Lutz spruce / Oakfern - Bluejoint
Picea X lutzii / Gymnocarpium dryopteris Calamagrostis canadensis  
n = 4
I.A.2. Open needleleaf forest
Ecosystem: Discharge Slope


Lutz spruce / oakfern - bluejoint grass has been previously described by DeVelice, et. al., (1999) for Chugach National Forest.  Their type has lower diversity and total understory cover.

Three of the plots sampled on the Kenai Lowlands were located above 425 meters (1400 feet) on footslopes of kame-like features associated with the modified moraine west of Caribou Lake. The fourth plot is along the coast near Point Possession.  Spruce bark beetle caused mortality has thinned the canopy, resulting in more bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis) cover than would be expected in an un-infested stand.  

A tall open Lutz spruce canopy tops a lush herbaceous understory composed of almost equal parts oakfern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), bluejoint and fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium). Oakfern covers more ground than the other dominants, but is concealed late in the season under a rich tall forb layer.  Common associates include Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis), twisted stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius) and carpets of trailing raspberry (Rubus pedatus).  Scattered Barclay's willow (Salix barclayi) or, near the coast,  rusty menziesia (Menziesia ferrugenea) and Devil's club (Oplopanax horridus) are present. This type is species rich, with 32 species present across the four plots.  

Lutz spruce bluejoint grass does not typically indicate a wetland, this type is usually found on drier sites.  Organic layers are thin, at three sites they were 4 cm, and at the fourth it was 7 cm thick.  The water table was not encountered within 1.5 meters of the surface at any plot.  However, modern redoximorphic features were found within 16 cm of the surface at two sites possibly indicating a jurisdictional wetland.

Table 1. Frequency of occurrence of soil series named at NRCS holes.

Soil Series n
2Proposed series, hydric status unknown

  Table 2.  Summary of plant frequency and average cover for plants occurring in more than 50% of plots

        Wetland Indicator Status


f  Average Cover   Alaska National
tall Picea X lutzii   1.0 36.7 np
regeneration Picea X lutzii   1.0 0.5 np
Salix1 barclayi   1.0 2.2 FAC FAC, FACW
Spiraea stevenii   1.0 1.3 FAC FAC
Vaccinium ovalifolium   0.7 1.3 FAC FACU*, FAC
Low shrub
Ribes triste   1.0 0.7 FAC FAC. OBL
Gymnocarpium dryopteris   1.0 58.3 FACU UPL, FAC
Calamagrostis canadensis   1.0 38.3 FAC FAC, OBL
Chamerion angustifolium   1.0 38.3 FACU FACU, FAC
Sanguisorba canadensis 1.0 17.0 FACW FACW,
Rubus pedatus   1.0 10.7 FAC* FACU*, FAC*
Streptopus amplexifolius   1.0 4.3 FAC UPL, OBL
Dryopteris expansa   1.0 1.5 FACU FACU, FACW
Equisetum sylvaticum 1.0 1.2 FACU FACU, FACW
Lupinus nootkatensis  1.0 0.8 FAC FAC
Cornus suecica 1.0 0.7 FAC FAC
Veratrum viride 1.0 0.5 FAC* FAC*, FACW+
Trientalis europaea 1.0 0.5 FAC FAC*, FAC
Lycopodium annotinum 0.7 0.5 FAC FACU*, FAC
Moss 1.0 34.7
Lichen 0.7 0.5
np- not present on the wetland indicator status list
1 Plant with known morphological adaptation for occurrence in wetlands (USACE, 1987)


 Introduction and Key to Plant Communities  

Introduction and Key to Ecosystems

    Kenai Hydric Soils    Map Unit Summary    Methods    Glossary

Contact: Mike Gracz
Kenai Watershed Forum 
PO Box 15301
Fritz Creek, AK  99603
The Alaska Natural Heritage Program
Environment and Natural Resource Institute
University of Alaska, Anchorage
707 A Street, Suite 101
Anchorage, Alaska  99501

04 May 2007 09:51