Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL007207
Fagus grandifolia - Quercus alba / Acer (barbatum, leucoderme) / Solidago auriculata Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
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Translated Name:American Beech - White Oak / (Southern Sugar Maple, Chalk Maple) / Eared Goldenrod Forest
Colloquial Name:West Gulf Coastal Plain Beech - White Oak Forest (Subcalcareous Type)
This mesic, subcalcareous forest of the West Gulf Coastal Plain of eastern Texas and western Louisiana is typically dominated by an uneven-aged canopy of Fagus grandifolia and Quercus alba. It is further characterized by a rich, vernal understory flora and the presence of a number of species which indicate both mesic and calciphilic habitats in the West Gulf Coastal Plain, such as Acer leucoderme, Acer barbatum, Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Hamamelis virginiana, Solidago auriculata, Lithospermum tuberosum, Cynoglossum virginianum, Uvularia perfoliata, Dioscorea villosa, and Smilax pumila. This type remains incompletely documented and understood due to relatively recent recognition of the existence of Acer leucoderme in eastern Texas. Viburnum dentatum, Viburnum acerifolium, Aesculus pavia var. pavia, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Asimina triloba, Ostrya virginiana, Carpinus caroliniana ssp. caroliniana, Cornus florida, and Styrax grandifolius are also indicative of this type.
No Data Available
The geographic range of Acer leucoderme is much more restricted than that of Acer barbatum (Little 1979a) and is especially limited in eastern Texas where the species is has been reported from only 5 counties (Bridges and Orzell 1989a). Bridges and Orzell (1989a) first documented the occurrence of Acer leucoderme in eastern Texas; omission of this important indicator tree from taxonomic treatments for the region (Correll and Johnston 1970, Nixon 1985) continues to hinder understanding of this community type. Restricting the concept of this type to presence of Acer leucoderme would thus create a much rarer type. Excellent characteristic examples can be found at central and northern Sabine National Forest, rarely on the northern Angelina National Forest, and Brushy Heads (western Vernon Parish, Louisiana).
Synonomy: < American Beech - White Oak / Mitchella Loamy Moist-Mesic Steep Slopes and Ravines (Turner et al. 1999)
? Beech - Magnolia (69) (USFS 1988)
< IA8b. Coastal Plain Calcareous Mesic Forest (Allard 1990)
< IA8e. Beech - Magnolia Forest (Allard 1990)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Allard 1990
  • Bridges and Orzell 1989a
  • Correll and Johnston 1970
  • Diamond 1993
  • Kutner and Morse 1996
  • Little 1979a
  • LNHP 2009
  • MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997c
  • Martin and Smith 1991
  • McLeod 1975
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern U.S. unpubl. data
  • Nixon 1985
  • Nixon et al. 1980a
  • Smith 1996a
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • TNHS unpubl. data
  • Turner et al. 1999
  • USFS 1988
States/Provinces:AR?, LA, TX
Range:This association is known from the West Gulf Coastal Plain of Louisiana and Texas, and ranges into the Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas and possibly Arkansas and Louisiana.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code:231   Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
Section Name:Mississippi Alluvial Basin Section
Section Code:234A     Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
No Data Available
This forest is dominated by a canopy of Fagus grandifolia and Quercus alba. Acer barbatum and/or Acer leucoderme are usually present in the subcanopy. Associated species may also include Fraxinus americana, Carya myristiciformis, Ulmus americana, Ulmus alata, Quercus falcata, Quercus shumardii, Tilia americana var. caroliniana, Acer rubrum, Carya texana, Diospyros virginiana, Quercus michauxii, Celtis laevigata, Ulmus rubra, Carya ovata, Gleditsia triacanthos, Liquidambar styraciflua, Nyssa sylvatica, Prunus serotina, Morus rubra, and Quercus stellata. The canopy is generally closed and heavily deciduous-dominated. Phoradendron spp., Tillandsia usneoides, and Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. polypodioides may be present on the canopy species. The scattered to patchy shrub stratum includes regenerating canopy species and other species such as Crataegus marshallii, Crataegus spathulata, Aesculus pavia, Asimina triloba, Ostrya virginiana, Carpinus caroliniana, Cornus florida, Cercis canadensis, Viburnum dentatum, Viburnum acerifolium, and Styrax grandifolius. The sparse herbaceous layer may include species such as Polystichum acrostichoides, Scleria oligantha, Solidago auriculata, Symphyotrichum drummondii (= Aster drummondii), Helianthus hirsutus, Galium circaezans, Vicia minutiflora, Lithospermum tuberosum, Uvularia perfoliata, Cynoglossum virginianum, Arisaema triphyllum, Mitchella repens, Pedicularis canadensis, Spigelia marilandica, Podophyllum peltatum, Tragia cordata, and Smilax herbacea (Martin and Smith 1991). The most frequent canopy associates at the Acer leucoderme sites described by Bridges and Orzell (1989a) include these additional species: Carya cordiformis, Carya ovata, and Carya alba (= Carya tomentosa). They also add understory species such as Carex amphibola, Carex oxylepis, Carex retroflexa, Carex willdenowii, Sanguinaria canadensis, Phegopteris hexagonoptera (= Thelypteris hexagonoptera), and Luzula echinata to the potential list of associates. A single plot ascribed to this type on the Sabine National Forest completely lacked Fagus grandifolia in the overstory and was heavily dominated by Quercus alba (NatureServe Ecology unpubl. data). Regionally rare species that may occur in this community include Cypripedium kentuckiense, Solidago auriculata, and Taenidia integerrima.
This forest occurs on sandy loams and clays, typically with stratified acidic clays over calcareous parent material. Although the surface layers are often circumneutral, the subsoil is moderately alkaline (pH >7.0). Typical soil series are Hollywood and Vaiden silty clay and Cuthbert and Hornbeck clay. Associated geology includes the Fleming Formation in Louisiana and Weches, Reklaw, Wilcox, Cook Mountain, and Yegua formations in eastern Texas where the forest occurs almost exclusively on steep slopes and protected ravines.
Low - Poorly Documented
This forest is not a pyrogenic community and experiences very infrequent fires due to its position on slopes, its generally moist conditions, and the lack of available fuel generated by the relatively inflammable deciduous leaf litter. This association occurs on portions of the landscape where periodic fires were presumably not common, especially mesic steep slopes, and mid to lower slopes along rivers and small streams throughout portions of the West Gulf Coastal Plain which are influenced by high pH substrate. Uncommon to rare windstorms, diseases and insects are the major disturbances in this uneven-aged forest. Regeneration occurs primarily in canopy gaps (Martin and Smith 1991).
J.E. Mohan, L.M. Smith, R.E. Evans      Version Date: 31Jan2002

  • 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.
  • Bridges, E. L., and S. L. Orzell. 1989a. Longleaf pine communities of the West Gulf Coastal Plain. Natural Areas Journal 9:246-263.
  • Correll, D. S., and M. C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation. Renner, TX. (Second printing, 1979. University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson) 1881 pp.
  • Diamond, D. D. 1993. Classification of the plant communities of Texas (series level). Unpublished document. Texas Natural Heritage Program, Austin. 25 pp.
  • Kutner, L. S., and L. E. Morse. 1996. Reintroduction in a changing climate. In: D. A. Falk, C. I. Millar, and M. Olwell, editors. Restoring diversity: Strategies for reintroduction of endangered plants. Island Press, Washington, DC.
  • Little, E. L., Jr. 1979a. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 541. 375 pp.
  • LNHP [Louisiana Natural Heritage Program]. 2009. Natural communities of Louisiana. Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, Baton Rouge. 46 pp. []
  • MacRoberts, B. R., and M. H. MacRoberts. 1997c. Floristics of beech-hardwood forest in east Texas. Phytologia 82(1):20-29.
  • Martin, D. L., and L. M. Smith. 1991. A survey and description of the natural plant communities of the Kisatchie National Forest, Winn and Kisatchie districts. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Baton Rouge, LA. 372 pp.
  • McLeod, C. A. 1975. Southwestern limit of Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. Texas Journal of Science 26:179-184.
  • NatureServe Ecology - Southeastern United States. No date. Unpublished data. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • Nixon, E. S. 1985. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of East Texas. Illustrated by Bruce Lyndon Cummingham. Bruce Lyndon Cummingham Productions, Nacogdoches. 240 pp.
  • Nixon, E. S., K. L. Marietta, R. O. Littlejohn, and H. B. Weyland. 1980a. Woody vegetation of an American beech (Fagus grandifolia) community in eastern Texas. Castanea 45:171-180.
  • Smith, L. M., compiler. 1996a. Natural plant communities in Louisiana currently recognized by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished document. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Baton Rouge. 2 pp.
  • Southeastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Durham, NC.
  • TNHS [Texas Natural History Survey]. No date. Unpublished data. Texas Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy, San Antonio.
  • Turner, R. L., J. E. Van Kley, L. S. Smith, and R. E. Evans. 1999. Ecological classification system for the national forests and adjacent areas of the West Gulf Coastal Plain. The Nature Conservancy, Nacogdoches, TX. 95 pp. plus appendices.
  • USFS [U.S. Forest Service]. 1988. Silvicultural examination and prescription field book. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Atlanta, GA. 35 pp.

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 (