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Group Detail Report: G776
Cephalanthus occidentalis - Vaccinium corymbosum Coastal Plain Shrub Swamp Group

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
These southern wetlands occur in floodplains, flatwoods, and other poorly drained areas and are dominated by broad-leaved deciduous shrubs up to 3 m tall, especially Cephalanthus occidentalis, Vaccinium corymbosum, Vaccinium formosum, or Vaccinium fuscatum.
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Translated Name:Common Buttonbush - Highbush Blueberry Coastal Plain Shrub Swamp Group
Colloquial Name:Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Plain Shrub Swamp
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.
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.
These include deciduous shrub swamps of the Southeastern Coastal Plain.
Synonomy: > Vinelands, woody, Peppervine-greenbrier mottes (Penfound 1967)

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Conner et al. 1981
  • Evans 1991
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017a
  • Foti 1994b
  • Penfound 1967
  • Schafale and Weakley 1990
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
Nations:US
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.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
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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.
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.
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.
Moderate
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.
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
Authors:
C.W. Nordman      Version Date: 13May2015


References:
  • 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.


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 Group 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)

Disclaimer:
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 USNVC.org 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. [http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/vegetation/NVCS_V2_FINAL_2008-02.pdf]

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (amckerrow@usgs.gov)
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber- langendoen@natureserve.org)
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions Scott.Franklin@unco.edu
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (mburke@fs.fed.us)