Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Clethra alnifolia


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Coladonato, Milo. 1991. Clethra alnifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : CLEALN SYNONYMS : Clethra tomentosa Lam. SCS PLANT CODE : CLAL3 COMMON NAMES : coastal sweetpepperbush sweet pepper bush clethra poor man's soap summer sweet TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of coastal sweetpepperbush is Clethra alnifolia L. The Clethra genus is in the family Clethraceae and consists of two species. There are two recognized varieties of coastal sweetpepperbush [7,22]: Clethra alnifolia var alnifolia L. Clethra alnifolia var tomentosa (Lam.) Michaux LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : Coastal sweetpepperbush is listed as threatened in Nova Scotia [29].


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Coastal sweetpepperbush occurs from Florida to east Texas, and north to southern Maine, southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts, southeastern New York, and eastern Pennsylvania [13,27]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES18 Maple - beech - birch STATES : AL AR CT DE FL GA KY LA ME MD MA MS NH NJ NY NC OH PA RI SC TN TX VA VT WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K089 Blackbelt K090 Live oak - sea oats K091 Cypress savanna K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K102 Beech - maple forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K113 Southern floodplain forest K114 Pocosin K115 Sand pine - scrub SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 14 Northern pin oak 15 Red pine 20 White pine - northern red oak - maple 21 Eastern white pine 22 White pine - hemlock 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 26 Sugar maple - basswood 27 Sugar maple 28 Black cherry - maple 30 Red spruce - yellow birch 31 Red spruce - sugar maple - beech 32 Red spruce 33 Red spruce - balsam fir 34 Red spruce - Fraser fir 35 Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir 37 Northern white cedar 38 Tamarack 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 42 Bur oak 43 Bear Oak 44 Chestnut oak 45 Pitch pine 46 Eastern redcedar 50 Black locust 51 White pine - chestnut oak 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 57 Yellow poplar 58 Yellow poplar - eastern hemlock 59 Yellow poplar - white oak - northern red oak 60 Beech - sugar maple 61 River birch - sycamore 64 Sassafras - persimmon 65 Pin oak sweetgum 69 Sand pine 70 Largeleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 72 Southern scrub oak 73 Southern redcedar 74 Cabbage palmetto 75 Shortleaf pine 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 78 Virginia pine - oak 79 Virginia pine 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 84 Slash pine 85 Slash pine - hardwood 87 Sweetgum - yellow poplar 88 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak 89 Live oak 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 92 Sweetgum - willow oak 96 Overcup oak - water hickory 97 Atlantic white cedar 98 Pond pine 100 Pondcypress 101 Baldcypress - tupelo 103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo 104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay 108 Red maple 109 Hawthorn SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Coastal sweetpepperbush is very seldom a dominant species in plant communities. It is listed as a dominant shrub in only one area in the Coastal Plain of Virginia [25].


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Coastal sweetpepperbush is of little value as a livestock or wildlife forage. It is eaten by deer and cattle when other forage is limited [24]. PALATABILITY : The palatability of coastal sweetpepperbush to white-tailed deer is considered poor [18]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Coastal sweetpepperbush is sometimes used to arrest succession of tall trees along pathways. It has been planted after herbicide application along electrical transmission , telephone, railroad, roadside, and pipeline right of ways, where low-growth woody vegetation does not interfere with general operation [20]. Coastal sweetpepperbush has often been planted as an ornamental because of its attractive and fragrant white flowers [4]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Coastal sweetpepperbush is a native, large, deciduous shrub that grows up to 8 feet (2.5 m) tall [8]. It has woody twigs and stoloniferous roots. The bark is reddish-brown. The fruit is a capsule divided into three sections [8,12,22]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (nanophanerophyte) Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (microphanerophyte) Burned or Clipped State: Cryptophyte (geophyte) REGENERATION PROCESSES : Vegetative: Coastal sweetpepperbush sprouts from stolons [4]. Sexual: The flower of coastal sweetpepperbush is insect pollinated; the fruit is probably distributed by animals [27]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Sweet peperbush grows in humid, tropical to temperate climates [3]. It is found on moderate to poorly drained sites, in acid swamps or in sandy soils [1,14,27]. Common overstory associates include cypress (Taxodium spp.), Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), loblolly pine (Pinus elliottii), slash pine (P. taeda), pitch pine (P. rigida), eastern white pine (P. strobus), pond pine (P. serotina), spruce pine (P. glabra), red maple (Acer rubrum), magnolia (Magnolia spp.), and beech (Fagus grandifolia). Common understory associates include laurelleaf greenbrier (Smilax laurifolia), switchcane (Arundinaria tecta), inkberry (Ilex glabra), large gallberry (I. coriacea), zenobia (Zenobia pulverulenta), swamp cyrilla (Cyrilla racemiflora), southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera), and saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens) [3,15,17]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Coastal sweetpepperbush is a shade-tolerant understory shrub. It is a mid to late seral species. It grows under the canopy of old-growth trees [6,21]. Coastal sweetpepperbush either does not become a dominant shrub or does not dominate for very long. Other shrubs such as switchcane (Arundinaria tecta) dominate, with coastal sweetpepperbush reduced to a subordinate [24,25,28]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Coastal sweetpepperbush flowers between July and August; the fruit ripens from September to October [10,27].


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Coastal sweetpepperbush probably survives by sprouting from on-site surviving stolons [25]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : survivor species; on-site surviving rhizomes off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Most fires probably top-kill coastal sweetpepperbush. Its stolons may be killed by fires severe enough to consume the organic soil. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Coastal sweetpepperbush will probably sprout after fire. Severe fire or regular prescribed burning greatly reduces coastal sweetpepperbush and other common associate shrubs [2,25]. In National Forest lands in South Carolina, coastal sweetpepperbush gradually increased in areas that had not been burned for 3 years [5]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Coastal sweetpepperbush can build up and create a fire hazard [28]. It can be controlled with regular prescribed burning [25].


SPECIES: Clethra alnifolia
REFERENCES : 1. Allen, Sarah D.; Golet, Francis C.; Davis, Anthony F.; Sokoloski, Thomas E. 1989. Soil-vegetation correlations in transition zones of Rhode Island red maple swamps. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report. 89(8): 47. [12763] 2. Boerner, Ralph E. J. 1981. Forest structure dynamics following wildfire and prescribed burning in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. American Midland Naturalist. 105(2): 321-333. [8649] 3. Bramlett, David L. 1990. Pinus serotina Michx. pond pine. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 470-475. [13407] 4. Braun, E. Lucy. 1961. The woody plants of Ohio. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press. 362 p. [12914] 5. Devet, David D.; Hopkins, Melvin L. 1968. Response of wildlife habitat to the prescribed burning program on the National Forests in South Carolina. Proceedings, Annual Conference of Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners. 21: 129-133. [14633] 6. Duever, Michael J.; Riopelle, Lawrence A. 1983. Successional sequences and rates on tree islands in the Okefenokee Swamp. American Midland Naturalist. 110(1): 186-191. [14590] 7. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906] 8. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764] 9. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 10. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p. (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny Series; vol. 2). [14935] 11. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 12. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239] 13. Hill, Nicholas M. 1989. Toxicodendron vernix added to the flora of Nova Scotia. Rhodora. 91(867): 242-243. [10902] 14. Johnson, A. Sydney; Landers, J. Larry. 1978. Fruit production in slash pine plantations in Georgia. Journal of Wildlife Management. 42(3): 606-613. [9855] 15. Kossuth, Susan V.; Michael, J. L. 1990. Pinus glabra Walt. spruce pine. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654.. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 355-358. [13195] 16. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 17. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374] 18. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681] 19. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496] 20. Niering, William A.; Goodwin, Richard H. 1974. Creation of relatively stable shrublands with herbicides: arresting "succession" on rights-of-way and pastureland. Ecology. 55: 784-795. [8744] 21. Ogden, J. Gordon, III. 1962. Forest history of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. I. Modern and pre-colonial forests. American Midland Naturalist. 66(2): 417-430. [10118] 22. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606] 23. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 24. Shepherd, W. O.; Dillard, E. U.; Lucas, H. L. 1951. Grazing and fire influences in pond pine forests. Tech. Bull. No. 97. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. [14546] 25. Trousdell, Kenneth B. 1970. Disking and prescribed burning: sixth-year residual effects on loblolly pine and competing vegetation. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 6 p. [10190] 26. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 27. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240] 28. Wade, Dale P.; Wilhite, Lawrence P. 1981. Low intensity burn prior to bedding and planting slash pine is of little value. In: Barnett, James P., ed. Proceedings, 1st biennial southern silviculture research conference; 1980 November 6-7; Atlanta, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-34. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station: 70-74. [7332] 29. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. 1992. Canadian species at risk. Ottawa, ON. 10 p. [26183]