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III.A.2.N.i. Saturated temperate broad-leaved evergreen shrubland - I. Forest 10 I. A n a. Lowland tropical or subtropical...

III.A.2.N.i. Saturated temperate broad-leaved evergreen shrubland

A.1906 Morella cerifera Saturated Shrubland Alliance


Wax-myrtle Saturated Shrubland Alliance

Alliance Concept



Summary:

This alliance includes wetland dune swales and other wetland shrubland situations dominated by Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera), including sheltered backdunes, wetland flats, and interdune swales. Associated shrubs may include Baccharis halimifolia, Acer rubrum, Vaccinium formosum, Rosa palustris, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola, and Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica). This shrubland vegetation can form vast thickets in some cases; there may be inclusions of small wetland graminoid-dominated areas. Vines may be frequent and can include Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans, Smilax spp., Vitis spp., and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Associated herbaceous species can include Boehmeria cylindrica, Calystegia sepium, Carex albolutescens, Carex hormathodes, Chasmanthium laxum, Festuca rubra, Galium obtusum, Hydrocotyle spp., Juncus dichotomus, Juncus scirpoides, Leersia virginica, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Panicum spp., Polygonum pensylvanicum, and Woodwardia areolata (in the northern part of the range); and Andropogon glomeratus var. pumilus, Fimbristylis castanea, Hydrocotyle bonariensis, Juncus roemerianus, Muhlenbergia filipes, as well as Spartina patens and Sabatia stellaris (in southern examples). This is maritime shrub vegetation which generally exists in a tension zone between more exposed or active grassland vegetation and more protected and stable maritime forests. Older stands of maritime shrub vegetation ultimately become dominated by stunted and salt-pruned Quercus virginiana. See also the III.A.2.N.c Quercus virginiana - Ilex vomitoria - (Morella cerifera) Shrubland Alliance (A.785), which generally occurs in drier and more exposed sites. Soils are deep sands of stabilized dunes, with limited if any horizon development. An overlying layer of 'muck' is reported in northern examples.

Environment:

This is maritime shrub vegetation which generally exists in a tension zone between more exposed or active grassland vegetation and more protected and stable maritime forests. Older stands of maritime shrub vegetation ultimately become dominated by stunted and salt-pruned Quercus virginiana. Soils are deep sands of stabilized dunes, with limited if any horizon development. An overlying layer of 'muck' is reported in northern examples.

Vegetation:

This alliance includes wetland dune swales and other wetland shrubland situations dominated by Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera), including sheltered backdunes, wetland flats, and interdune swales. Associated shrubs may include Baccharis halimifolia, Acer rubrum, Vaccinium formosum, Rosa palustris, Ilex opaca, Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola, and Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica). This shrubland vegetation can form vast thickets in some cases; there may be inclusions of small wetland graminoid-dominated areas. Vines may be frequent and can include Toxicodendron radicans ssp. radicans, Smilax spp., Vitis spp., and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Associated herbaceous species can include Boehmeria cylindrica, Calystegia sepium, Carex albolutescens, Carex hormathodes, Chasmanthium laxum, Festuca rubra, Galium obtusum, Hydrocotyle spp., Juncus dichotomus, Juncus scirpoides, Leersia virginica, Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis, Panicum spp., Polygonum pensylvanicum, and Woodwardia areolata (in the northern part of the range); and Andropogon glomeratus var. pumilus, Fimbristylis castanea, Hydrocotyle bonariensis, Juncus roemerianus, Muhlenbergia filipes, as well as Spartina patens and Sabatia stellaris (in southern examples).

Dynamics:

Older stands of maritime shrub vegetation ultimately become dominated by stunted and salt-pruned Quercus virginiana.

Similar Alliances:

Juncus dichotomus Seasonally Flooded Herbaceous Alliance (A.1427) Quercus virginiana - Ilex vomitoria - (Morella cerifera) Shrubland Alliance (A.785)--generally occurs in drier and more exposed sites.

Similar Alliance Comments:

Older stands of maritime shrub vegetation ultimately become dominated by stunted and salt-pruned Quercus virginiana.

Alliance Distribution



Range:

This alliance is found in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey.

Nations:

US

Subnations:

DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, NC, NJ, SC, VA

TNC Ecoregions:

31:C, 54:P, 55:C, 56:C, 57:C, 58:C, 62:C

USFS Ecoregions:

232Ab:CPP, 232Ad:CPP, 232Bx:CCC, 232Bz:CCC, 232Cb:CCP, 232Ce:CCC, 232Ch:CCP, 232Ci:CCC, 232E:CC, 232Gb:CCC

Federal Lands:

DOD (Cape Canaveral); NPS (Assateague Island, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Fort Pulaski); USFWS (Back Bay?, Cape Romain?, Chincoteague, Merritt Island?, Pea Island, Prime Hook)

Alliance Sources



Author(s):

A.S. Weakley 9-94, mod. Eastern Ecology Group/Southeastern Ecology Group

References:

Ambrose 1990a, Boule 1979, FNAI 1992a, Higgins et al. 1971, Hill 1986, Klotz 1986, Schafale and Weakley 1990

[CEGL003839] Morella cerifera / Spartina patens Shrubland


Translated Name:

Wax-myrtle / Saltmeadow Cordgrass Shrubland

Common Name:

Atlantic Coast Interdune Swale



Ecological System(s):

Atlantic Coastal Plain Southern Dune and Maritime Grassland (CES203.273)

Atlantic Coastal Plain Northern Dune and Maritime Grassland (CES203.264)



Atlantic Coastal Plain Central Maritime Forest (CES203.261)

Status:

Standard

Circumscription Confidence:

2 - Moderate

Concept Author(s):

A.S. Weakley, mod. J. Teague

Element Concept



Global Summary:

This association occurs in wetland flats, backdunes and interdune swales along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey to Florida. The substrate may be sand or loamy sand, sometimes with a thin layer of organic matter. It occurs beyond the reach of most storm tides but may be impacted by salt spray. The water table may often be less than half a meter below the surface. Canopy closure varies from densely closed to moderately open. This vegetation is dominated by Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera), sometimes intermixed with Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola (from North Carolina and possibly southern Virginia southward), Morella pensylvanica (= Myrica pensylvanica) (from northern North Carolina northward), Rhus copallinum, Baccharis halimifolia, or Ilex vomitoria. The shrub layer can vary from 2-8 m in height. Occasionally, a sparse emergent canopy of trees (such as Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola or Sabal palmetto in the southern parts of the range) may be present. The herbaceous layer is characterized by Spartina patens. Other ground flora associates include Toxicodendron radicans, Panicum virgatum, Andropogon virginicus, Juncus dichotomus, Solidago sempervirens, Smilax spp., Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis spp., and Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens). Small openings may have wetland graminoids, such as Juncus roemerianus, Spartina patens, Fimbristylis castanea, Andropogon glomeratus var. pumilus, Muhlenbergia filipes, etc., and forbs, such as Hydrocotyle bonariensis, Sabatia stellaris, Polygonum hydropiperoides, Eleocharis spp., etc. In other cases, few herbs are present, because of the dense, thicket-like shrub layer.

Environmental Description



USFWS Wetland System:

Palustrine

Delaware Estuary Environment:

This association occurs on maritime barrier islands and spits, usually on more protected backdunes, barrier flats and interdunal swales. The substrate may be sand or loamy sand, sometimes with a thin layer of organic matter. The water table is often less than half a meter below the surface.

Global Environment:

This association occurs on maritime barrier islands and spits, usually on more protected backdunes, barrier flats and interdunal swales. It is not tidally flooded and occurs beyond the reach of most storm tides, but it is impacted by salt spray. The substrate may be sand or loamy sand, sometimes with a thin layer of organic matter. The water table is often less than half a meter below the surface.

Vegetation Description



Delaware Estuary Vegetation:

This vegetation is characterized by a moderately open to densely closed canopy of Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera). Other canopy associates include Baccharis halimifolia, Morella pensylvanica (from northern NC northward), Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola (from NC and possibly southern VA southward), and Rhus copallinum. The herbaceous layer is characterized by Spartina patens. Other ground flora associates include Toxicodendron radicans, Panicum virgatum, Andropogon virginicus, Juncus dichotomus, Solidago sempervirens, Smilax spp., Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis spp., and Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens). Small openings may have wetland graminoids, such as Juncus roemerianus, Spartina patens, Fimbristylis castanea, Andropogon glomeratus var. pumilus, Muhlenbergia filipes, etc., and forbs, such as Hydrocotyle bonariensis, Sabatia stellaris, Polygonum hydropiperoides, Eleocharis spp., etc. In other cases, few herbs are present, because of the dense, thicket-like shrub layer.

Global Vegetation:

This vegetation is characterized by a moderately open to densely closed canopy of Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera). Other canopy associates include Baccharis halimifolia, Morella pensylvanica (from northern NC northward), Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola (from NC and possibly southern VA southward), and Rhus copallinum. The herbaceous layer is characterized by Spartina patens. Other ground flora associates include Toxicodendron radicans, Panicum virgatum, Andropogon virginicus, Juncus dichotomus, Solidago sempervirens, Smilax spp., Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Vitis spp., and Schoenoplectus pungens (= Scirpus pungens). Small openings may have wetland graminoids, such as Juncus roemerianus, Spartina patens, Fimbristylis castanea, Andropogon glomeratus var. pumilus, Muhlenbergia filipes, etc., and forbs, such as Hydrocotyle bonariensis, Sabatia stellaris, Polygonum hydropiperoides, Eleocharis spp., etc. In other cases, few herbs are present, because of the dense, thicket-like shrub layer.

Global Dynamics:



Delaware Estuary Floristic Composition



Species Name Stratum Lifeform Dom Char Const

Morella cerifera Tall shrub/sapling Broad-leaved deciduous shrub X X .

Spartina patens Herb (field) Graminoid X X .

Global Floristic Composition



Species Name Stratum Lifeform Dom Char Const

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)

Conservation Status Rank



Global Rank & Reasons:

G3G4 (1-Feb-2005). This association occurs in interdune flats on barrier islands and barrier spits from New Jersey south to Florida. Many occurrences have been destroyed by coastal development, as these soils are sandy enough and dry enough that they are often not considered "jurisdictional wetlands" and are therefore destroyed for development. Other occurrences have been left undeveloped but now occur as isolated areas fragmented by development. Fairly extensive occurrences are protected on Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina.

Related Concepts



Global Similar Associations:

(Morella cerifera) - Panicum virgatum - Spartina patens Herbaceous Vegetation (CEGL004129) Morella cerifera - Vaccinium corymbosum Shrubland (CEGL003906) Morella cerifera / Hydrocotyle verticillata Shrubland (CEGL003840)

Global Related Concepts:



  • Maritime Interdune Shrub Vegetation (Ambrose 1990a) ?

  • Mesic shrub community (Higgins et al. 1971) B

  • Salt grass sea myrtle red cedar savanna (Martin 1959b) ?

  • Salt grass sea myrtle savanna (Martin 1959b) ?

  • Shrub succession community (Hill 1986) B

  • Thicket community (Boule 1979) =

  • Upland thicket (Klotz 1986) =

Classification & Other Comments



Global Classification Comments:

This association now encompasses two previous associations, one more northerly ranging and the other more southerly ranging along the Atlantic Coast. Where the ranges of these two types overlapped, they were difficult to distinguish floristically and were thus combined.

Element Distribution



Delaware Estuary Range:

This type occurs along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey south to Florida.

Global Range:

This type occurs along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey south to Florida.

Nations:

US

States/Provinces:

DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, NJ, SC, VA

TNC Ecoregions:

56:C, 57:C, 58:C, 62:C

TNC Ecoregion Comments:

ECO58 & ECO62 added with merge of CEGL003809 (JT 2-05).

USFS Ecoregions:

232Ab:CPP, 232Bz:CCC, 232Cb:CCP, 232Ce:CCC, 232Ch:CCP, 232Ci:CCC, 232Gb:CCC

Federal Lands:

DOD (Cape Canaveral); NPS (Assateague Island, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Fort Pulaski); USFWS (Back Bay?, Cape Romain?, Chincoteague, Merritt Island?, Pea Island, Prime Hook)

Element Sources


Assateague Island National Seashore Description Author(s):

J. Teague

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Description Author(s):

J. Teague

Delaware Estuary Description Author(s):

E. Largay

Global Description Author(s):

A.S. Weakley, mod. J. Teague

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

Ambrose 1990a . . X X . . . . .

Berdine 1998 . X . . . . . . .

Boule 1979 . X X . . . . . .

Bowman 2000 . X . . . . . . .

Breden et al. 2001 . X . . . . . . .

FNAI 1992a . X . X . . . . .

Fleming 2001 . X . . . . . . .

Harrison 2004 . . . . . . . . .

Higgins et al. 1971 . X X . . . . . .

Hill 1986 . X X . . . . . .

Klotz 1986 . X X . . . . . .

Martin 1959b . . X . . . . . .

Schafale and Weakley 1990 . X . X . . . . .

Southeastern Ecology Working Group n.d.* X° . . . . . . . .

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