The tree canopy layer is sparse and often grows in clumps. Characteristic trees include northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), white ash (Fraxinus americana), red maple (Acer rubrum), and white pine (Pinus strobus).
Characteristic shrubs include seedlings and saplings of trees listed above plus shrubby dogwoods (Cornus racemosa, C. amomum), common juniper (Juniperus communis), fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), and prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum).
Characteristic herbs include a mix of native and non-native species including Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa), poverty-grass (Danthonia spicata), gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), panic grasses (Panicum flexile, Dichanthelium acuminatum), prairie fleabane (Erigeron strigosus var. strigosus), American pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides), balsam ragwort (Packera paupercula), Queen-Anne's-lace (Daucus carota), hawkweeds (Hieracium spp.), clovers (Trifolium spp.), ebony sedge (Carex eburnea), upland white aster (Oligoneuron album), herb robert (Geranium robertianum), and wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana).
Fruticose and foliose lichens are locally common in the grassy areas, including reindeer lichens (Cladonia spp.) and cup lichen (Cladonia pocillum). Characteristic mosses include hair cap moss (Polytrichum spp.) and Tortella tortuosa.
Characters Most Useful for Identification
This community is an open canopy woodland that occurs on very shallow soils over flat, striated outcrops of calcareous bedrock (limestone and dolomite). This community includes patches of sparsely vegetated rock rubble in between dense cedar clumps or grassy open areas. This woodland is not typically found in an alvar ecosystem, but is often associated with limestone woodlands.
Known examples of this community have been found at elevations between 130 feet and 320 feet.
Best Time to See
Calcareous pavement woodlands offer a nice array of spring ephemerals and early wildflowers from May to June.