Invalid Unit Specified
CEGL006497 Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Carex tribuloides - Carex radiata - (Carex squarrosa) Wet Forest

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Type Concept Sentence:
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Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Pin Oak - Swamp White Oak / Blunt Broom Sedge - Eastern Star Sedge - (Squarrose Sedge) Wet Forest
Colloquial Name: Northern Piedmont-Central Appalachian Pin Oak Floodplain Swamp Forest
Hierarchy Level: Association
Type Concept: This association occupies poorly drained backswamps, sloughs, low flats, and depressions in the floodplains of streams and small rivers in the Piedmont of Virginia and Maryland, and mountain valleys of Virginia and West Virginia. It is especially common in the broad, clay-rich floodplains of the northern Virginia Culpeper Basin. Shallow seasonal flooding and hummock-and-hollow microtopography are characteristic of most sites, with typical flooding depth of 20 to 25 cm in the hollows. Soils are typically heavy, white- or orange-mottled clay loams that are strongly acidic with moderately low calcium, high magnesium, and intermediate total base saturation levels. Vegetation is a closed forest with mixed overstory dominance by Quercus palustris, Quercus bicolor, Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, and Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Ulmus americana, Acer rubrum, and inconstantly Acer negundo are common understory trees. Climbing lianas of Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Smilax rotundifolia, and Vitis vulpina are plentiful. The shrub layer is typically open to sparse but can include patches or scattered individuals of Carpinus caroliniana, Viburnum prunifolium, Ilex verticillata, Viburnum dentatum, Cornus amomum, Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis, and Lindera benzoin. The herb layer is graminoid-rich with Carex tribuloides, Carex squarrosa, Carex radiata, Cinna arundinacea, and/or Scirpus polyphyllus forming dominance-patches. Saururus cernuus and Carex typhina also occasionally exhibit patch-dominance but are very inconstant in the type. Other characteristic herbs include Arisaema triphyllum, Boehmeria cylindrica, Carex intumescens, Carex lupulina, Carex stipata var. stipata, Galium obtusum, Geum canadense, Glyceria striata, Impatiens capensis, Lycopus virginicus, Leersia virginica, Lysimachia ciliata, Polygonum punctatum, Ranunculus hispidus var. caricetorum, Scutellaria lateriflora, Symphyotrichum lateriflorum, and Symplocarpus foetidus. Lysimachia nummularia, Microstegium vimineum, and Polygonum cespitosum var. longisetum can be problematic invasive exotics in this association.
Diagnostic Characteristics: No Data Available
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: Classification of this association is supported by analysis of a 1250-plot regional dataset assembled for the National Capital Region vegetation mapping project. In that analysis, this type was represented by 13 Virginia and Maryland plots. Field-collected qualitative data also exist for additional Virginia sites. This association is similar to the partly sympatric Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Viburnum prunifolium / Leersia virginica - Impatiens capensis Wet Forest (CEGL004643), which occurs in sluggish, non-alluvial upland depressions and meandering, low-relief headwater stream bottoms with little, if any, active alluvial deposition. The relationship between these types is somewhat problematic. In their typical floristic expressions and habitats (i.e., floodplain backswamps vs. isolated upland basins), the two types are quite distinct. However, because of very low topographic relief in the Culpeper Basin, there is considerable ambiguity between alluvial and non-alluvial landforms, and composition of stands can be a continuous gradient between the typical expressions. The two groups do not separate well in cluster analysis, but do separate convincingly in ordinations studies. Ultimately, very intensive head-to-head analytical comparisons support the recognition of two types. However, some individual stands will be hard to assign by subjective field assessment. Nine West Virginia plots are attributed to this association but were not included in the National Capital Region analysis. Characteristic species in West Virginia include Quercus bicolor, Nyssa sylvatica, Symplocarpus foetidus, and Carex intumescens.
Similar NVC Types:
Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Viburnum prunifolium / Leersia virginica - Impatiens capensis Wet Forest, note: non-alluvial upland depression swamp of the Maryland and northern Virginia Piedmont.
Quercus palustris - (Fraxinus nigra) / Lindera benzoin / Carex bromoides Wet Forest, note: high-elevation (>1005 m [3300 feet]) swamp known from Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
Quercus palustris - (Quercus lyrata) - Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Acer rubrum / Carex spp. Floodplain Forest, note: similar floodplain swamp in Arkansas.
Acer (rubrum, saccharinum) - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Ulmus americana / Boehmeria cylindrica Floodplain Forest, note: similar swamp forest with overlapping range in the Piedmont and Central Appalachians. On average, it occupies more deeply flooded habitats on somewhat larger streams. It lacks a major oak component in the overstory. See comments under Dynamics. Some examples of this community along the Potomac in the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park have equal dominance of Quercus palustris and Acer saccharinum (AA plots CHF196, CHF 218, CHF 213).
Quercus palustris - (Quercus bicolor) - Acer rubrum / Vaccinium corymbosum / Osmunda cinnamomea Wet Forest, note: floristically depauperate forest of acidic depression swamps from New Hampshire to northern Virginia.
Quercus phellos - Quercus (palustris, lyrata) / Ilex decidua / Carex typhina Floodplain Forest, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: No Data Available
Floristics: Vegetation is a closed forest with mixed overstory dominance by Quercus palustris, Quercus bicolor, Acer rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, and Fraxinus pennsylvanica. In addition, Ulmus americana, Quercus imbricaria, Platanus occidentalis, and Quercus shumardii are minor overstory associates. Ulmus americana, Acer rubrum, and inconstantly Acer negundo are common understory trees. Climbing lianas of Toxicodendron radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Smilax rotundifolia, and Vitis vulpina are plentiful. The shrub layer is typically open to sparse but can include patches or scattered individuals of Carpinus caroliniana, Viburnum prunifolium, Ilex verticillata, Viburnum dentatum, Cornus amomum (= ssp. amomum), Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (= Sambucus canadensis), and Lindera benzoin. The herb layer is moderately dense and graminoid-rich with Carex tribuloides, Carex squarrosa, Carex radiata, Cinna arundinacea, and/or Scirpus polyphyllus forming dominance-patches. Saururus cernuus and Carex typhina also occasionally exhibit patch-dominance in the deepest hollows but are very inconstant in the type. Other characteristic herbs include Boehmeria cylindrica, Carex intumescens, Carex lupulina, Carex stipata var. stipata, Geum canadense, Glyceria striata, Impatiens capensis, Lycopus virginicus, Leersia virginica, Lysimachia ciliata, Polygonum punctatum, Ranunculus hispidus var. caricetorum, Symplocarpus foetidus, and Scutellaria lateriflora. Lysimachia nummularia, Microstegium vimineum, and Polygonum cespitosum var. longisetum can be problematic invasives in this association.
Dynamics: The habitat occupied by this association limits floristic composition to species with relatively high tolerances for dense, poorly drained soils and prolonged inundation. The relationship between this type and similar types dominated by maples and ash (e.g., ~Acer (rubrum, saccharinum) - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Ulmus americana / Boehmeria cylindrica Floodplain Forest (CEGL006548)$$) is complex and not fully understood. Field observations (VDNH unpubl. data) of mean flooding depths in various communities suggest that some stands of maple-ash swamp occupy habitats that are too deeply flooded to support hydrophytic oaks. The clearest support for this hypothesis is found in large floodplains that support both types of swamp along an apparent hydrologic gradient. At other sites, especially on smaller streams, it appears that these communities may have a successional relationship in which cut-over or formerly cleared stands of oak-dominated swamp forest have regenerated in stands dominated by Fraxinus pennsylvanica and Acer rubrum. Along the Potomac in the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park, there are examples with even dominance of Quercus palustris and Acer saccharinum classified as Acer (rubrum, saccharinum) - Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Ulmus americana / Boehmeria cylindrica Forest (CEGL006548).
Environmental Description: This forest community occupies poorly drained backswamps, sloughs, low flats, and depressions in the floodplains of streams and small rivers. It is known from scattered locations in the Piedmont of Virginia and Maryland, and mountain valleys of Virginia and West Virginia but favors the broad, clay-rich floodplains of the northern Virginia Culpeper Basin. Shallow seasonal flooding and hummock-and-hollow microtopography are characteristic of most sites, with typical flooding depth of 20 to 25 cm in the hollows. Habitats are probably completely inundated by temporary but major floods every 1-3 years. They typically have shallow, standing water for much of the winter and spring, but are usually well drawn-down by mid-summer. Soils are typically heavy, white- or orange-mottled clay loams that are strongly acidic with moderately low calcium, high magnesium, and intermediate total base saturation levels.
Geographic Range: This community type is known from the Piedmont of Maryland and Virginia, the Ridge and Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, and the Greenbrier and Tygart valleys in West Virginia, but is likely to range into adjacent regions. It is relatively common in the Culpeper (Mesozoic) Basin of northern Virginia and adjacent Montgomery County, Maryland, but appears to be a more isolated, smaller patch community elsewhere.
Nations: US
States/Provinces: MD, 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
US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name: Southeastern Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 231    Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Ridge and Valley Section
Section Code: M221A     Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Omernik Ecoregions:
Confidence Level: Low
Confidence Level Comments:
Grank: G3G4
Greasons: This association is uncommon but not rare (probably >300 occurrences by current standards) and likely occurs beyond its known range. It has a restricted geographic distribution but is locally common within that area. The quality of occurrences and long-term viability of habitats are threatened, if not already impacted, over most of the documented range by development, agriculture, and invasive weeds. More inventory and data are needed to refine the rank.
Concept Lineage:
Predecessors:
Obsolete Names:
Obsolete Parents:
Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor Flatwoods & Swamp Forest Alliance
Synonomy: > Quercus bicolor - Nyssa sylvatica / Ilex verticillata / Symplocarpus foetidus Forested Swamp [Mountain Valley Oak Swamp] (Vanderhorst 2016b)
< Quercus palustris - Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Saururus cernuus - Cinna arundinacea - Carex tribuloides Forest (Fleming and Weber 2003)
= Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor - Fraxinus pennsylvanica / Carex tribuloides - Carex squarrosa Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2004)
= Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor - Ulmus americana / Carex tribuloides - Carex squarrosa Forest (Fleming and Patterson 2003)
= Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Cinna arundinacea - Carex tribuloides - Carex squarrosa Forest (Fleming 2002b)
= Quercus palustris - Quercus bicolor / Cinna arundinacea - Carex tribuloides - Carex squarrosa Forest (Fleming 2002a)
< Piedmont / Mountain Swamp Forest (Fleming pers. comm.)
Concept Author(s): G.P. Fleming (2002b)
Author of Description: G.P. Fleming
Acknowledgements:
Version Date: 20Dec2018
References:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002a. Ecological communities of the Bull Run Mountains, Virginia: Baseline vegetation and floristic data for conservation planning and natural area stewardship. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-12. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 274 pp. plus appendices.
  • Fleming, G. P. 2002b. Preliminary classification of Piedmont & Inner Coastal Plain vegetation types in Virginia. Natural Heritage Technical Report 02-14. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 29 pp.
  • Fleming, G. P., and J. T. Weber. 2003. Inventory, classification, and map of forested ecological communities at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia. Unpublished report submitted to the National Park Service. Natural Heritage Technical Report 03-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 101 pp. plus appendix.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2003. Preliminary vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks. Regional (VA-WVA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2003. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2004. Natural community inventory of selected areas in the Northern Virginia Culpeper Basin, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier, and Culpeper counties. Unpublished report submitted to the Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter. Natural Heritage Technical Report 04-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 21 pp. plus appendices.
  • Fleming, G. P., K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2017. The natural communities of Virginia: A classification of ecological community groups and community types. Third approximation. Version 3.0. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/natural-communities/]
  • Fleming, G. P., K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2007b. Vegetation classification for the National Capitol Region parks, eastern region. Regional (VA-MD-DC) analysis prepared for NatureServe and USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, March 2007. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond.
  • Fleming, Gary P. Personal communication. Ecologist, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA.
  • 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.
  • Vanderhorst, J. 2016b. Wild vegetation of West Virginia: Bottomland oak swamps. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program. [http://wvdnr.gov/Wildlife/Factsheets/OakSwamps.shtm]
  • WVNHP [West Virginia Natural Heritage Program]. No date. Unpublished data. West Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Elkins.