Invalid Unit Specified
CEGL008523 Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Vaccinium pallidum - (Rhododendron periclymenoides) Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Blue Ridge Blueberry - (Pink Azalea) Forest
Colloquial Name: Central Appalachian Dry Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Heath Forest
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This community is documented primarily from the northern Blue Ridge and its eastern foothills, from Amherst County in west-central Virginia to the Catoctin Mountains of northern Maryland, and extending into northeastern West Virginia. It is likely to be more widespread, but certain topographic and/or soil conditions on the northern Blue Ridge may favor its development and abundance there. This community occupies sites intermediate between the xeric, oligotrophic sites of chestnut oak/heath forests and the somewhat sheltered, submesic, subacidic sites of other montane mixed oak and oak-hickory forests. It occurs on chiefly convex, moderately steep middle to upper slopes, ridge crests, and boulderfields with southeastern to northwestern exposures. Soils are subxeric or xeric and strongly infertile. Many sites have high cover of boulders, cobbles, gravel, or mineral soil. Underlying bedrock includes massive quartzite of the Chilhowee group, various members of the northern Blue Ridge gneissic granitic complex, and less frequently metabasalt of the Catoctin Formation. This type spans a very broad range of elevations, from <300 m to nearly 1100 m (<1000-3600 feet). Quercus prinus and Quercus rubra generally codominate the overstory, but either species may dominate discrete areas within stands. Minor canopy associates include Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Betula lenta, Carya spp., Robinia pseudoacacia, and Pinus strobus. Acer rubrum cover may equal or exceed that of the diagnostic oak species in stands with recent harvesting. The shrub layer is dominated by patchy Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, Rhododendron periclymenoides, and Kalmia latifolia. Acer pensylvanicum and Smilax rotundifolia may be present in minor amounts. A suite of low-cover, xerophytic herbs is characteristic, including Houstonia longifolia, Campanula divaricata, Potentilla canadensis, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Carex pensylvanica, Aureolaria laevigata, and Hieracium paniculatum.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Analysis of 28 plots from Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia provided the basis for this type's current circumscription. This community type bears some similarity to a number of units in the USNVC. Quercus alba - Quercus (rubra, prinus) / Rhododendron calendulaceum - (Gaylussacia ursina) Forest (CEGL007230) is a broadly defined association from the Southern Blue Ridge. It differs from the present community type in the presence of several Southern Appalachian endemics (Gaylussacia ursina, Halesia tetraptera, Magnolia fraseri) whose range does not extend to the Northern Blue Ridge and by the general absence (except for Lysimachia quadrifolia) of the xerophytic herbs characteristic of this type. Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Hamamelis virginiana Forest (CEGL006057) is common in the Central Appalachians, possibly ranging north to New Jersey. This association represents mixed oak / sparse heath vegetation on very rocky, somewhat sheltered sites. Acer pensylvanicum, Hamamelis virginiana, and Carya spp., which are characteristic of CEGL006057, are relatively unimportant in stands of the present type. Quercus prinus - Quercus (rubra, velutina) / Vaccinium (angustifolium, pallidum) Forest (CEGL006282), which ranges from Maine to Virginia, is characterized by a low, speciose ericaceous layer and lacks the herbaceous species diagnostic of this community type.
Similar NVC Types:
Quercus alba - Quercus (rubra, prinus) / Rhododendron calendulaceum - (Gaylussacia ursina) Forest, note: is a broadly defined association from the Southern Blue Ridge.
Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Hamamelis virginiana Forest, note: is common in the Central Appalachians, possibly ranging north to New Jersey.
Quercus prinus - Quercus (rubra, velutina) / Vaccinium (angustifolium, pallidum) Forest, note: ranges from Maine to Virginia.
Quercus rubra - Quercus prinus - Carya ovalis / (Cercis canadensis) / Solidago caesia Forest, note:
Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest, note:
Tsuga canadensis - Fagus grandifolia - Quercus (prinus, alba) Forest, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: Quercus prinus and Quercus rubra generally codominate the overstory, but either species may dominate discrete areas within stands. Acer rubrum cover may equal or exceed that of the diagnostic oak species in stands with recent harvesting. Minor canopy associates include Quercus velutina, Betula lenta, Carya spp., Robinia pseudoacacia, Quercus alba, and Pinus strobus. Acer rubrum is the most constant and abundant species of the subcanopy, which also contains Sassafras albidum, Prunus serotina, Nyssa sylvatica, and Acer pensylvanicum (mostly at higher elevations). Patchy dominance by Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, Rhododendron periclymenoides, and Kalmia latifolia characterizes the shrub layer. Acer pensylvanicum and Smilax rotundifolia may be present in minor amounts. A number of low-cover, xerophytic herbs are characteristic where soil development and rock cover permit, including Houstonia longifolia, Campanula divaricata, Potentilla canadensis, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Carex pensylvanica, Aureolaria laevigata, and Hieracium paniculatum. Medeola virginiana and Monotropa uniflora may also be present. Aralia nudicaulis is occasionally a patch-dominant on dry, bouldery sites. On other sites with better soil development, Dennstaedtia punctilobula nearly dominates the herb stratum. Mean species richness of 28 plots is 40 taxa per 400 square meters, much higher than that of other oak/heath types in the Central Appalachians region.
Dynamics: Castanea dentata abounds in the shrub layer of some stands, which undoubtedly reflects the former importance of this species in the canopy. Both Acer rubrum and Robinia pseudoacacia may have increased following logging; the presence of the latter suggests disturbance in recent decades, and the persistence of the former may indicate contemporary fire exclusion.
Environmental Description: This community type occurs on chiefly convex, moderately steep middle to upper slopes, ridge crests, and boulderfields with southeastern to northwestern exposures. Soils are subxeric or xeric and strongly infertile. Many sites have high cover of boulders, cobbles, gravel, or mineral soil. Underlying bedrock includes massive quartzite of the Chilhowee group, various members of the northern Blue Ridge gneissic granitic complex, and less frequently metabasalt of the Catoctin Formation. This type spans a very broad range of elevations, from <300 m to nearly 1100 m (<1000-3600 feet). Although Quercus prinus generally occurs at elevations below 915 m (3000 feet) in the northern Blue Ridge of Virginia (Harrison et al. 1989, Stephenson and Adams 1989), it often extends upslope on more xeric sites (e.g., Whittaker 1956). Virtually all stands have experienced a history of logging and the loss of Castanea dentata as an overstory dominant.
Geographic Range: This community is documented only from the northern Blue Ridge and its eastern foothills, from Amherst County in west-central Virginia to the Catoctin Mountains of northern Maryland, and Preston, Mineral, and Randolph counties in West Virginia. Within this range, it is widely distributed and frequently a large-patch type. It is likely to be more widespread, but certain topographic and/or soil conditions on the northern Blue Ridge may favor its development there. The absence of either broad southern Appalachian endemics or species with more northern affinities distinguishes this type from more southern and northern vegetation types.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: MD, VA, WV
US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)
Domain Name:
Division Name:
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
Omernik Ecoregions:
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: G3G4
Greasons: The type occupies a fairly narrow geographic range on the northern Blue Ridge but is locally common within the range. Many occurrences are protected on national park lands. In West Virginia, it is documented from Camp Dawson in Preston County, and from Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. Sites with similar exposure and parent material occur on local peaks of Shenandoah National Park, the Peaks of Otter region, and the northern terminus of the Southern Blue Ridge near Roanoke, at the southern limit of the distribution of charnockitic bedrock.
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: = Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Vaccinium pallidum - (Rhododendron periclymenoides) Forest (Fleming and Taverna 2006)
= Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Vaccinium pallidum - (Rhododendron periclymenoides) Forest (Vanderhorst and Streets 2006)
> Quercus rubra - (Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina) / Rhododendron periclymenoides / Lysimachia quadrifolia - Hieracium paniculatum Forest (Fleming and Coulling 2001)
> Quercus velutina - Quercus montana - Quercus rubra / Rhododendron periclymenoides / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Coulling and Rawinski 1999)
< Chestnut Oak: 44 (Eyre 1980) [chestnut oak - northern red oak variant.]
? Sub-xeric oak forest (Vanderhorst 2001a)
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson and G.P. Fleming, mod. G.P. Fleming and P. Coulling
Author of Description: G.P. Fleming, P.P. Coulling, S.C. Gawler
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 02Oct2006
References:
  • Abrams, M. D. 1992. Fire and the development of oak forests. BioScience 42(5):346-353.
  • Coulling, P. P., and T. J. Rawinski. 1999. Classification of vegetation and ecological land units of the Piney River and Mt. Pleasant area, Pedlar Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 99-03, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.
  • 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., 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. 2009a. A vegetation classification for the Appalachian Trail: Virginia south to Georgia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. In-house analysis, March 2009.
  • 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 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.
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  • Stephenson, S. L., and H. S. Adams. 1989. The high-elevation red oak (Quercus rubra) community type in western Virginia. Castanea 54:217-229.
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  • Vanderhorst, J., and B. P. Streets. 2006. Vegetation classification and mapping of Camp Dawson Army Training Site, West Virginia: Second approximation. Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins. 83 pp.
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