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III.C.2.N.a. Mixed evergreen - cold-deciduous shrubland - I. Forest 10 I. A n a. Lowland tropical or subtropical...

III.C.2.N.a. Mixed evergreen - cold-deciduous shrubland

A.1050 Kalmia latifolia - Gaylussacia baccata Shrubland Alliance


Mountain Laurel - Black Huckleberry Shrubland Alliance

Alliance Concept



Summary:

Mixed deciduous-evergreen shrublands of the central Appalachian Mountains, ranging south into the Cumberlands of Kentucky, dominated by various mixtures of shrubs, especially Kalmia latifolia and Gaylussacia baccata.

Environment:



Vegetation:



Dynamics:



Similar Alliances:



Similar Alliance Comments:



Alliance Distribution



Range:

This alliance is currently known from Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia and may also be found in surrounding states.

Nations:

US

Subnations:

KY, MD?, NC?, PA?, TN, VA, WV

TNC Ecoregions:

50:C, 51:C, 59:C

USFS Ecoregions:

221Hc:CCC, 221He:CCC, M221Aa:CCC, M221Ab:CCP, M221Ba:CCC, M221Bc:CCC, M221Bd:CCP, M221Da:CCC, M221Db:CCC, M221Dc:CCC

Federal Lands:

NPS (Big South Fork, Blue Ridge Parkway, Cumberland Gap, Obed, Shenandoah); USFS (Daniel Boone, George Washington, Jefferson)

Alliance Sources



Author(s):

A.S. Weakley

References:


[CEGL008508] Photinia melanocarpa - Gaylussacia baccata / Carex pensylvanica Shrubland


Translated Name:

Black Chokeberry - Black Huckleberry / Pennsylvania Sedge Shrubland

Common Name:

High-Elevation Outcrop Barren (Black Chokeberry Igneous / Metamorphic Type)



Ecological System(s):

Central Appalachian Pine-Oak Rocky Woodland (CES202.600)

Southern Appalachian Grass and Shrub Bald (CES202.294)



Southern and Central Appalachian Mafic Glade and Barrens (CES202.348)

Status:

Standard

Circumscription Confidence:

3 - Weak

Concept Author(s):

K.D. Patterson and G.P. Fleming

Element Concept



Global Summary:

This community type is known from scattered localities along nearly the full length of the Blue Ridge in Virginia and could potentially occur in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This vegetation type is associated with medium- to high-elevation exposed outcrops of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including metabasalt (greenstone), porphyritic leucocharnockite, amphibolite, and rhyolite. Elevation ranges from about 1030-1400 m (3400-4600 feet), but occurrences as low as 730 m (2400 feet) have been observed in the northern Virginia Blue Ridge. Habitats are typically on strongly convex, upper slopes and rocky summits with west to northwest or flat aspects. The community is a patchwork of shrub thickets, small herbaceous mats, and exposed, lichen-covered rock surfaces. Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa) is the dominant shrub, or is codominant with Gaylussacia baccata, Hamamelis virginiana, Smilax tamnoides, and/or Kalmia latifolia. Minor woody components include Sorbus americana, Rhododendron catawbiense, and Menziesia pilosa, as well as severely stunted Betula alleghaniensis and Quercus rubra.

Environmental Description



USFWS Wetland System:



Shenandoah National Park Environment:

Sites in Shenandoah National Park occur on medium- to high-elevation exposed, west-facing clifftops of Catoctin metabasalt (greenstone), but could potentially occur on similar outcrops of granitic composition. Elevations range from 880 to 1070 m (2900 to 3500 feet). Habitats have very high cover of exposed bedrock and boulders, with thin veneers of moss, lichens, and extremely acidic, infertile soil.

Global Environment:

This vegetation type is associated with medium- to high-elevation exposed outcrops of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including metabasalt (greenstone), porphyritic leucocharnockite, amphibolite, and rhyolite. The elevation range of plot-sampled stands is from about 884 to 1400 m (2900-4600 feet), but occurrences as low as 730 m (2400 feet) have been observed in the northern Virginia Blue Ridge. Habitats are typically on strongly convex, upper slopes and rocky summits with west to northwest or flat aspects. Surface cover of bedrock and loose boulders in plot-sampled stands averages 80%, with mean lichen cover of 44% on these rocks. Soil development and moisture potential at these sites are minimal, and habitats may also be subject to severe winter temperatures, high winds, and ice.

Vegetation Description



Shenandoah National Park Vegetation:

Composition of stands in the park is similar to the Global Vegetation description, except that Rhododendron catawbiense, Paronychia argyrocoma, and Heuchera villosa are absent. Wind-dwarfed Quercus rubra and Betula alleghaniensis occur on the edges of the outcrops. Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa) and Gaylussacia baccata are codominant shrubs at all sites; Spiraea alba var. latifolia codominates at one site. Rubus allegheniensis, Hamamelis virginiana, and stunted Betula lenta also occur. The herbaceous component is sparse, with Hylotelephium telephioides (= Sedum telephioides), Carex pensylvanica, and Solidago simplex var. randii the most frequent and abundant species. Forest herbs such as Amianthium muscitoxicum, Aralia nudicaulis, and Maianthemum canadense frequently occur in deep organic mats in the denser shrub thickets.

Global Vegetation:

The community is a patchwork of shrub thickets, small herbaceous mats, and exposed, lichen-covered rock surfaces. Photinia melanocarpa (= Aronia melanocarpa) is the dominant shrub, or is codominant with Gaylussacia baccata, Hamamelis virginiana, Smilax tamnoides, and/or Kalmia latifolia. Minor woody components include Sorbus americana, Rhododendron catawbiense, and Menziesia pilosa, as well as severely stunted Betula alleghaniensis and Quercus rubra. The most frequent herbaceous species are Carex pensylvanica, Saxifraga michauxii, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Polypodium appalachianum, Agrostis perennans, Paronychia argyrocoma, Solidago simplex var. randii, Hylotelephium telephioides (= Sedum telephioides), Heuchera villosa, Campanula divaricata, and Danthonia spicata. Species richness of plot-sampled stands ranges from 12 to 37 taxa per 100 square meters (mean = 22).

Global Dynamics:



Shenandoah National Park Floristic Composition



Species Name Stratum Lifeform Dom Char Const

Quercus rubra Tree canopy Broad-leaved deciduous tree . X .

Gaylussacia baccata Shrub/sapling (tall & short) Broad-leaved deciduous shrub . X .

Photinia melanocarpa Shrub/sapling (tall & short) Broad-leaved deciduous shrub . X .

Sorbus americana Shrub/sapling (tall & short) Broad-leaved deciduous shrub . X .

Sedum telephioides Herb (field) Forb . X .

Solidago simplex var. randii Herb (field) Forb . X .

Carex pensylvanica Herb (field) Graminoid . X .

Global Floristic Composition



Species Name Stratum Lifeform Dom Char Const

Gaylussacia baccata Shrub/sapling (tall & short) Broad-leaved deciduous shrub . X .

Photinia melanocarpa Shrub/sapling (tall & short) Broad-leaved deciduous shrub . X .

Smilax tamnoides Shrub/sapling (tall & short) Vine/Liana . X .

Paronychia argyrocoma Herb (field) Forb . X .

Saxifraga michauxii Herb (field) Forb . X .

Sedum telephioides Herb (field) Forb . X .

Solidago simplex var. randii Herb (field) Forb . X .

Carex pensylvanica Herb (field) Graminoid . X .

Higher Taxon Note

Species Name GRank Animal Note (specify Rare (geog area), Invasive, Animal, or Other)

Global Other Noteworthy Species



Species Name GRank Animal Note (specify Rare (geog area), Invasive, Animal, or Other)

Huperzia appalachiana - P VA S2

Minuartia groenlandica - P VA S1

Sibbaldiopsis tridentata - P VA S2

Conservation Status Rank



Global Rank & Reasons:

G1? (20-Jun-2001). This is a naturally rare, small-patch vegetation type limited by special habitat requirements. Currently, there are only 10 known stands of this vegetation, in aggregate covering less than 4 hectares (10 acres). Additional occurrences are likely but would not significantly increase the aggregate acreage of the type.

Related Concepts



Global Similar Associations:



Global Related Concepts:



  • Hamamelis virginiana - Rhododendron catawbiense - Physocarpus opulifolius Association (Rawinski and Wieboldt 1993) ?

  • Photinia melanocarpa - Gaylussacia baccata / Carex pensylvanica Shrubland (Fleming and Coulling 2001) = Saxifraga michauxii - Solidago randii - Sibbaldiopsis tridentata Herbaceous Vegetation (Coulling and Rawinski 1999) ?

Classification & Other Comments



Global Classification Comments:

Additional data collection from known stands that have not been plot-sampled would increase the robustness of this type's classification. Examples of this community should be sought outside the Virginia Blue Ridge.

Element Distribution



Shenandoah National Park Range:

Seven locations for this vegetation type are currently known in the park: on Mount Marshall and Pass Mountain in the northern section, on Bearfence, Franklin Cliffs, and Hawksbill in the central section, and on Hightop in the southern section. Additional patches are likely on higher-elevation metabasalt and granitic outcrops.

Global Range:

This community type is known from scattered localities along nearly the full length of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. It is of potential occurrence in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Nations:

US

States/Provinces:

MD?, NC?, PA?, VA:S1, WV?

TNC Ecoregions:

51:C, 59:C

TNC Ecoregion Comments:



USFS Ecoregions:

M221Da:CCC, M221Db:CCC, M221Dc:CCC

Federal Lands:

NPS (Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah); USFS (George Washington)

Element Sources



Shenandoah National Park Inventory Notes:

Represented by three plots from the park.

Shenandoah National Park Plots:

NH Plots: SHNP038, SHNP039, SHNP662.

Shenandoah National Park Description Author(s):

G. Fleming

Global Description Author(s):

G. Fleming

References

(enter Reference Code when known, otherwise, enter Short Citation; enter full citation if reference is new)

Reference (*=concept ref) name classif related char rank eospec eorank manage image

Coulling and Rawinski 1999 . X X X . . . . .

Fleming and Coulling 2001* X° X X X . . . . .

Fleming et al. 2001 . . . X . . . . .

Fleming et al. 2004 . X . . . . . . .

Rawinski and Wieboldt 1993 . X X X . . . . .


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