dominated tidal wetland types.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Classification of this type is supported by analysis of an 80-plot dataset of tidal forests in Maryland in which stands characterized by Taxodium distichum emerged as distinct. Mean species richness among plots assigned to this type (N=9 plots) is 46 taxa per 400 square meters. Calculated relative basal area of characteristic species are Nyssa biflora (37.7 m2/ha), Taxodium distichum (21.7% m2/ha), Fraxinus profunda (21.2% m2/ha), and Acer rubrum (11.4% m2/ha). Although low in cover and occurring in >50% of Taxodium distichum stands sampled, Bignonia capreolata was chosen as nominal based on high fidelity to this type. In Maryland, Bignonia capreolata has a limited distribution and is only known from the Pocomoke River drainage where it occurs in swamp habitats dominated by Taxodium distichum. Plot data from the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Piankatank (Dragon Swamp) rivers in Virginia closely align with data from Maryland and are nearly identical in species composition and landscape position.

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 Bald-cypress - Tupelo Floodplain Forest
Alliance Southern Bald-cypress - Swamp Blackgum Tidal Swamp Forest

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004231 Taxodium distichum / Typha angustifolia Tidal Woodland
CEGL004654 Taxodium distichum / Carex hyalinolepis Tidal Woodland
CEGL006214 Taxodium distichum - Nyssa (biflora, sylvatica) / Clethra alnifolia / Boehmeria cylindrica Floodplain Forest
CEGL006287 Fraxinus profunda - Nyssa biflora - (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) / Ilex verticillata / Polygonum arifolium Tidal 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
Maryland Tidal Bald Cypress Forest and Woodland Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Taxodium distichum - Nyssa biflora 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: Taxodium distichum Forest
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES203.240 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Tidal Wooded Swamp
CES203.282 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Tidal Swamp


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3 (10Nov2011)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This association is limited in distribution and known from the Pocomoke River in Maryland and the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Piankatank rivers in Virginia.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: MD, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland and Virginia.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: These structurally diverse tidal forests are best characterized by moderately dense (60-80% cover) to dense (80-100% cover) overstory canopies composed of Taxodium distichum and Nyssa biflora. Taxodium distichum is strongly diagnostic of this type, frequently attaining high cover and constancy. The canopy may also include, in variable proportions, species such as Fraxinus profunda (10-25%), Acer rubrum (10-25%), and occasional individuals of Liquidambar styraciflua, Pinus taeda, and Chamaecyparis thyoides. Magnolia virginiana and Carpinus caroliniana are frequent in the understory as trees or tall shrubs. Shrub diversity is exceptionally high within this community and similar in composition and structure to Fraxinus spp.-dominated tidal wetland types. The most constant species in the shrub stratum include Ilex verticillata, Ilex opaca, Clethra alnifolia, Rhododendron viscosum, and Vaccinium corymbosum. Other notable taxa within this stratum include Viburnum recognitum, Rosa palustris, Leucothoe racemosa, Carpinus caroliniana, Lindera benzoin, and Euonymus americanus. Lianas and herbaceous vines are also common and can be locally abundant within multiple strata, especially along forested edges and in light gaps caused by windthrow or other disturbances. The most consistent taxa include Toxicodendron radicans, Smilax rotundifolia, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, and Dioscorea villosa, while other less frequent taxa include Apios americana, Mikania scandens, Bignonia capreolata, Campsis radicans, Smilax laurifolia, Smilax walteri, Clematis virginiana, and Vitis labrusca. Non-native vine species such as Lonicera japonica and Clematis terniflora were reported from many stands and tend to abound in light gaps and on stand edges bordering the water's edge. An exceptionally diverse herb layer is characteristic of this type and can be attributed to several factors, including hummock-and-hollow microtopography, species recruitment from adjacent habitats, and tidal frequency and duration. Regularly flooded hollows typically support flood-tolerant swamp species such as Impatiens capensis, Peltandra virginica, Polygonum arifolium, Iris versicolor, and Saururus cernuus. Hummocks, which are slightly elevated above normal high tides, provide habitat for less flood-tolerant species such as Arisaema triphyllum, Thalictrum pubescens (= Thalictrum polygamum), Viola cucullata, Cinna arundinacea, Cicuta maculata, Boehmeria cylindrica, Carex seorsa, Carex bromoides, Carex stricta, and ferns such as Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Osmunda cinnamomea, Woodwardia areolata, and Thelypteris palustris.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Fraxinus profunda G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Nyssa biflora G3 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Taxodium distichum G3 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Clematis terniflora G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Lonicera japonica G3 Liana Shrub/sapling (tall & short)      
 
 
Peltandra virginica G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: These tidal forests border mid to upper portions of the Pocomoke River in Maryland, and the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Piankatank rivers in Virginia. Habitats are predominately freshwater (<0.5 ppt) and subject to periodic inundation by diurnal or irregular lunar tides. Stands are best developed on low floodplains forming a corridor between open tidal marshes and nontidal habitats further inland. On the Pocomoke River, this community primarily forms a large (>40 ha) continuous fringing stand. Smaller stands typically form physiognomically distinct pockets and points along tributaries. Microtopographic features include pronounced hummocks and hollows with numerous protruding cypress knees. Hollows are regularly inundated by tidal water, whereas hummocks are less frequently flooded, thus supporting the establishment of trees and mesophytic herbs. Soils are poorly drained, slightly acidic tidal muck consisting of variable amounts of silt, clay and fine sands mixed with root-rich peats.


Dynamic Processes


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): J.W. Harrison (MDNHP)
Element Description Edition Date: 02Dec2011
Element Description Author(s): J.W. Harrison
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Dec2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): J.W. Harrison

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


References
  • Beaven, G. F., and H. J. Oosting. 1939. Pocomoke Swamp: A study of a cypress swamp on the eastern shore of Maryland. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 66:367-389.

  • Clancy, K. 1996. Natural communities of Delaware. Unpublished review draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Smyrna, DE. 52 pp.

  • Dennis, J. V. 1986. The bald cypress in the Chesapeake Bay region. Atlantic Naturalist 36:5-9.

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

  • 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. 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.

  • 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.

  • McAvoy, W., and K. Clancy. 1993. Characterization of Category I non-tidal wetland communities in Delaware: Bald cypress Taxodium distichum (L.) Richard and Atlantic white cedar Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) BSP. Delaware Natural Heritage Inventory, Division of Parks and Recreation, Dover.


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