Volume 86 — Issue 2 (December 2021)

New Populations of the Rheophytic Macrophyte Podostemum ceratophyllum Michx. (Hornleaf Riverweed) in West Virginia

Podostemum ceratophyllum (Hornleaf riverweed) is a macrophyte that inhabits swift-water rivers with stable substrates and abundant light in montane and piedmont ecoregions of eastern North America. Within these habitats, P. ceratophyllum is considered a foundation species because the plant can strongly influence community structure by increasing habitat complexity for macroinvertebrates and fishes, and facilitates resources cycling via elemental sequestration, herbivory, and detrital pathways. Currently, the USDA and NatureServe recognize P. ceratophyllum as a conservation concern in some states, but the plant’s status remains uncertain in many other states. In West Virginia, P. ceratophyllum is considered imperiled (S2) by the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program. The most recent records were collected in 1998, while other populations have not been confirmed since the late 1800s. To expand our current understanding of the distribution of P. ceratophyllum in West Virginia, we surveyed six historical sites and 34 new sites between 2015–2019. Four historical

Read / Download Full Article »

Reevaluating Genetic Diversity and Structure of Helianthus verticillatus (Asteraceae) after the Discovery of New Populations

Determining population genetic structure of isolated or fragmented species is of critical importance when planning a conservation strategy. Knowledge of the genetic composition and differentiation among populations of a rare or threatened species can aid conservation managers in understanding how, and which, populations to protect. The whorled sunflower, Helianthus verticillatus (Asteraceae), is a federally endangered sunflower species endemic to the southeastern United States. The distribution of the species comprises four known populations within three states: Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. Recently, new populations were discovered in Marshall County, Mississippi, and Franklin County, Virginia. Here, we carry out a population genetic study of these new populations using nuclear microsatellite markers and compare our results to those from previously known populations of H. verticillatus. Our results show that both newly discovered populations contain novel genetic variation, with Mississippi containing the most private alleles out of all populations tested. The Virginia population is genetically

Read / Download Full Article »

Vascular Flora of the Christmount Preserve, Buncombe County, North Carolina

The Christmount Preserve is a botanically diverse and ecologically rich area of approximately 155 ha of southern Appalachian forest held in conservation easement. We conducted a floristic inventory of the preserve to inform conservation efforts on the property. Although the plant diversity within the preserve is an important attraction for residents and visitors, information on its flora is limited. This study builds upon a brief but informative 1996 report of the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program summarizing the preserve’s attributes as a natural area. A total of 317 specimens of vascular plants were collected during 2018–2020 to develop a vouchered flora of the preserve. These specimens documented 221 species in 165 genera and 84 families, 4.5% of which are not native to the Appalachian Mountain region. We found three plant taxa that are listed by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program: Coreopsis latifolia, Hypericum buckleyi, and Robinia hispida var. fertilis.

Read / Download Full Article »

Modeling Habitat Suitability for Stewartia ovata Across the Southeastern United States

Mountain stewartia (Stewartia ovata) is a rare shrub or small tree endemic to the higher elevation regions of Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama with isolated populations occurring in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi. The species is often misidentified or overlooked by land managers and conservationists. As a result, mountain stewartia’s habitat and distribution descriptions are limited for restoration and conservation use. Modeling a species’ habitat suitability has become a critical first step in conserving rare and imperiled plant species. These models allow conservationists to locate previously undocumented populations and prioritize populations and habitats for conservation. This study presents a habitat suitability model for mountain stewartia across its known natural range based on maximum entropy (Maxent) modeling with nine environmental predictor variables and 60 occurrences from herbarium records (n=22), research-grade iNaturalist observations (n=25), and other author identified locations (n=3). The resulting habitat suitability map was classified into bins for

Read / Download Full Article »

Natural and Cultural History of Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima Marshall, Ranunculaceae) is a low-growing deciduous shrub native to hardwood forests in the eastern United States. This review synthesizes existing knowledge about yellowroot’s natural and cultural history including traditional uses, contemporary applications, and future implications. Emphasis is placed on the southern Appalachian mountain region, which is the core of its cultural importance. Natural history and ethnobotanical knowledge about yellowroot were collected from published literature, oral histories, and field observations. While it was first described by botanists in the 18th Century, yellowroot was already a well-established and culturally significant plant to the Native peoples of southern Appalachia for centuries. At least 34 Indigenous medicinal and craft uses are documented, confirming that yellowroot was, and to an extent still is, a culturally significant plant for Indigenous people in the southern Appalachian region. European and African American settlers to the region also incorporated the plant into many of their folk

Read / Download Full Article »