Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL006283
Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Riverscour Wet Meadow

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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Translated Name:Big Bluestem - Switchgrass - Blue Wild Indigo Riverscour Wet Meadow
Colloquial Name:Fall-line Riverwash Bedrock Prairie
This community is found in the east-central United States along high-gradient sections of major rivers, such as in gorges and along the fall-line. It usually occupies rocky areas within the active channel shelf at an intermediate level above the low-water level and the bank-full level. Flood scouring and ice floods are powerful and ecologically important abrasive forces that shape the physiognomy and composition of this association. Soils are rapidly drained Psamments. Often, soil material is restricted to the narrow interstices of tightly packed boulders, or to small crevices in bedrock exposures. This community is characterized by a luxuriant growth of the robust grasses Andropogon gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans, Panicum virgatum, and Spartina pectinata which resembles prairie vegetation. Tripsacum dactyloides may also occur. Many of the forbs are also typical of prairies. Characteristic species include Baptisia australis, Allium cernuum, Aristida purpurascens, Bidens frondosa, Chasmanthium latifolium, Clematis viorna, Eleocharis compressa, Conoclinium coelestinum (= Eupatorium coelestinum), Eupatorium serotinum, Lespedeza violacea, Packera aurea, Physostegia virginiana, Pycnanthemum virginianum, Solidago rupestris, Teucrium canadense, Veronicastrum virginicum, Zizia trifoliata, and Zizia aurea. Scattered and flood-battered shrubs and tree saplings often occur.
No Data Available
The distinctions between this community type and Salix spp. / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL005175) and (Salix caroliniana, Rhododendron arborescens) / Andropogon gerardii - Baptisia australis - (Solidago simplex ssp. randii) Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL008471) seem quite artificial and further study should be undertaken to determine whether these merely represent geographic subtypes of a single association. The effect of merging these types with Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL006283) would likely have no effect on the Global Conservation Status Rank, as CEGL005175 is currently ranked G2? and CEGL008471 is currently ranked G2Q. In the Central Appalachian region, the type is found predominantly on Western Allegheny Mountains (M221Be + M221Bd, Gauley M221Ca dammed).
Synonomy: = Andropogon gerardii - Baptisia australis riparian herbaceous vegetation (Vanderhorst 2001b)
= Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Herbaceous Vegetation (Fleming and Taverna 2006)
= Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Rhus radicans - Baptisia australis Association (Rawinski et al. 1996)
= Cornus amomum / Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Shrub Herbaceous Vegetation (Fleming and Coulling 2001)
= Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Andropogon gerardii - Panicum virgatum - Baptisia australis Wooded Herbaceous Vegetation (Lea 2000)
< Riverwash Grasslands (Baptisia australis - Lespedeza violacea - Chasmanthium latifolium Herbaceous Vegetation) (Grossman et al. 1994)
< Willow - Indian grass riverine shrubland (Perles et al. 2004)

Related Type Name:This association (CEGL006283), Panicum virgatum - Andropogon gerardii Gravel Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL006477), and Fraxinus americana / Andropogon gerardii - Sorghastrum nutans - Schizachyrium scoparium - Pycnanthemum tenuifolium Riverscour Wet Meadow (CEGL006478) all occur in the Potomac River drainage but occupy different habitats.

Short Citation:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • Fike 1999
  • Fleming and Coulling 2001
  • Fleming and Patterson 2011a
  • Fleming and Taverna 2006
  • Fleming et al. 2001
  • Fleming et al. 2006
  • Grossman et al. 1994
  • Harrison 2004
  • Harrison 2011
  • Lea 2000
  • Lea 2004
  • Perles et al. 2004
  • Rawinski 1988c
  • Rawinski et al. 1996
  • Vanderhorst 2000b
  • Vanderhorst 2001a
  • Vanderhorst 2001b
  • Vanderhorst and Streets 2006
  • Vanderhorst et al. 2007
  • VDNH 2003
  • WVNHP unpubl. data b
  • Zimmerman 2011a
  • Zimmerman et al. 2012
States/Provinces:MD, OH, PA, VA, WV
Nations:US
Range:This community is found in the east-central United States, from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, and possibly Ohio.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code:231   Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
Section Name:Southern Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Section Code:221E     Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
No Data Available
This community is characterized by a luxuriant growth of the robust grasses Andropogon gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans, Panicum virgatum, and Spartina pectinata, which resembles prairie vegetation. Tripsacum dactyloides may also occur. Many of the forbs are also typical of prairies. Characteristic species include Baptisia australis, Allium cernuum, Aristida purpurascens, Bidens frondosa, Chasmanthium latifolium, Clematis viorna, Eleocharis compressa, Conoclinium coelestinum (= Eupatorium coelestinum), Eupatorium serotinum, Lespedeza violacea, Packera aurea, Physostegia virginiana, Pycnanthemum virginianum, Solidago rupestris, Teucrium canadense, Veronicastrum virginicum, Zizia trifoliata, and Zizia aurea. Additional herbs with high cover and/or constancy in some areas include Apocynum cannabinum, Coreopsis tripteris, Cyperus strigosus, Eupatorium fistulosum, Helianthus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis, Justicia americana, Lobelia cardinalis, Ludwigia alternifolia, Potentilla simplex, Pycnanthemum torrei, Rhynchospora capitellata, Rhynchospora recognita, Solidago juncea, Symphyotrichum laeve, and Viola cucullata. There may be low cover by trees, which are usually short and flood-battered, including Betula nigra, Chionanthus virginicus, Diospyros virginiana, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Platanus occidentalis, Ulmus americana, and Ulmus rubra. Cover in the shrub layer is likewise low and includes short individuals of the tree and shrub species, including Alnus serrulata, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Cornus amomum, Hypericum prolificum, and Salix caroliniana. Low-growing vines include Campsis radicans, Toxicodendron radicans, and Vitis rupestris. In the Potomac River drainage, Solidago simplex var. racemosa, Helianthus occidentalis, Cerastium arvense var. velutinum, and Ceanothus herbaceus are noteworthy components (Lea 2000). In the James River drainage, Orbexilum pedunculatum var. psoralioides, Silphium trifoliatum, Solidago speciosa, and Vicia americana are associated. Vascular plant species richness of sampled plots (Virginia and West Virginia sample sets) averages 43-56 taxa per 100 square meters.
Stands occur along high-gradient sections of major rivers, such as in gorges and along the fall-line. They occupy rocky areas within the active channel shelf subject to frequent high-energy flooding, at an intermediate level above the low-water level and the bank-full level. These positions are prone to dramatic restructuring by large floods and patches of this association may be ephemeral. Flood scouring and ice floods are powerful and ecologically important abrasive forces that shape the physiognomy and composition of this association. Soils are rapidly drained Psamments, usually with neutral to high pH. These coarse-textured substrates are potentially well-drained, but fluvial topography and a high water table often result in a mixture of well-drained and poorly drained microsites. Occurrences on flat bedrock often develop scoured out potholes which hold flood and rain water, and vegetation is confined to cracks and sediment accumulations. Soil material is restricted to the narrow interstices of tightly packed boulders, or to small crevices in bedrock exposures. However, along the Greenbrier and New rivers in West Virginia, stands of this type occupy cobble bars rather than stabilized outcrops and boulder deposits.
High
Flash floods actively scour the floodplain, keeping the vegetation open. Available data suggest that the differences between this community and related types may be more related to flooding frequency/intensity and/or substrate chemistry than to topography (i.e., outcrop vs. cobble bar).
Authors:
L.A. Sneddon, G. Fleming, P. Coulling and S.C. Gawler      Version Date: 18Dec2006


References:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • Fike, J. 1999. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry, Harrisburg, PA. 86 pp.
  • 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.
  • 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., 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]
  • Grossman, D. H., K. Lemon Goodin, and C. L. Reuss, editors. 1994. Rare plant communities of the conterminous United States: An initial survey. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA. 620 pp.
  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.
  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
  • Lea, C. 2000. Plant communities of the Potomac Gorge and their relationship to fluvial factors. M.S. thesis, George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 219 pp.
  • Lea, C. 2004. Draft vegetation types in National Capital Region Parks. Edited by S.C. Gawler and J. Teague. Working draft for review by NatureServe, Virginia Natural Heritage, West Virginia Natural Heritage, Maryland Natural Heritage, and National Park Service. July 2004. 157 pp.
  • Perles, S., G. Podniesinski, and J. Wagner. 2004. Classification, assessment and protection of non-forested floodplain wetlands of the Susquehanna drainage. Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Harrisburg. 128 pp.
  • Rawinski, T. J. 1988c. Ecology forum: Notes on riverside vegetation. The Nature Conservancy News 38:24-25.
  • Rawinski, T. J., K. N. Hickman, J. Waller-Eling, G. P. Fleming, C. S. Austin, S. D. Helmick, C. Huber, G. Kappesser, F. C. Huber, Jr., T. Bailey, and T. K. Collins. 1996. Plant communities and ecological land units of the Glenwood Ranger District, George Washington and Jefferson national forests, Virginia. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Natural Heritage Technical Report 96-20. Richmond. 65 pp. plus appendices.
  • Vanderhorst, J. 2000b. Plant communities of Harper's Ferry National Historical Park: Analysis, characterization, and mapping. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins, WV. 37 pp.
  • Vanderhorst, J. 2001a. Plant community classification and mapping of the Camp Dawson Collective Training Area, Preston County, West Virginia. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins. 101 pp.
  • Vanderhorst, J. 2001b. Plant communities of the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia: Northern and southern thirds. Non-game Wildlife and Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Elkins. 146 pp.
  • Vanderhorst, J. P., J. Jeuck, and S. C. Gawler. 2007. Vegetation classification and mapping of New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR-2007/092. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 396 pp.
  • 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.
  • VDNH [Virginia Division of Natural Heritage]. 2003. The natural communities of Virginia: Hierarchical classification of community types. Unpublished document, working list of November 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Ecology Group, Richmond.
  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date (b). Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.
  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011a. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Big Bluestem - Indian-grass Floodplain Grassland Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=15999] (accessed February 06, 2012)
  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

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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:

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Disclaimer:
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 USNVC.org 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. [http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/vegetation/NVCS_V2_FINAL_2008-02.pdf]

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (amckerrow@usgs.gov)
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber- langendoen@natureserve.org)
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions Scott.Franklin@unco.edu
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (mburke@fs.fed.us)