Common (Translated Scientific) Name: White Oak - Blackgum Wet Forest
Colloquial Name: White Oak - Blackgum Wet Forest
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This type includes forests in Virginia and Kentucky. These are seasonally flooded shallow depressions dominated by Quercus alba and Nyssa sylvatica. The documented Virginia site is located near Frozen Knob on Peters Mountain, Alleghany County, in the Ridge and Valley province. More information is needed.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Classification of this association is supported by only two plots from the Peters Mountain, Virginia, stand (Fleming and Coulling 2001). The group, however, has proven distinct from other montane depression wetlands in in-house quantitative analyses by Virginia Division of Natural Heritage. This vegetation type is an enigmatic unit that requires further inventory and research. Similar environments have been documented from sinkhole ponds developed on deep alluvial fans along the foot of the Blue Ridge in Rockingham and Augusta counties, Virginia (Fleming and Van Alstine 1999), but the vegetation of the Peters Mountain wetland is unique in the experience of Virginia ecologists.
Similar NVC Types:
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: Physiognomic characterization of this association is problematic. The wetland grades from an open herbaceous center through a Quercus alba-dominated woodland to surrounding mixed oak and oak-hickory forest. The overall or "average" expression is a woodland. Individuals of Quercus alba up to 81 cm (32 inches) dbh and 204 years old overwhelmingly dominate the stand. Acer rubrum is a constant but minor canopy and subcanopy associate. Malus coronaria and Nyssa sylvatica comprise most of the very open understory and shrub layers. The herbaceous flora is relatively homogeneous throughout the wetland, although total herb cover drops from 25-40% in the open center to <5% in the canopied portion. The most characteristic herbaceous species are Agrostis perennans, Carex annectens, Dichanthelium villosissimum, Hypoxis hirsuta, Lysimachia lanceolata, Oxalis grandis, Polygonum hydropiperoides, Smilax glauca, and Viola hirsutula.
Dynamics: Heavy grazing, presumably by deer and/or turkey, was noted on both woody seedlings and herbaceous plants at the Peters Mountain site.
Environmental Description: At the Peters Mountain site, a sag in the underlying bedrock, probably related to ancient catastrophic slope failure and landsliding (Harbor 1996), is expressed as a broad, concave, midslope bench at 863 m (2830 feet) elevation. The lowest portion of the bench supports a seasonally flooded, semi-forested depression wetland covering about 0.2 hectare (0.5 acre). High water marks on trees (32, 44, and 50 cm [13, 17, and 20 inches]) indicate periodic flooding of significant depth, and aerial photographs taken in early spring clearly show such inundation. However, no surface water was observed during growing season field visits to this site, and it is not clear whether the flooding regime is regular but very short duration, or irregular and intermittent. We suspect that growing season inundation of this wetland is highly irregular and intermittent. Moreover, hydrophytic plants are nearly lacking, suggesting that the very strongly acidic (mean pH = 4.6) grayish to yellow-gray silt loam substrate is a non-hydric soil with reasonable internal drainage during most of the growing season. Most likely, this habitat represents a former "sag pond" that has filled with sediment over geologic time.
Geographic Range: This provisional association accommodates the states and/or ecoregions in the portion of the alliance's range not covered in other existing associations. This presently (February 2001) includes Virginia and Kentucky.
States/Provinces: KY, VA
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)|
Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest - Coniferous Forest - Meadow Province
Confident or certain
Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Confident or certain
Confidence Level: Low - Poorly Documented
Confidence Level Comments:
Greasons: This conceptual placeholder type cannot be ranked until its concept and range are clarified and better defined.
Synonomy: = Quercus alba - Acer rubrum / Polygonum hydropiperoides - Lysimachia lanceolata Woodland (Fleming and Moorhead 2000)
Concept Author(s): M. Pyne
Author of Description: G.P. Fleming
Version Date: 18Feb2010
- 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.
- 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. 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]
- Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.