Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Bluejoint - goldenrod - virgin's bower riverbank/floodplain  (S3S4)



Bluejoint - goldenrod - virgin's bower riverbank/floodplains are temporarily-flooded meadow-like communities of riverbanks and adjacent floodplains. They occur on small “flashy” rivers and major streams, where occasional high water events will flood them. The community is characterized by tall graminoids, goldenrods and other tall forbs, herbaceous vines, and less frequently, shrubs, ferns, trees, and woody vines. This community averages 1.1 m above midseason river water levels (n=11 sites). It is usually positioned between a narrow band of shrub or forested floodplain at higher elevations and low riverbank and channel communities at lower elevations. Flood frequency, duration, intensity, and seasonal timing are likely important factors affecting this community’s successional state and range in species richness. Soils are typically mesic, deep, medium-grained sands flooded and scoured during spring high water.

Characteristic Vegetation:
The community contains a mix of tall graminoids such as robust bluejoint (Calamagrostic canadensis), goldenrods (Solidago spp. and Euthamia spp.), and other tall forbs. Other characteristic species include virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana), spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis), tall meadow-rue (Thalictrum pubescens), flat-topped white aster (Doellingeria umbellata), sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), panic grasses (Panicum spp.), bent grasses (Agrostis spp.), Joe-pye weeds (Eupatorium spp.),
common grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), groundnut (Apios americana), bedstraws (Galium spp.), asters (Aster spp.), violets (Viola spp.), ferns (Osmunda spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), rushes (Juncus spp.), smartweeds (Polygonum spp.), mannagrasses (Glyceria spp.), common water horehound (Lycopus uniflorus), marsh fern (Thelypteris palustris), northern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), swamp candles (Lysimachia terrestris), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), fringed brome grass (Bromus ciliatus), wild ryes (Elymus spp.), northern blue flag (Iris versicolor), and other species. 

In examples that are succeeding to increased woody dominance (e.g., some oxbows and older pointbars), a low cover of the following woody species may be present: speckled alder (Alnus incana), willows (Salix spp.), meadowsweets (Spiraea spp.), brambles (Rubus spp.), grapes (Vitis spp.), silver maple (Acer saccharinum), red maple (Acer rubrum), dogwoods (Cornus spp.), American elm (Ulmus americana), poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), and a few other species.


Good examples
of this community occur along the Blackwater River (Salisbury to Webster), the Pemigewasset River (New Hampton), and the Dead Diamond River (Second College Grant).


Bluejoint - goldenrod - virgin's bower riverbank/floodplains occur statewide and often occur as part of larger major river silver maple floodplain systems and montane/near-boreal floodplain systems, and sometimes as part of temperate minor river floodplain systems.


Bluejoint - goldenrod - virgin's bower riverbank/floodplain along Blackwater Brook (photo by Bill Nichols for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Bluejoint - goldenrod - virgin's bower riverbank/floodplain along Blackwater Brook
(photo by Bill Nichols)

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