Classification of Vegetation Communities of Maryland: First Iteration
A Subset of the International Classification of Ecological
Variation in codominant species occurs across the geographic range. From the Canadian maritime provinces south to Delaware (discontinuously south to Virginia), this alliance is characterized by the dominance of Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, and Juncus gerardii and the presence of more northerly distributed marsh species such as Puccinellia fasciculata, Plantago maritima, and Triglochin maritima. In brackish reaches of tidal rivers, this alliance includes Spartina patens-dominated vegetation that may also be characterized by the presence of Agrostis stolonifera, Festuca rubra, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (= Aster novi-belgii), Hierochloe odorata, Carex paleacea, or Spartina pectinata.
From Delaware south to Florida, this high salt marsh coastal community is dominated by Spartina patens, forming meadows at slightly higher elevations in relation to the adjacent Spartina alterniflora Tidal Herbaceous Alliance (A.1471). Diagnostic species for this community are Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, Borrichia frutescens, Kosteletzkya virginica, and Pluchea odorata. Shrub seedlings such as Baccharis halimifolia and Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera) may also be present. The associated Juncus roemerianus Tidal Herbaceous Alliance (A.1475) often occurs as discrete patches which may reach substantial size.
This alliance also includes mesohaline to oligohaline marshes of the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. In these associations, Spartina patens may strongly dominate, Distichlis spicata, Spartina alterniflora, and Spartina patens may codominate, Distichlis spicata may form pure stands, Paspalum vaginatum may strongly dominate, or Spartina patens and Vigna luteola may codominate. Other characteristic species include Juncus roemerianus, Spartina spartinae, Spartina cynosuroides (within its range), Schoenoplectus robustus, Schoenoplectus americanus, Sagittaria lancifolia, Phragmites australis, and Eragrostis spp. Here, this alliance forms mosaics with Spartina spartinae and Spartina alterniflora marshes and saline herbaceous vegetation.
Western states have a different alliance for inland situations dominated by Distichlis spicata, the Distichlis spicata Intermittently Flooded Herbaceous Alliance (A.1332).
Comments: This may represent multiple zones; more research is needed.
Range: This alliance is found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Maine south to Florida and west to Texas.
States/Provinces: AL CT DE FL GA LA MA MD ME MS NC NH NJ NY RI SC TX VA
TNC Ecoregions: 30:P, 31:C, 41:P, 53:C, 54:P, 55:P, 56:C, 57:C, 58:C, 62:C, 63:C
USFS Ecoregions: 212Cb:CCC, 212Db:CCC, 212Dc:CCC, 221Aa:CCC, 221Ab:CCC, 221Ac:CCC, 221Ad:CCC, 221Ae:CCC, 221Aj:CCP, 221Ak:CCC, 221Dc:CCC, 231Fb:CCC, 232Aa:CCC, 232Ab:CCC, 232Ac:CCC, 232Ad:CCC, 232Bb:CCP, 232Bc:CCP, 232Bd:CCP, 232Br:CCC, 232Bx:CCC, 232Bz:CCC, 232Cb:CCC, 232Ce:CCC, 232Ch:CCC, 232Ci:CCC, 232Cj:CCC, 232Db:CCP, 232Dc:CCC, 232Dd:CCC, 232De:CCP, 232Eb:CCC, 232Ed:CCC, 232Ee:CCC, 232Gb:CCP, 255Da:CCP, 255Dc:CCC, 315F:CC
Federal Lands: NPS (Acadia, Assateague Island, Fire Island, Fort Pulaski); USFWS (Anahuac, Big Boggy, Brazoria, Matagorda Island, McFaddin, San Bernard, Texas Point)
Synonymy: Intermediate Marsh (Smith 1996a); Salt Marsh, in part (Smith 1996a); Salt Marsh, in part (Wieland 1994b); Salt Marsh, in part (Schafale and Weakley 1990); Salt Marsh, in part (Nelson 1986); Brackish Marsh, in part (Wieland 1994b); Brackish Marsh, in part (Nelson 1986); Marshhay Cordgrass Series, in part (Diamond 1993); Saltgrass-Cordgrass Series (Diamond 1993); Estuarine Intertidal: Salt Marsh (Swain and Kearsley 2001); Estuarine Intertidal: Brackish Tidal Marsh (Swain and Kearsley 2001)
References: Adams 1963, Berdine 1998, Bowman 2000, Clancy 1993b, Cooper and Waits 1973, Diamond 1993, Gawler 2001, Higgins et al. 1971, Hill 1986, Metzler and Barrett 2001, Montague and Wiegert 1990, Nelson 1986, Odum 1988, Odum and Smith 1981, Penfound 1952, Schafale and Weakley 1990, Smith 1996a, Sperduto 2000b, Swain and Kearsley 2001, Tiner 1977, Wieland 1994a, Wieland 1994b
Authors: A.S. WEAKLEY 9-94, MOD. J, JT, East Identifier: A.1481
SPARTINA PATENS - DISTICHLIS SPICATA - JUNCUS ROEMERIANUS HERBACEOUS VEGETATION
Saltmeadow Cordgrass - Saltgrass - Black Needlerush Herbaceous Vegetation
High Marsh G4G5 (97-12-01)
Ecological Group (SCS;MCS): Atlantic and Gulf Coast Salt and Brackish Tidal Marshes (202-30; n/a)
Concept: This coastal community is an irregularly tidally flooded high salt marsh of the mid- and southern Atlantic coast. It is dominated by Spartina patens, which forms meadows with a distinct "cowlicked" appearance. These meadows occur at slightly higher elevations than adjacent, regularly flooded low salt marsh occupying the zone extending from mean high tide landward approximately to the limit of high spring tides. The substrate is peat of variable depths overlying sand. Distichlis spicata can be codominant. Additional associated species that generally occur in low abundance can include Limonium carolinianum, Agalinis maritima, Salicornia virginica, Juncus roemerianus, Sabatia stellaris, Borrichia frutescens, Lythrum lineare, Solidago sempervirens, Pluchea odorata (= Pluchea purpurascens), Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. moscheutos (= Hibiscus palustris), or Atriplex prostrata (= Atriplex patula var. hastata). Shrub seedlings of Baccharis halimifolia, Iva frutescens, and/or Morella cerifera (= Myrica cerifera) may occur sporadically. Diagnostic species are Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, Borrichia frutescens, Kosteletzkya virginica, and Pluchea odorata. This community ranges from Delaware south to Florida.
Comments: This community is differentiated from Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata - (Juncus gerardii) Herbaceous Vegetation (CEGL006006), which occurs to the north, by the absence or relative infrequent occurrence of Juncus gerardii, Plantago maritima, and Triglochin maritima (in pannes), and by the importance of species of southern distribution such as Borrichia frutescens, Kosteletzkya virginica, Fimbristylis castanea, and Lythrum lineare. If discrete patches of Juncus roemerianus occur in substantial size (several acres), the community is considered Juncus roemerianus Herbaceous Vegetation (CEGL004186). Currently, some unusually diverse variants exist in Virginia that may warrant recognition as a separate association.
Range: This association occurs along the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Florida.
States/Provinces: DE:S4, FL:S?, GA:S?, MD:S5, NC:S5, SC:S?, VA:S?
TNC Ecoregions: 56:C, 57:C, 58:C, 62:C
USFS Ecoregions: 232Br:CCC, 232Bx:CCC, 232Bz:CCC, 232Ch:CCC
Federal Lands: NPS (Assateague Island, Fort Pulaski)
Synonymy: Brackish Marsh (Salt Meadow Cordgrass Subtype) (Schafale 2000), Salt marsh community (Hill 1986) B. Assateague Island., Salt marsh (Higgins et al. 1971) B. Assateague Island., Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata high marsh (Clancy 1993b) =. Delaware., Spartina - Distichlis - Juncus associes (Penfound 1952) =. of southern salt marshes., Spartina patens type (Cooper and Waits 1973) =. North Carolina., Aster tenuifolius - Distichlis spicata - Fimbristylis castanea - Borrichia frutescens - Spartina patens association (Adams 1963) =. of the high marsh described from North Carolina., High marsh (Cooper 1974) =. of the high marsh of south Atlantic and Gulf coast marshes.
References: Adams 1963, Bowman 2000, Clancy 1993b, Cooper 1974, Cooper and Waits 1973, Fleming 2001, Fleming et al. 2001, Higgins et al. 1971, Hill 1986, Nelson 1986, Peet et al. 2002, Penfound 1952, Schafale 2000, Schafale and Weakley 1990
Authors: ECS Confidence: 2 Identifier: CEGL004197
- Maryland Vegetation Classification Subset Report V.A. Perennial graminoid vegetation
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