Invalid Unit Specified
CEGL006286 Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Rhododendron maximum / Galax urceolata Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / Great Laurel / Beetleweed Forest
Colloquial Name: Chestnut Oak Forest (Mesic Slope Heath Type)
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This forest is known from protected, usually steep slopes in the Southern Blue Ridge and ranges into adjacent areas of the upper Piedmont to the east and the Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley to the west. In the southern portion of its range (Southern Blue Ridge), it usually occurs on north-facing slopes, while in the northern part of its range (the Cumberlands in West Virginia), most sites have southerly to westerly aspects. This is typically a midslope to lower slope type, but it can be found on upper slopes in a more sheltered position. This forest is found at elevations between 760 and 1220 m (2500-4000 feet) in the Southern Blue Ridge and at somewhat lower elevations (200-600 m) in the Cumberland Plateau. Canopies in these forests are dominated by Quercus prinus, usually with lesser amounts of Quercus rubra and/or Acer rubrum, and always occurring over a dense, very tall shrub stratum (2-6 m) of Rhododendron maximum. In some examples, this community may also be codominated or dominated by Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, or Betula lenta. Additional trees with lower constancy and cover in the canopy and subcanopy include Tsuga canadensis, Oxydendrum arboreum, Fagus grandifolia, and Nyssa sylvatica. On some sites, Tsuga canadensis may have dense understory regeneration. In some areas of the Southern Blue Ridge, Rhododendron minus may dominate the shrub layer. Other common shrubs can include Gaylussacia ursina (in the Southern Blue Ridge), Kalmia latifolia, Smilax rotundifolia, Ilex opaca var. opaca, and/or Hamamelis virginiana. Herbs are sparse. The ground cover is dominated by leaf litter, but Galax urceolata is found in most occurrences except at the northern limit of this type's range in West Virginia. Other herb species that can be typical include Chimaphila maculata, Goodyera pubescens, Polystichum acrostichoides, Maianthemum racemosum, Solidago caesia, Mitchella repens, Eurybia divaricata, Dryopteris marginalis, and Dioscorea quaternata. Some examples may have sparse (woodland-like) canopies and occur in association with rock outcroppings. Vascular plant species richness in seven 400-square-meter West Virginia plots ranges from 12 to 49 taxa (mean = 30.1).
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: This association is more protected and more mesic than Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest (CEGL006271). It occurs at lower elevations and on more protected topographic positions than Quercus rubra / (Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron catawbiense, Rhododendron maximum) / Galax urceolata Forest (CEGL007299). It is much less diverse than Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest (CEGL007267), lacking the diverse herbaceous and woody components found in that association. Stands similar to this association but with significant cover by Tsuga canadensis in the canopy layers are classified as Liriodendron tulipifera - Betula lenta - Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron maximum Forest (CEGL007543).
Similar NVC Types:
Liriodendron tulipifera - Betula lenta - Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron maximum Forest, note:
Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest, note:
Quercus rubra / (Kalmia latifolia, Rhododendron catawbiense, Rhododendron maximum) / Galax urceolata Forest, note:
Quercus prinus / Rhododendron catawbiense - Kalmia latifolia Forest, note: is mostly of the Central Appalachians and only peripherally in the northern portion of the Southern Blue Ridge; occupies drier sites and is characterized by a dense Rhododendron catawbiense shrub layer.
Acer rubrum var. rubrum - Betula lenta - Magnolia fraseri / (Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia) Ruderal Forest, note:
Quercus prinus - (Quercus rubra) - Carya spp. / Oxydendrum arboreum - Cornus florida Forest, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: Canopies in these forests are dominated by Quercus prinus, usually with lesser amounts of Quercus rubra and/or Acer rubrum, and always occurring over a dense, very tall shrub stratum (2-6 m) of Rhododendron maximum. In some examples, this community may also be codominated or dominated by Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, or Betula lenta. Additional trees with lower constancy and cover in the canopy and subcanopy include Tsuga canadensis, Oxydendrum arboreum, Fagus grandifolia, and Nyssa sylvatica. On some sites, Tsuga canadensis may have dense understory regeneration. In some areas of the Southern Blue Ridge, Rhododendron minus may dominate the shrub layer. Other common shrubs can include Gaylussacia ursina (in the Southern Blue Ridge), Kalmia latifolia, Smilax rotundifolia, Ilex opaca var. opaca, and/or Hamamelis virginiana. Herbs are sparse. The ground cover is dominated by leaf litter, but Galax urceolata is found in most occurrences except at the northern limit of this type's range in West Virginia. Other herb species that can be typical include Chimaphila maculata, Goodyera pubescens, Polystichum acrostichoides, Maianthemum racemosum, Solidago caesia, Mitchella repens, Eurybia divaricata, Dryopteris marginalis, and Dioscorea quaternata. Some examples may have sparse (woodland-like) canopies and occur in association with rock outcroppings. Vascular plant species richness in seven 400-square-meter WV plots ranges from 12 to 49 taxa (mean = 30.1).

In the Great Smoky Mountains, this community is found consistently as a transitional band of vegetation, downslope from drier Quercus prinus ridgetop forests, ~Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest (CEGL006271)$$, and grading into acidic cove forests, ~Liriodendron tulipifera - Betula lenta - Tsuga canadensis / Rhododendron maximum Forest (CEGL007543)$$, on the steep ravines below. At Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and the Gauley River National Recreation Area, it can grade into mixed mesophytic forests (CEGL005222) as well.
Dynamics: No Data Available
Environmental Description: This forest is known from protected, usually steep slopes in the Southern Blue Ridge and ranges into adjacent areas of the upper Piedmont to the east and the Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley to the west. In the southern portion of its range (Southern Blue Ridge), it usually occurs on north-facing slopes, while in the northern part of its range (the Cumberlands in WV), most sites have southerly to westerly aspects. This is typically a midslope to lower slope type, but it can be found on upper slopes in a more sheltered position. This forest is found at elevations between 760 and 1220 m (2500-4000 feet) in the Southern Blue Ridge and at somewhat lower elevations (200-600 m) in the Cumberland Plateau. Soils in WV plots are described as well- to rapidly-drained, dry to somewhat moist sandy loam and sandy clay loam that test very strongly to extremely acidic (mean pH = 4.20). Soils of some sites may be classified as folists, characterized by deep organic horizons (duff) over bouldery colluvium.
Geographic Range: This community occurs in the Southern Blue Ridge of northeastern Georgia, northwestern South Carolina, north through eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and southwestern Virginia. It extends into the Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Its range also extends into the upper Piedmont of North Carolina.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, 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: G4
Greasons: This community is uncommon, but not rare, throughout most of its range. As currently defined, it is a regional endemic, found only in the Southern Blue Ridge and adjacent regions of the upper Piedmont and Cumberlands and Southern Ridge and Valley. This community is often overlooked or not distinguished separately in inventories; thus, it is more common than the number of documented occurrences suggests.
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: < Chestnut Oak: 44 (Eyre 1980)
< IA6d. Chestnut Oak Slope and Ridge Forest (Allard 1990)
Concept Author(s): S. Simon and K.D. Patterson
Author of Description: K.D. Patterson, R. White and S.C. Gawler
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 01Apr2010
References:
  • Allard, D. J. 1990. Southeastern United States ecological community classification. Interim report, Version 1.2. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Chapel Hill, NC. 96 pp.
  • 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., 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. 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., 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]
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • Peet, R. K., T. R. Wentworth, M. P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. No date. Unpublished data of the North Carolina Vegetation Survey. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
  • Schafale, M. 1998b. Fourth approximation guide. High mountain communities. March 1998 draft. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
  • Schafale, M. P. 2012. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina, 4th Approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.
  • Schafale, Mike P. Personal communication. Ecologist, North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh.
  • Simon, Steve. Personal communication. Ecologist. USDA Forest Service, National Forests in North Carolina, Asheville, NC.
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • TDNH [Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage]. No date. Unpublished data. Tennessee Division of Natural Heritage, Nashville, TN.
  • Vanderhorst, J. P., B. P. Streets, Z. Arcaro, and S. C. Gawler. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gauley River National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/148. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.
  • White, Jr., R. D. 2003. Vascular plant inventory and plant community classification for Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 160 pp.
  • White, R. D., Jr. 2006. Vascular plant inventory and ecological community classification for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NatureServe, Durham, NC. 246 pp.