Common (Translated Scientific) Name: Common Buttonbush - Highbush Blueberry Coastal Plain Shrub Swamp Group
Colloquial Name: Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Plain Shrub Swamp
Hierarchy Level: Group
Type Concept: This deciduous shrub swamp vegetation is up to 3 m tall and is dominated by the broad-leaved deciduous shrubs Cephalanthus occidentalis, Vaccinium corymbosum, Vaccinium formosum, or Vaccinium fuscatum. These wetlands tend to have very few trees, if any. Other plants include shrubs, graminoid herbs, forbs, and aquatic plants. This vegetation occurs in wetland areas including depressions in floodplains and coastal plain flatwoods.
Diagnostic Characteristics: These are deciduous shrub swamps dominated by Cephalanthus occidentalis, deciduous heath shrubs Vaccinium formosum, Vaccinium fuscatum, and Vaccinium corymbosum, or native woody vine-dominated swamp areas.
Rationale for Nominal Species or Physiognomic Features:
Classification Comments: These include deciduous shrub swamps of the Southeastern Coastal Plain.
Similar NVC Types:
G186 Southeastern Coastal Pocosin & Shrub Bog, note:
G037 Coastal Plain Mixed Evergreen Swamp, note:
G752 Northern & Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetland, note:
G777 Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Interdunal Marsh & Prairie, note:
Physiognomy and Structure: This seasonally flooded, cold-deciduous shrub or woody vine-dominated swamp has a canopy less than 5 m in height. The herbaceous layer is sparse or dominated by graminoids. Many examples lack trees, but a sparse canopy of wetland trees (up to 25% cover) may be present.
Floristics: This vegetation includes deciduous shrub swamps dominated by Cephalanthus occidentalis, deciduous heath shrubs such as Vaccinium formosum, Vaccinium fuscatum, and Vaccinium corymbosum, and floodplain vegetation dominated by woody vines, including Ampelopsis arborea, Berchemia scandens, Bignonia capreolata, Brunnichia ovata, Campsis radicans, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Smilax rotundifolia, Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans, and Vitis rotundifolia.
Dynamics: Inundation is usually continuous throughout the year, but these sites can become dry in mid or late summer or during periods of prolonged drought. Cephalanthus occidentalis is very tolerant of extended periods of inundation which, by slowing canopy closure of trees and maintaining higher light levels, may favor this shrub (Conner et al. 1981). The vine-dominated shrub swamp vegetation occurs in large floodplain canopy gaps, and is often in disturbed floodplain areas, such as from extreme floods, tornados, hurricanes, ice-storm damage or areas which have been logged. These woody vine-dominated areas can have reduced regeneration of floodplain trees, due to competition with the vines.
Environmental Description: This shrub swamp occupies shallow-water depressions, oxbow ponds, sinkhole ponds, and backwater sloughs of stream and river floodplains throughout swampy forested areas in the southeastern United States. Inundation is usually continuous throughout the year, but these sites can become dry in mid or late summer or during periods of prolonged drought. Cephalanthus occidentalis is very tolerant of extended periods of inundation which, by slowing canopy closure of trees and maintaining higher light levels, may favor this shrub (Conner et al. 1981). Soils can vary in texture from clays to sands, with organic horizons overlying these soils. Heath swamps occur in depression wetlands.
Geographic Range: This vegetation occurs in the southeastern and south-central United States, from Oklahoma and Texas to Ohio, Georgia, Florida and New England, in the coastal plain or adjacent ecoregions.
States/Provinces: AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL?, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA?, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA
|US Forest Service Ecoregions (2007)|
Northeastern Mixed Forest Province
Predicted or probable
Western Unglaciated Allegheny Plateau Section
Predicted or probable
Omernik Ecoregions: 32:C, 33:C, 34:C, 35:C, 36:C, 37:C, 39:C, 45:C, 59:C, 63:C, 64:C, 65:C, 66:C, 67:C, 68:C, 70:C, 71:C, 72:C, 73:C, 74:C, 75:C, 84:C
Confidence Level: Moderate
Confidence Level Comments:
Synonomy: > Vinelands, woody, Peppervine-greenbrier mottes (Penfound 1967)
Concept Author(s): C. Nordman, in Faber-Langendoen et al. (2013)
Author of Description: C.W. Nordman
Version Date: 13May2015
- Conner, W. H., J. G. Gosselink, and R. T. Parrondo. 1981. Comparison of the vegetation of three Louisiana swamp sites with different flooding regimes. American Journal of Botany 68:320-331.
- Evans, M. 1991. Kentucky ecological communities. Draft report to the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. 19 pp.
- 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]
- Foti, T., compiler. 1994b. Natural vegetation classification system of Arkansas, draft five. Unpublished document. Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Little Rock. 8 pp.
- Penfound, W. T. 1967. A physiognomic classification of vegetation in conterminous United States. Botanical Review 33:289-320.
- Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.