Invalid Unit Specified
CEGL006271 Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: (Chestnut Oak, Scarlet Oak) / Mountain Laurel / (Beetleweed, Eastern Teaberry) Forest
Colloquial Name: Chestnut Oak Forest (Subxeric Ridge Type)
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This community includes subxeric ridgetop and exposed slope forests in the Southern Appalachians, ranging south and east into the upper Piedmont, north into the Central Appalachians, and north and west into the Ridge and Valley. This community occurs over shallow soils, primarily on south- to west-facing slopes and ridgetops where solar exposure is high. Soils are rocky, infertile, dry, acidic sandy loams typically derived from sandstone. The community includes forests with canopies strongly dominated by Quercus prinus and/or Quercus coccinea, with lesser amounts of Quercus velutina, Quercus rubra, Quercus falcata, Oxydendrum arboreum, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus virginiana, and Acer rubrum, occurring over a typically dense shrub stratum dominated by ericaceous species. The shrub layer may vary between evergreen and deciduous dominance. Typical shrub species include Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron maximum, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia ursina, Gaylussacia baccata, and (in the more southern portions of the range) Leucothoe recurva. In addition, Castanea dentata may occur abundantly as root sprouts. The herb layer is typically sparse and includes subshrubs such as Epigaea repens and Gaultheria procumbens. Other common species include Chamaelirium luteum, Chimaphila maculata, Galax urceolata, Magnolia fraseri, Sassafras albidum, Symplocos tinctoria, Smilax rotundifolia, and Smilax glauca. This community is distinguished by its overall floristic composition, with a high abundance of acid-loving ericaceous species, which are indicative of this community's extremely infertile, acidic soils.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Like the other matrix oak/heath forests in Virginia, this type can occur on a wide variety of topographic positions, as long as soil conditions are favorable. A similar association defined for the southern Cumberland Plateau, Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest (CEGL008431), occurs over sandstone or other geologies not as acidic as the Blue Ridge type and lacks species indicative of the Blue Ridge association, such as Kalmia latifolia, Gaylussacia ursina, Gaylussacia baccata, and Gaultheria procumbens.

In the Great Smoky Mountains, Acer rubrum is often dominant or codominant in these forests, presumably on former American chestnut (Castanea dentata) sites. In the Blue Ridge-Piedmont transition, below 853 m (2800 feet) elevation, where this community is often associated with Pinus rigida forests and woodlands, Quercus falcata may be a component of the canopy, and the shrub stratum is strongly dominated by Vaccinium pallidum. A similar association defined for the southern Cumberland Plateau, Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest (CEGL008431), occurs over sandstone or other geologies not as acid as the Blue Ridge type and lacks species indicative of the Blue Ridge association, such as Kalmia latifolia, Gaylussacia ursina, Gaylussacia baccata, and Gaultheria procumbens.

In 55 plots classified as this association (homoteneity = 0.60) in the Appalachian Trail analysis (Fleming and Patterson 2009a), the most constant species, in order of descending constancy are Acer rubrum, Kalmia latifolia, Quercus prinus, Quercus coccinea, Nyssa sylvatica, Vaccinium pallidum, Oxydendrum arboreum, Galax urceolata, Smilax rotundifolia, Castanea dentata, Sassafras albidum, and Smilax glauca. Species richness ranges from 13-52 species and averages 30 species per 400-m2 plot sample. In this same analysis, a group of 11 plots from the Great Smoky and Nantahala mountains segregated as a distinct group in cluster analysis. While the composition of this group fits within the broad concept of this association (CEGL006271), this "southern variant" is distinguished by the dominance of Gaylussacia ursina and the greater importance of Quercus rubra, Pyrularia pubera, Tsuga canadensis, and Magnolia fraseri than in the "typic" expression of CEGL006271. Further, species that are common in the "typic" expression of CEGL006271, Quercus coccinea, Nyssa sylvatica, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia baccata, and Leucothoe recurva, are absent or inconstant in the "southern variant." Based on available plot data, environmental and geographic distinctions could not be made between the two groups, but further study may be warranted.
Similar NVC Types:
Quercus alba - Quercus (coccinea, velutina, prinus) / Gaylussacia baccata Forest, note:
Quercus prinus - Quercus (alba, coccinea) / Viburnum acerifolium - (Kalmia latifolia) Forest, note: is a broadly defined type for the Appalachian Plateau and Interior Low Plateau.
Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea) / Carya pallida / Vaccinium arboreum - Vaccinium pallidum Forest, note: defined for the southern Cumberland Plateau and western fringe of the Southern Blue Ridge, with more diverse shrubs.
Quercus prinus - Carya spp. - Quercus velutina / Vaccinium arboreum / Iris verna var. smalliana Forest, note: is defined for the lower Piedmont of Alabama and has Coastal Plain affinities.
Acer rubrum var. rubrum - Betula lenta - Magnolia fraseri / (Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia) Ruderal Forest, note: is an acidic mixed hardwood forest of the Southern Blue Ridge, resulting after severe fire, logging, or loss of chestnut; a modified type originally defined from the Great Smoky Mountains.
Quercus prinus - Quercus alba / Oxydendrum arboreum / Vitis rotundifolia Forest, note:
Quercus prinus - Quercus (rubra, velutina) / Vaccinium (angustifolium, pallidum) Forest, note: is defined for the Northern Piedmont, Central Appalachians; occurs on granite monadnocks.
Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Rhododendron maximum / Galax urceolata Forest, note: is more mesic and has a higher component of Rhododendron maximum and relatively little Kalmia latifolia.
Pinus virginiana - Pinus (rigida, echinata) - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium pallidum Forest, note:
Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest, note:
Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest, note: is the Central Appalachian analogue of CEGL006271; compositionally similar but generally lacking Southern Appalachian species such as Galax, Oxydendrum, and Leucothoe recurva.
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: Stands of this association are forests with canopies strongly dominated by Quercus prinus and Quercus coccinea alone or in mixture. Quercus velutina is an important associate in some stands. Other trees, usually in lesser amounts, include Quercus rubra, Quercus alba, Quercus falcata, Oxydendrum arboreum, Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus virginiana, Pinus rigida, Betula lenta, and Acer rubrum. In addition, Carya alba, Carya glabra, Magnolia acuminata, and Magnolia fraseri are present in some areas. The canopy trees grow over a typically dense shrub stratum dominated by ericaceous species, which may display either evergreen or deciduous dominance. Typical shrub species include Kalmia latifolia, Vaccinium stamineum, Vaccinium pallidum, Gaylussacia ursina, and Gaylussacia baccata. Some areas may feature Rhododendron maximum, Rhododendron calendulaceum, Rhododendron catawbiense, and Leucothoe recurva. In addition, Castanea dentata may occur abundantly as root sprouts. The herb layer is typically sparse and includes subshrubs such as Epigaea repens and Gaultheria procumbens. Other common species include Carex digitalis var. digitalis, Chamaelirium luteum, Chimaphila maculata, Coreopsis major, Galax urceolata, Danthonia spicata, Dichanthelium dichotomum var. dichotomum, Dioscorea quaternata, Hieracium venosum, Houstonia longifolia, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Solidago caesia, Symplocos tinctoria, and Potentilla simplex. Mosses include Dicranum fulvum, Dicranum scoparium, Thuidium delicatulum, and Leucobryum glaucum. Macrolichens include Flavoparmelia baltimorensis, Cladonia furcata, Lasallia papulosa, and Umbilicaria mammulata. This community is distinguished by its overall floristic composition, with a high abundance of acid-loving ericaceous species, which are indicative of this community's extremely infertile, acid soils. In the Great Smoky Mountains Acer rubrum is often dominant or codominant in these forests, presumably on former American chestnut (Castanea dentata) sites. In the Blue Ridge-Piedmont transition, below 853 m (2800 feet) elevation, where this community is often associated with Pinus rigida forests and woodlands, Quercus falcata may be a component of the canopy, and the shrub stratum is strongly dominated by Vaccinium pallidum.
Dynamics: There is abundant evidence of past fires in this community, and the vegetation may be fire-adapted, although information on natural fire regimes is lacking. Most sites have a history of logging.
Environmental Description: This community occurs on upper slopes, ridges and spurs, usually convex, primarily on south- to west-facing slopes and ridgetops where solar exposure is high. This community includes subxeric ridgetop forests in the Southern Blue Ridge, ranging south and east into the upper Piedmont and north into the Central Appalachians, and west into the Ridge and Valley. Soils are rocky, infertile, dry to very dry, acidic sandy loams to clay loams often derived from sandstone. These forests occur on moderate to very steep slopes or on flat to gently sloping interfluves. Sites supporting this association are typically below 1067 m elevation (3500 feet), but range up to 1280 m (4200 feet). The average elevation of 55 plots classified as this association in the Appalachian Trail project (Fleming and Patterson 2009a) is 845 m (2771 feet), ranging from 262 m (860 feet) to 1305 m (4281 feet).
Geographic Range: The center of distribution for this community is the Southern Blue Ridge of southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, northeastern Georgia, and northwestern South Carolina. It ranges south and east into the upper Piedmont and north into the Central Appalachians. This type is common in the Southern Ridge and Valley and Cumberland Mountains of southwestern Virginia and presumably Kentucky.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV
US Forest Service Ecoregions (1994/1995)
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231    Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 231A     Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Omernik Ecoregions:
Confidence Level: High
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: G5
Greasons:
Concept Lineage: merged
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: = Quercus alba - Quercus velutina - (Quercus prinus) / Vaccinium pallidum - (Kalmia latifolia) forest (Vanderhorst 2001b)
? Quercus montana - Quercus coccinea / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Moorhead 2000)
= Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Gaylussacia ursina Forest (Patterson 1994)
? Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Association, pro parte (Rawinski et al. 1996) [see CEGL006282.]
= Quercus prinus - Quercus coccinea / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Coulling 2001)
= Chestnut Oak - Chestnut Forest (Whittaker 1956)
? Chestnut Oak Forests (McLeod 1988)
? Chestnut Oak type (Golden 1974)
< Chestnut Oak: 44 (Eyre 1980) [chestnut oak - scarlet oak variant.]
? Chestnut oak-scarlet oak/ericad forest: (matrix) xeric, S- & SW-facing slopes (CAP pers. comm. 1998)
< IA6d. Chestnut Oak Slope and Ridge Forest (Allard 1990)
Concept Author(s): K.D. Patterson
Author of Description: K.D. Patterson, R. White and S.C. Gawler
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 01Apr2010
References:
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