Aconitum reclinatum - Gray
White Monkshood
Other English Common Names: Trailing White Monkshood
Other Common Names: trailing white monkshood
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Aconitum reclinatum Gray (TSN 18420)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.139866
Element Code: PDRAN01080
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buttercup Family
Image 21776

© Elizabeth A. Byers

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Aconitum
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Aconitum reclinatum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Aug2018
Global Status Last Changed: 02Aug2018
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Aconitum reclinatum occurs in the mountains and upper Piedmont of southwestern Pennsylvania to West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). There are likely 150 or more occurrences. Primary threats to the species include the alteration of wetlands, intensive logging or clearcutting, and deer browse.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States North Carolina (S3), Pennsylvania (S1), Tennessee (S1), Virginia (S3), West Virginia (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Aconitum reclinatum occurs in the mountains and upper Piedmont of southwestern Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). It has also been reported from Georgia, but report has never been verified. (All recent reports of A. reclinatum have turned out to be A. uncinatum (T. Patrick, pers. comm. 1995)).

Area of Occupancy: 126-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 54 occurrences in North Carolina, 3 in Pennsylvania (including 1 historic), 1 in Tennessee, 50 in Virginia, and 60 in West Virginia.

Population Size Comments: North Carolina alone has more than 10,000 individuals.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some to many (13-125)

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species may require maintenance of seepage habitat in low-elevation sites. Draining and filling of wetlands are the primary threats for this species. Logging may pose a threat by causing physical disturbances to the soil and habitat. Deer browse is a threat. Excessive grazing and trampling may cause soil compaction, resulting in low vigor, poor germination and poor seedling development. Recreational vehicles (ATV, motorcycles, etc.) and hiking traffic are threats. In Pennsylvania a fungus has been found that destroys the flower stem before the fruit sets, then eventually rots the plant, leaving only roots (K. McKenna, pers. comm. 1995).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: States report that their populations seem stable. There are about 15 occurrences that are extirpated or possibly extirpated.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Appears to be resistant to moderate levels of disturbance in some situations.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Aconitum reclinatum occurs in the mountains and upper Piedmont of southwestern Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). It has also been reported from Georgia, but report has never been verified. (All recent reports of A. reclinatum have turned out to be A. uncinatum (T. Patrick, pers. comm. 1995)).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NC, PA, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Ashe (37009), Avery (37011), Buncombe (37021), Cherokee (37039), Graham (37075), Haywood (37087), Henderson (37089), Jackson (37099), Macon (37113)*, Mitchell (37121), Transylvania (37175)*, Watauga (37189), Yancey (37199)
PA Fayette (42051), Somerset (42111)
TN Carter (47019)
WV Grant (54023)*, Pendleton (54071), Pocahontas (54075), Preston (54077)*, Randolph (54083), Tucker (54093), Webster (54101)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+*, Upper James (02080201)+*
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+
05 Cheat (05020004)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Upper New (05050001)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Gauley (05050005)+, Elk (05050007)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+, Hiwassee (06020002)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A tall, slender perennial herb (often supported by other plants) with deeply divided leaves and an elongate inflorescence of a few white flowers at the summit of the stem.
Technical Description: Stem slender, trailing or leaning, sometimes ascending, reaching up to three meters long, if erect up to one meter tall. Cauline leaves many, 3-7 cleft (5) into irregularly and sharply toothed, rhomboid segments. Basal leaves largest and most divided. Inflorescence elongate, usually compound, loose paniculate, the pedicels finely pubescent with short incurved hairs. Flowers white to yellowish, zygomorphic, the hooded sepal 1.5-2.3 cm high, soon horizontal, the summit elongate-conical, with a straight beak in front.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Perianth usually white, upper sepal elongate-conic, about twice as high as long; rachis and pedicels strigulose, the hairs short, stiff, incurved; roots fascicled slender.
Duration: PERENNIAL, DECIDUOUS
Reproduction Comments: 2n=16, A self incompatible, protandrous species. The dispersal vectors of this species is assumed to be animals.
Ecology Comments: In Pennsylvania, A. reclinatum is uncommon, with only two extant sites. Areas have moist soil (one is a seep, the other a valley bottom). Sites are forested, although they have been logged. The most recently logged site has improved from approximately five plants in 1978 to over 55 clumps in 1986. The second site has several colonies, totaling approximately 100 plants in 1993. The long-term effect of logging is unknown. (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, 1995)

A. reclinatum appears secure in Virginia with well over 50 sites in the mountains. It is often found in deep mountain ravines, on greenstone or other rich substrate (Ludwig, C. 1995).

This species also appears secure in North Carolina. Several populations have thousands of plants (a few with tens of thousands). Most are found in rich forested coves, seeps, streambanks, and moist boulderfields. (North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, 1995).

In West Virginia most populations are small (5-10 plants), but a few are larger with approximately 50 plants (one site has over 200). Since its habitat is fairly common in West Virginia, it is probably more abundant than the data show, with several undocumented sites. It is found in the higher elevations, mostly at streamsides or in seeps and almost exclusively on Cateache soils with Mauch Chunk geology (Concannon, J., 1996). One plant was found at a cave exit in the cool air drainage. Other occurrences are on disturbed land where seeps and coves meet roadcuts.

According to Hardin (1964), species may be vulnerable to habitat disturbance.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: This specie occurs in rich, mixed forests in the mountains at high elevations and is often found along streams, in coves, seeps or other moist areas. Virginia notes this species in deep mountain ravines and on greenstone (C. Ludwig 1995). North Carolina reports many occurrences from moist cove forests.
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Genus reported to be poisonous, but human use of inherent chemistry is unknown.
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Continue to monitor known populations for status of threats, site condition, and abundance of plants. Survey potential habitat for new populations. Review most critical threats and consider the feasibility of their removal/control and how those efforts will impact the quality of habitat for the species, as well as other species of interest. Record and monitor the impact of management actions that are directed towards the species or habitat. In Pennsylvania (P. Wiegman, pers. comm. 1995), West Virginia (J. Concannon, pers. comm. 1996), and undoubtedly elsewhere, A. reclinatum suffers from deer browse. In 1993, Pennsylvania enclosed one of the populations due to deer browse, and it is now a protected site. As a result, the plants grew to a normal height and bloomed. Any signs of deer browse should be noted when sites are visited. Management of seepage, moist and streamside habitats may be required. For sites proposed for logging on Forest Service and other public lands, work with land manager to create a logging plan that is compatible with the species.
Restoration Potential: Aconitum reclinatum seems to be a fairly resistant species. Populations that suffer from severe deer browse can be enclosed to aid in the recovery of the site. The colonies within a deer exclosure in Pennsylvania have more than tripled. The long-term effects of logging are not known.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Any preserve should have a buffer that would allow for the maintenance of the moist habitat occurring at many sites.
Management Requirements: Currently Aconitum reclinatum needs very little management. Sites having excessive deer browse can benefit from exclosures. When logging in areas known to harbor A. reclinatum, care should be taken not to degrade habitat (e.g. drying out moist areas, exposing plant to direct sunlight, overcrowding resulting from second growth, etc.). Many occurrences are on or near streamsides, and this should be taken into consideration when stream alterations (dams, bank stabilization) are planned. Buffering the riparian area with a 100 ft zone on either side of logged streams is recommended (J. Concannon, pers. comm., 1996).
Monitoring Requirements: Most sites probably do not need to be actively monitored, although sites that have not been visited in the last five years should be revisited.

Management Programs: The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry had one of the populations enclosed to protect it from deer browse. After the site was enclosed in 1993, the population rose from one plant in 1993 to five plants in 1995. The population is on lands owned by the Bureau of Forestry and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. They were also interested in the sexual reproduction success at this site and discovered that after the plants flowered a fungus attacked the stem and rotted it before the fruits could set. The fungus eventually destroys the plants, leaving only roots.
Monitoring Programs: Pennsylvania Heritage monitors their enclosed site every year (K. McKenna, pers. comm, 1995).
Management Research Programs: Kathy McKenna of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry is overseeing a study of the sexual reproduction at their enclosed site.
Management Research Needs: Study long-term effects of logging and deer browse. Determine what kind of fungus has attacked the species in Pennsylvania, and if it is specific to Aconitum reclinatum. Also determine the long-term effects of the parasitism.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Aug2018
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Harmon, P.J. (1994), rev. L. Morse (1997), rev. Treher (2018)
Management Information Edition Date: 02Aug2018
Management Information Edition Author: SARGENT, BARBARA WEST VIRGINIA HERITAGE PROGRAM, ELKINS, WV; PHONE: (304) 637-0245 (1996), rev. Treher (2018)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 30Apr1991
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): ISAAC, J.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Fernald, M.L. 1949. Gray's Manual of Botany, Eighth edition. American Book Co. New York. B49FER01PAUS

  • Fernald, M.L. 1950 Gray's Manual of Botany, 8th ed. American Book Company, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A. & Cronquist, A. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Edition. The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY 10458. U.S.A. B91GLE01PAUS.

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. New Britton & Brown. Illustrated Flora. Lancaster Press Inc. Lancaster, Pa. B52GLE01PAUS

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. The new Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 3 volumes. Hafner Press, New York. 1732 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Hardin, J.W. 1964. Variation in Aconitum of eastern United States. Brittonia 16:80-94.

  • Hardin, J.W. 1964. Variation in Aconitum of Eastern United States. Brittonia 16:80-94. A64HAR01PAUS

  • Henry, L.K. and Buker, W.E. 1958. The Ranunculaceae in Western Pennsylvania. Castanea 23:33-46. A58HEN01PAUS

  • Henry, L.K. and W.E. Buker. 1958. The Ranunculaceae in western Pennsylvania. Castanea 23(2):33-45.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Keener, C.S. 1976. STUDIES OF THE RANUNCULACEAE OF THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES II. THALICTRUM. RHODORA g8:457- 472.

  • Keener, C.S. 1976. Studies of the Ranunculaceae of the southeastern United States. II. Thalictrum. Rhodora 78:457- 472.

  • McCance, R.M. and Burns, J.F. eds 1984. Ohio Endangered and Threatened Vascular Plants: Abstracts of State-Listed Taxa, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Department of Natural Resources, Columbus, Ohio 635p. B84MCC01PAUS.

  • McCance, R.M., Jr., and J.F. Burns, eds. 1984. Ohio endangered and threatened vascular plants: Abstracts of state-listed taxa. Division Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Dept. Natural Resources, Columbus. 635 pp.

  • Natural Heritage Program Files. 1996. Unpublished.

  • Strausbaugh, P. D. and E. L. Core. 1977. Flora of West Virginia, 2nd. ed. Seneca Books, Grantsville, WV 1079 p.

  • Strausbaugh, P.D., and E.L. Core. 1978. Flora of West Virginia. Seneca Books, Inc., Grantsville, WV. 1079 pp.

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