Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Central Interior-Appalachian Riverscour Barrens & Prairie Group
Colloquial Name: Central Interior-Appalachian Riverscour Barrens & Prairie
Hierarchy Level: Group
Type Concept: This group consists of riverbank "prairies" and riverine shrublands often occurring as distinct zones, maintained by flash flooding events on larger rivers of the south-central portion of the United States, including the Central and Southern Appalachians, Interior Low Plateau, Ozark and Ouachita regions. Stands are scoured by floods that may reach well above normal summer water levels. Grasses typical of midwestern prairies are characteristic of this group, including Andropogon gerardii, Panicum virgatum, Schizachyrium scoparium, and/or Sorghastrum nutans. Typical shrubs may include Alnus serrulata, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Hamamelis virginiana, Ilex vomitoria, and Physocarpus opulifolius. The substrate includes gravelly streambanks, cobbles, as well as exposed bedrock that ranges from acidic to calcareous. The vegetation is highly variable in composition and structure, with plants often restricted to boulder cracks and shallow soil pockets.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Riverside grasslands of south-central U.S. large rivers characterized by Andropogon gerardii, Panicum virgatum, Schizachyrium scoparium, and/or Sorghastrum nutans.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: No Data Available
Similar NVC Types:
G754 Northeastern Riverscour Barrens & Prairie, note: shares many of the same character species but occurs to the north.
Physiognomy and Structure: Vegetation structure is variable but is often dominated by tall grasses and forbs; vegetation exhibits zonation, reflecting different hydroperiods with distance from the river channel. Vegetation may be well-developed, but ranges to very sparse. Shrubs are common to the landward side of the channel.
Floristics: Grasses typical of midwestern prairies are characteristic of this group, including Andropogon gerardii, Panicum virgatum, Schizachyrium scoparium, and/or Sorghastrum nutans. Common forbs may include Baptisia tinctoria, Hypoxis hirsuta, Liatris scariosa var. scariosa, Marshallia grandiflora, Solidago simplex var. racemosa, and Viola pedata. Typical shrubs may include Alnus serrulata, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Hamamelis virginiana, Ilex vomitoria, and Physocarpus opulifolius. Scattered woody vegetation, usually stunted and flood-battered, may include Platanus occidentalis, Betula nigra, or Salix nigra.
Dynamics: This group is subjected to a high degree of natural disturbance caused by frequent and high-energy alluvial flooding. Soils are unable to develop, as flooding events remove fine particulates, leaving the gravel, cobble, or bedrock substrate, with residual soils usually confined to cracks and crevices. Substrates range from wet to dry, depending on height and distance from the river channel. Flooding may occur several times a year, with long periods of inundation during the dormant season, but during the growing season, flooding is of limited duration and sites are generally somewhat well-drained and seasonally dry.
Environmental Description: This group occupies a generally narrow zone adjacent to large rivers; frequent and substantial flood scouring prevents sediment accumulation except in cracks and crevices. The substrate ranges from sand to gravel to cobble to bedrock, depending on the degree and intensity of flooding.
Geographic Range: This group occurs in the south-central U.S., ranging from the Central and Southern Appalachians to the Interior Low Plateau, Ozarks, and Ouachitas.
States/Provinces: AL, AR, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MO, NC, OH, OK, PA, TN, VA, WV
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Concept Lineage: G753 split from G194 (LAS 3-26-13)
Synonomy: > Panicum virgatum - Andropogon gerardii Gravel Wash Herbaceous Vegetation (Vanderhorst and Streets 2006)
> Riverside Prairie (Fleming et al. 2013)
Concept Author(s): J. Vanderhorst and B.P. Streets (2006); G.P. Fleming et al. (2013)
Author of Description: L.A. Sneddon
Acknowledgements: This group was substantially modified based on comments provided by Chris Lea.
Version Date: 20May2015
- Faber-Langendoen, D., J. Drake, S. Gawler, M. Hall, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, L. Sneddon, K. Schulz, J. Teague, M. Russo, K. Snow, and P. Comer, editors. 2010-2017a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
- 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., K. D. Patterson, K. Taverna, and P. P. Coulling. 2013. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.6. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division Richmond, VA. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/natural_communities/ncintro.shtml]
- Nelson, P. W. 1985. The terrestrial natural communities of Missouri. Missouri Natural Areas Committee, Jefferson City. 197 pp. Revised edition, 1987.
- 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.