Sunday, May 1, 2011

Georgia's Endangered Plants

There are 16 plants that are endangered in the state of Georgia. There are many reasons, some are habitat and some are from clear cutting, but each of these are on a special watch list. If any of these are found in any county in Georgia, whether that county is listed here or not, please report it to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Hairy Rattleweed
Hairy Rattleweed, or Baptisia arachnifera, is endangered due to pest problems and the fungi that will keep the plant from reproducing like normal. There is also a worry that clear cutting is affecting the populations as well. This plant is only in Georgia, and is concentrated in Brantley and Wayne counties.

Smooth Purple Coneflower
Smooth Purple Coneflower, or Echinacea laevigata, is only in two counties in Georgia currently; Habersham and Stephens. It is thought to be endangered from doing maintenance on power lines, the roadways and construction due to highways, and those who collect the plant illegally.

Canby’s Dropwort
Canby’s Dropwort, or Oxypolis canbyi, is in six counties in Georgia. These are Sumter, Screven, Lee, Jenkins, Dooly, and Burke. As the wetlands leave Georgia, so does this water loving plant.

Piedmont Mock Bishopweed
Piedmont Mock Bishopweed, or Ptilimnium nodosum, is only in three counties in Georgia at the time of this writing. They are Schley, Greene, and Dooly counties. Pollution and development along shorelines threaten this plant.

Dwarf Sumac
Dwarf Sumac, or Rhus michauxii, is now only in five counties in Georgia. Those counties include Columbia, Elbert, Muscogee, Cobb, and Newton. There is a loss of its natural habitat and it has very low reproductive capabilities to keep the species out of danger.

Green Pitcher Plant
Green Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia oreophila, is now in only one country statewide and very threatened there. That county is Towns. Due to land development and the commercialized selling of the plants (and poachers) it is endangered and facing extinction.

Chaffseed
Chaffseed, or Schwalbea americana, is now found in Doughtery and Baker counties in Georgia. It is extirpated (fully destroyed) from Pike, Miller, Worth, Early, and Baldwin counties. Due to its habitat conversion and the varying forestry practices in the state, it is now endangered.

Eastern Fringed Catchfly
Eastern Fringed Catchfly, or Silene polypetala, is in six counties in Georgia. They are Decatur, Taylor, Talbot, Upson, Crawford, and Bibb. With the spread of Japanese honeysuckle throughout the land and the logging in woodland areas, this plant is now endangered.

Cooley’s Meadowrue
Cooley’s Meadowrue, or Thalictrum cooleyi, is found in only one county in the state of Georgia. That county is Worth County. With the agricultural development in the state and fire suppression, the plant is now endangered.

Florida Torreya
Florida Torreya, or Torreya taxifolia, is found in one county only. That county is Decatur. The tree is now endangered despite an intense history, as its genus is over 160 million years old. The reason for its endangered state is wasting disease in the state first seen back in the 50s.

Persistent Trillium
Persistent Trillium, or Trillium persistens, is found in three counties in the state of Georgia. Those counties are Rabun, Stevens, and Habersham. With the illegal collecting of the plant, the limited range of its existence, and clear cutting in the state, it is now endangered.

Relict Trillium
Relict Trillium, or Trillium reliquum, is only in Piedmont’s hardwood forests. Due to that extremely low distribution, especially coupled with logging and mining in the area, makes it endangered. Japanese honeysuckle and kudzu have taken over and killed out most of the Relict Trillium areas.

Tennessee Yellow-eyed Grass
Tennessee Yellow-eyed Grass, or Xyris tennesseensis, is only in four Georgia counties. Those counties are Whitfield, Floyd, Gordon, and Bartow. With quarrying, timber and logging operations, and land erosion, this is on the endangered list.

Black-spored Quillwort
Black-spored Quillwort, or Isoetes melanospora, is only in six counties in the state of Georgia. It is mainly a shallow water, or marginal water, plant. With littering and cattle stampedes, along with quarrying, it is now endangered.

Mat-forming Quillwort
Mat-forming Quillwort, or Isoetes tegetiformans, is only in four counties state wide. It is in Columbia, Green, Hancock, and Putnam counties. The plant has been endangered due to traffic from the vehicles, littering, and the state’s quarrying.

Pond Spicebush
Pond Spicebush, or Lindera melissifolia, is only in four counties. Those counties are Screven, Wheeler, Chatham, and Baker. This plant is endangered because of cattle grazing on its habitats and with timber harvesting.

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