Barclay's willow / Bluejoint / Marsh fivefinger
Salix barclayi / Calamagrostis canadensis / Comarum palustre
n = 32
II.C.2.i. Willow - Graminoid Shrub Bog
Ecosystem: Riparian, Relict Lakebed

Working around the mouth of the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, Rosenberg (1986) documents Barclay's willow / Bluejoint / Marsh fivefinger on the lowlands.  It probably occurs elsewhere in Alaska, but has been lumped with other types such as the Barclay's willow (Salix barclayi) / bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis) (Ritchie, et.el., 1981; DeVelice, et. al., 1999; Boggs, 2000) type, and the Barclay's willow – mixed herb type (DeVelice et. al., 1999; Boggs, 2000; Shephard, 1995).

Nearly all of the sites visited occur along stream channels, in low spots such as abandoned oxbows and lagg-like features near valley walls.  A few sites are in low spots on relict glacial lakebeds.  

This widespread Kenai lowland association is characterized by an open Barclay's willow stand amongst tall bluejoint tussocks and microtopographic-low spots filled with pools of standing water fringed with marsh fivefinger (Comarum palustre).  Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium acutiflorum), arctic blackberry (Rubus arcticus), water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile), and dwarf birch (Betula nana) are often present.  

More than half the sites visited have sufficiently thick organic horizons to be classified as histosols, while most of the remainder of the sites have histic epipedons.  The water table is frequently at or very near the surface.  The pH at the one site where it was measured was neutral (6.9).  All the sites visited are jurisdictional wetlands.   

Table 1. Frequency of soil series occurrence and hydric status at NRCS holes.  Bold type indicates soils on the NRCS Alaska hydric soils list.

        Soil Series n

Hydric Criteria Number

STARICHKOF 7 1, 2B2, 3
DOROSHIN 6 1
NIKOLAI  3 1
KILLEY 2 2B3
SLIKOK 2 2B3, 2
TRUULI1 2
JACOBSEN 1 2B3
LONGMARE 1
MOOSE RIVER 1 2B3
SALAMATOF 1 1, 3
  1Proposed series, definitely hydric

 

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

          Wetland Indicator Status

 Plant

f

 Average Cover

  Alaska National
Shrub
Salix1 barclayi   1.0 32.9 FAC FAC, FACW
Low shrub
Betula nana 0.7 6.8 FAC FAC, OBL
Herbs/Graminoid
Comarum palustre 1.0 15.5 OBL OBL
Calamagrostis canadensis   0.9 34.5 FAC FAC, OBL
Polemonium acutiflorum   0.7 1.2 FAC FAC
Equisetum fluviatile 0.7 6.2 OBL OBL
Rubus arcticus 0.7 0.7 FAC FAC
Equisetum arvense 0.6 18.6 FAC* FAC*, FACW-
Moss 0.9 60.5
Open water 0.9 5.0
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
907-235-2218
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 10:00