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Association Detail Report: CEGL004110
Fimbristylis castanea - Paspalum distichum Marsh

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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Translated Name:Marsh Fimbry - Knotgrass Marsh
Colloquial Name:Florida Panhandle Dune Swale
This dune swale community of the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast is dominated by Fimbristylis castanea, and/or Paspalum distichum. In some examples, Fimbristylis castanea may occur in nearly monospecific stands, or sometimes intermixed with Panicum amarum var. amarulum (= Panicum amarulum), Iva imbricata, Sesuvium portulacastrum, and Lilaeopsis carolinensis.
No Data Available
On the panhandle and southwestern Gulf coasts of Florida, it is a common colonizer of drying tide pools and brackish flats on recently built-out beaches (A. Johnson pers. obs.).
Synonomy: = Paspalum / Fimbristylis Swales (Johnson 1997)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Au 1974
  • Johnson 1997
  • Johnson, A. pers. comm.
  • Sauer 1967
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
Range:This dune swale community occurs in the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code:232   Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
Section Name:Florida Coastal Lowlands (Western) Section
Section Code:232D     Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
No Data Available
This type is dominated by halophytic species, including Fimbristylis castanea, Paspalum distichum, Panicum amarum var. amarulum (= Panicum amarulum), and/or Iva imbricata (Johnson 1997).
This type occurs in early-successional brackish interdune swales and backdune flats.
This dune swale community is maintained by periodic incursion of seawater. The dominant species apparently rapidly colonize bare sand patches. The formation of a seaward dune ridge which cuts off seawater inflow will lead to successional replacement of this type by a Eragrostis elliottii type within 4-7 years (Johnson 1997).
R.E. Evans      Version Date: 29Jul2002

  • Au, S. 1974. Vegetation and ecological processes on Shackleford Bank, North Carolina. USDI National Park Service, Scientific Monograph No. 6.
  • Johnson, A. F. 1997. Rates of vegetation succession on a coastal dune system in northwest Florida. Journal of Coastal Research 13:373-384.
  • Johnson, Ann F. Personal communication. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee.
  • Sauer, J. D. 1967. Geographic reconnaissance of seashore vegetation along the Mexican Gulf Coast. Louisiana State University Press, Coastal Studies Series No. 21, Baton Rouge.
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.

USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

Date Accessed:

To cite a description:
Author(s). publicationYear. Description Title [last revised revisionDate]. United States National Vegetation Classification. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Washington, D.C.

About spatial standards:
The United States Federal Geographic Data Committee (hereafter called the FGDC) is tasked to develop geospatial data standards that will enable sharing of spatial data among producers and users and support the growing National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), acting under the Office of Management Budget (OMB) Circular A-16 (OMB 1990, 2000) and Executive Order #12906 (Clinton 1994) as amended by Executive Order #13286 (Bush 2003). FGDC subcommittees and working groups, in consultation and cooperation with state, local, tribal, private, academic, and international communities, develop standards for the content, quality, and transferability of geospatial data. FGDC standards are developed through a structured process, integrated with one another to the extent possible, supportable by the current vendor community (but are independent of specific technologies), and publicly available.

About this document
This document contains type descriptions at the Association level of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. These descriptions were primarily written by NatureServe ecologists in collaboration with Federal Geographic Data Committee Vegetation Subcommittee and a wide variety of state, federal and private partners as a part of the implementation of the National Vegetation Classification. Formation descriptions were written by the Hierarchy Revisions Working Group. The descriptions are based on consultation with natural resource professionals, published literature, and other vegetation classification systems. The Ecological Society of America's Panel on Vegetation Classification is responsible for managing the review and formal adoption of these types into the National Vegetation Classification. Partners involved in the implementation of the USNVC include:

U.S. Government
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of the Interior (USDI)
  • Forest Service (FS) - Chair
  • National Agriculture Statistical Service (NASS)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Navy (NAVY)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Non U.S. Government
  • NatureServe (NS)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)

Given the dynamic nature of the standard, it is possible a type description is incomplete or in revision at the time of download; therefore, users of the data should track the date of access and read the revisions section of the website to understand the current status of the classification. While USNVC data have undergone substantial review prior to posting, it is possible that some errors or inaccuracies have remained undetected.

For information on the process used to develop these descriptions see:

Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, D. Tart, B. Hoagland, C. Josse, G. Navarro, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, A. Weakley, P. Comer. 2014. EcoVeg: A new approach to vegetation description and classification. Ecological Monographs 84:533-561 (erratum 85:473).

Franklin, S., D. Faber-Langendoen, M. Jennings, T. Keeler-Wolf, O. Loucks, A. McKerrow, R.K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2012. Building the United States National Vegetation Classification. Annali di Botanica 2: 1-9.

Jennings, M. D., D. Faber-Langendoen, O. L. Louckes, R. K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2009. Standards for associations and alliances of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. Ecological Monographs 79(2):173-199.

FGDC [Federal Geographic Data Committee]. 2008. Vegetation Classification Standard, FGDC-STD-005, Version 2. Washington, DC., USA. []

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber-
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (