Invalid Unit Specified
CEGL006299 Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Chestnut Oak - (Scarlet Oak, Northern Red Oak) / Mountain Laurel / Blue Ridge Blueberry Forest
Colloquial Name: Central Appalachian-Northern Piedmont Chestnut Oak Forest
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This chestnut oak forest occurs at relatively low elevations (mostly <900 m) in the Central Appalachians and adjacent areas (e.g., northern Piedmont), in association with dry, acidic, infertile soils on middle and upper slopes. The canopy, which may be rather short, is strongly dominated by Quercus prinus. The most characteristic canopy associates are Quercus coccinea, which varies from sparse to codominant, and Quercus rubra. Minor associates frequently include Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Nyssa sylvatica, Sassafras albidum, and/or Robinia pseudoacacia. Root sprouts of Castanea dentata are present in some areas. Acer rubrum and Nyssa sylvatica are often abundant in the understory tree layers. Tall shrubs include Kalmia latifolia (usually dominant), Viburnum acerifolium, and Rhododendron periclymenoides. The short-shrub layer is well-developed and includes Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, and Gaylussacia baccata, any one of which can exhibit patch-dominance. The herb layer generally has sparse cover but sometimes includes scattered individuals of Aureolaria laevigata, Chimaphila maculata, Comandra umbellata, Cypripedium acaule, Danthonia spicata, Epigaea repens, Gaultheria procumbens, Hieracium venosum, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Medeola virginiana, Monotropa uniflora, Pteridium aquilinum, and/or Uvularia puberula. Strong dominance of Quercus prinus in the canopy, strong dominance of Kalmia latifolia in the tall-shrub layer, and Vaccinium pallidum present and often abundant as a short shrub are diagnostics for this type.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: This community can be readily identified by its dry, infertile sites and quite species-poor vegetation overwhelmingly dominated by Quercus prinus and Kalmia latifolia (each averaging 25 to 50% cover in more than 80 Virginia and Maryland plot samples), with Acer rubrum and Nyssa sylvatica abundant in the subcanopy. Two variants of the type have been detected in quantitative analyses: (1) a variant with Quercus rubra as the principal associate of Quercus prinus, with Betula lenta and Hamamelis virginiana often important in the subcanopy and shrub layers, typically occurring on sheltered slopes, often with northerly aspects; and (2) a variant with Quercus coccinea as the principal associate of Quercus prinus, occurring with Gaylussacia baccata and Rhododendron periclymenoides, typically on warmer, more open and exposed sites, especially those with a more discernible history of heavy cutting and fire within the last 100 years. However, these variants and their habitats are fully intergradational and have few other floristic attributes that could be considered reliably "diagnostic." This association is the Central Appalachian analogue of Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest (CEGL006271). It is compositionally similar but generally lacks Southern Appalachian species such as Galax urceolata, Oxydendrum arboreum, and Leucothoe recurva. At the southern end of its range, there is a transition zone and many stands could be assigned equally well to either type.
Similar NVC Types:
Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Hamamelis virginiana Forest, note: occurs on submesic sites.
Quercus alba - Quercus (coccinea, velutina, prinus) / Gaylussacia baccata Forest, note: primarily of the Piedmont.
Quercus prinus - Quercus rubra / Vaccinium pallidum - (Rhododendron periclymenoides) Forest, note: occurs on subxeric sites.
Quercus (prinus, coccinea) / Kalmia latifolia / (Galax urceolata, Gaultheria procumbens) Forest, note: of the Southern Appalachians.
Quercus prinus - Quercus (rubra, velutina) / Vaccinium (angustifolium, pallidum) Forest, note: northern; at high elevations at the southern edge of its range.
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: The canopy is strongly dominated by Quercus prinus or, less frequently, by combinations of Quercus prinus and other oaks. The most frequent canopy associates are Quercus coccinea, which varies from sparse to codominant, and Quercus rubra. Minor associates frequently include Quercus velutina, Quercus alba, Nyssa sylvatica, Betula lenta, and Sassafras albidum. Acer rubrum and Nyssa sylvatica are usually abundant in the understory tree layers. Tall shrubs Kalmia latifolia (usually dominant), Viburnum acerifolium, and Rhododendron periclymenoides are often associated, sometimes at low cover. The short-shrub layer is well-developed and includes Vaccinium pallidum, Vaccinium stamineum, and Gaylussacia baccata, any one of which can exhibit patch-dominance. Occasional stands lack Kalmia latifolia and have an entirely deciduous, ericaceous shrub layer. The herb layer generally has sparse cover but sometimes includes Aureolaria laevigata, Chimaphila maculata, Comandra umbellata, Cypripedium acaule, Danthonia spicata, Epigaea repens, Gaultheria procumbens, Hieracium venosum, Lysimachia quadrifolia, Medeola virginiana, Monotropa uniflora, Pteridium aquilinum, and Uvularia puberula. Strong dominance of Quercus prinus in the canopy, strong dominance of Kalmia latifolia in the tall-shrub layer, and Vaccinium pallidum present and often abundant as a short shrub are diagnostics for this type.
Dynamics: Windthrow, fire, and ice storms are common natural disturbances in these habitats. Evidence of past fires is present at many sites, and periodic fire appears to be an important ecological factor in oak regeneration. Development of Acer rubrum-dominated understories in these forests is widely considered to be the result of drastic reductions of fire frequencies or exclusion of fire altogether. Castanea dentata was formerly an important canopy species in these forests prior to chestnut blight.
Environmental Description: This association is found on acidic, infertile soils on low-elevation (mostly <900 m), middle and upper slopes (occasionally on lower slopes). Sites are often exposed, or at least on convex slopes, and moisture potential is typically subxeric to xeric. Sandy loam soils, often stony, are typical. Some exposed bedrock is often present. Many sites have a history of occasional or frequent fires.
Geographic Range: This association is currently described from the Central Appalachians and northern part of the Piedmont in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. In northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland, it occasionally occurs at the extreme western edge of the Coastal Plain on steep ravine slopes of the fall zone. It also occurs at the northern periphery of the Southern Blue Ridge near Roanoke, Virginia.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: DC, DE, MD, PA, 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: Extensive examples occur in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Synonomy: = Quercus montana - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina) / Kalmia latifolia - Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming 2002b)
= Quercus montana - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus velutina) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming 2002a)
> Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Gaultheria procumbens Association (Rawinski et al. 1994)
> Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Gaylussacia baccata Forest (Fleming and Moorhead 2000)
> Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Association, pro parte (Rawinski et al. 1996)
= Quercus montana / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2003)
= Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming 2007)
= Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Vanderhorst and Streets 2006)
= Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Taverna 2006)
= Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2009a)
= Quercus prinus - (Quercus coccinea, Quercus rubra) / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming et al. 2007b)
> Quercus prinus / Kalmia latifolia - Rhododendron periclymenoides Forest (Fleming and Coulling 2001) [VA Srank = S5]
= Quercus prinus / Kalmia latifolia / Vaccinium pallidum Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2003)
> Quercus prinus / Smilax rotundifolia - Polypodium virginianum Subassociation (Fleming and Moorhead 1996)
= Xeric oak - evergreen heath forest (Vanderhorst 2001a)
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group, mod S. Neid and G.P. Fleming
Author of Description: S. Neid, G.P. Fleming, E. Largay and S.C. Gawler
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 22Feb2010
References:
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