Invalid Unit Specified
Association Detail Report: CEGL006840
Spartina patens - Schoenoplectus pungens - Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens - Centella erecta Marsh

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
Collapse All::Expand All
Translated Name:Saltmeadow Cordgrass - Common Threesquare - Eastern Marsh Fern - Erect Centella Marsh
Colloquial Name:Mid-Atlantic Mixed Grassland Interdunal Swale
This interdunal wetland association has been documented from far southeastern Virginia. It occurs in seasonally flooded interdunal swales that experience longer hydroperiods than do other interdunal swale associations on the mid-Atlantic. It is characterized by relatively high species diversity, and is dominated by Centella erecta, Spartina patens, and/or Schoenoplectus pungens. Thelypteris palustris is characteristic. Other associates may include Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Polygonum punctatum, Proserpinaca palustris, and others.
No Data Available
The classification is based on analysis of a 211-plot dataset covering varied beach and dune vegetation across the Virginia coast. This association is supported by 15 plot samples and needs critical comparison with data from similar habitats in North Carolina. This group is equivalent to an aggregation of the Scirpus - Hydrocotyle and Spartina - Scirpus communities described from the Back Bay - False Cape area by Tyndall and Levy (1978).
Synonomy: ? Scirpus - Hydrocotyle community (Tyndall and Levy 1978)
? Spartina - Scirpus community (Tyndall and Levy 1978)

Related Type Name:This association is differentiated from Schoenoplectus pungens - Fimbristylis (castanea, caroliniana) Marsh (CEGL004117) by its greater species diversity, occurrence on wetter sites, and abundance of Centella erecta.

Short Citation:
  • Eastern Ecology Working Group n.d.
  • Fleming and Patterson 2011a
  • Tyndall and Levy 1978
States/Provinces:NC?, VA
Range:This association is documented from far southeastern Virginia and may also occur in North Carolina.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code:232   Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
Section Name:Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code:232C     Occurrence Status:Confident or certain
No Data Available
This vegetation is dense and stratified, dominated by tall graminoids such as Schoenoplectus pungens, Spartina patens, Saccharum giganteum, Panicum virgatum var. virgatum, and Eleocharis quadrangulata occurring over dense ground cover of Centella erecta and often Hydrocotyle umbellata. Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens and Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis may also be patch-dominant in places. Associated species may include Polygonum punctatum, Proserpinaca palustris, Juncus canadensis, Diodia virginiana, Eupatorium capillifolium, Dichanthelium scoparium, and Panicum verrucosum. Many other herbaceous species occur at low constancy and cover. Patches of Toxicodendron radicans, as well as seedlings or saplings of Diospyros virginiana, Pinus taeda, Salix caroliniana, Populus heterophylla, and Morella cerifera may be present.
This association occurs in seasonally flooded interdunal depressions of large dune systems in the Back Bay - False Cape region of southeastern Virginia. These habitats vary in size from quite small to several acres in size. They are flooded to depths of approximately 25 cm or more in the winter and spring, but gradually draw down and are usually dry by late summer, except in unusually wet years.
Low - Poorly Documented
The swale habitats occupied by this community are vulnerable to damage by foraging feral pigs, which have been established in the False Cape area for many decades.
L.A. Sneddon and G.P. Fleming      Version Date: 15Oct2014

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.
  • 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.
  • Tyndall, R. W., and G. F. Levy. 1978. Plant distribution and succession within interdunal depressions on a Virginia barrier dune system. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 94:1-15.

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 (