Agrimonia incisa - Torr. & Gray
Incised Groovebur
Other English Common Names: Incised Agrimony
Other Common Names: incised agrimony
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Agrimonia incisa Torr. & Gray (TSN 25096)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.137637
Element Code: PDROS03040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Rose Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Rosales Rosaceae Agrimonia
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Concept Reference
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: Agrimonia incisa
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Feb2013
Global Status Last Changed: 28Jun1995
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: While ranging from South Carolina to Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas along the coastal plain, this sandhill species is only local in occurrence because of the removal of much of the original longleaf pine associations, exclusion of fire, or conversion to pine plantations.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S2), Florida (S2), Georgia (S3), Louisiana (S1), Mississippi (S3), South Carolina (S2), Texas (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Found in the coastal plain from South Carolina south to central Florida and west to Mississippi, Louisiana, and east Texas (Kline and Sørensen 2008, MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997, McMillan et al. 2002).

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300

Population Size Comments: Considered rare throughout its range. Some large populations have been found, however (MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many (41-125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: The largest number of apparently viable occurrences are in Mississippi and Georgia (EO data in the NatureServe central database as of November 2012).

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The primary threat to this species is loss of habitat through exclusion of fire (MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997) or conversion to intensively managed pine plantations (Kral 1983). Logging practices that involve extensive site preparation and/or the use of certain herbicides would probably destroy populations along with associated native plant species. A decrease in animal populations might reduce the opportunity for seed dispersal, and loss of pollinators (e.g. through the use of insecticides) could limit seed production. Small bees (subfamily Halictinae) are pollinators (MacRoberts and Mac Roberts 1997). Root raking and lack of fire are detrimental for this species (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Loss of open fire maintained habitat is ongoing.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: A large portion of the historic habitat has been converted to other uses, or to closed canopy forests due to the lack of fire.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Reforestation practices that involve extensive mechanical site preparation and/or the use of certain herbicides would probably destroy populations along with associated native plant species.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Found in the coastal plain from South Carolina south to central Florida and west to Mississippi, Louisiana, and east Texas (Kline and Sørensen 2008, MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997, McMillan et al. 2002).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, SC, TX

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Baldwin (01003)*, Mobile (01097)*, Washington (01129)*
FL Alachua (12001)*, Calhoun (12013), Citrus (12017), Clay (12019), Columbia (12023), Dixie (12029)*, Escambia (12033), Hamilton (12047), Hernando (12053), Jackson (12063), Leon (12073), Liberty (12077), Madison (12079)*, Marion (12083)*, Suwannee (12121), Wakulla (12129)
LA Washington (22117)
MS Forrest (28035), Harrison (28047), Lamar (28073), Perry (28111), Stone (28131), Wayne (28153)
SC Berkeley (45015), Charleston (45019), Colleton (45029)*, Orangeburg (45075)
TX Anderson (48001), Angelina (48005), Jasper (48241), Newton (48351), Sabine (48403)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Santee (03050112)+, Cooper (03050201)+, South Fork Edisto (03050204)+, Four Hole Swamp (03050206)+*, Bulls Bay (03050209)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+*, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Aucilla (03110103)+*, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+*, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Lower Chattahoochee (03130004)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Perdido Bay (03140107)+, Escambia (03140305)+, Lower Tambigbee (03160203)+*, Mobile - Tensaw (03160204)+*, Mobile Bay (03160205)+*, Lower Leaf (03170005)+, Black (03170007)+, Escatawpa (03170008)+*, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004)+
12 Toledo Bend Reservoir (12010004)+, Lower Angelina (12020005)+, Lower Trinity-Tehuacana (12030201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: An herbaceous perennial with hairy leaves and stem, and with thickened roots. The spike-like inflorescence bears numerous small yellow flowers.
Technical Description: Herbaceous perennial with thickened, tuberous roots. Stems stout, simple or few-branched, 5-10 dm tall, canescent with long trichomes intermixed. Leaves 12-18 per stem, pinnately compound, with prominent stipules, the larger leaves with short petioles. Leaflets 7-9 per leaf, 1-3 cm long, 0.7-1.2 cm wide, usually opposite but sometimes staggered, sessile, elliptic to oblanceolate with acute tip and cuneate base, coarsely serrate, pubescent on both surfaces with sessile glands on the lower surface. Terminal leaflet slightly larger than others. Inflorescence a spike-like raceme with canescent peduncle and pedicels, rarely branched, bearing numerous flowers each subtended by a small bract. Flowers perfect, the hypanthium green and hairless with sessile, amber glands, rimmed apically by stiff, yellowish, hooked bristles. Sepals 5, smooth and green, dotted with glands; petals 5, yellow, 1.5-3 mm long, elliptic or obovate; stamens 5-7, alternating with petals on rim of hypanthium; styles 2-3, short; ovary mostly inferior. Fruit a pair of nutlets 2.0-2.5 mm long, enclosed by the bur-like hypanthium (Radford et al. 1968, Kral 1983, Clewell 1985).
Diagnostic Characteristics: This is the only species of Agrimonia whose terminal leaflet is 3 cm long or less, and leaflet margins which are very coarsely and saliently few-toothed. Geum sp. usually have basal rosettes, lack a floral cup, and the fruit is a long-beaked achene (The Nature Conservancy files, unpublished material).
Reproduction Comments: Agrimonia incisa blooms in mid to late summer (the University of Florida herbarium contains flowering specimens collected in every month from July to early October), by which time it has lost most of its lower leaves (Kral 1983); the previous year's stems persist through the winter (Leonard 1983b). We have found no information on pollinators, seed dispersal, germination requirements, response to fire, or other aspects of its biology. Because the fruits are burs, they are probably dispersed by animals (and people) to which they become attached.
Ecology Comments: Agrimonia incisa appears to be most commonly found in the fire-maintained longleaf pine-oak community, associated with such genera as Aristida, Andropogon, Panicum, Desmodium, Lespedeza, Liatris, Heterotheca, Solidago and Aster (Kral 1983). Its thickened roots probably sprout back readily following fires. Its occurrence in more mesic environments, however, suggests that it tolerates a range of moisture and successional conditions. At least one population appears to depend on disturbance (an old road) for its existence (Leonard 1983a). It is possible that individuals persist after the cessation of fire, but disturbances such as animal burrows, tree-fall mounds or fire-generated openings may be required for recruitment. Kral (1983) states that individuals usually occur singly or in small clumps, but Leonard (1983a and 1983b) found one population of 11-50 and another of about 60 plants in Florida.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Sandy, dry-mesic, usually upland in the lower Coastal Plain; longleaf pine-deciduous scrub oak, sandy or sandy loam. Open pine woods or mixed pine-oak woods, bluffs, small clearings and old roads, sometimes at the edge of more mesic habitats (Kral 1983, Leonard 1983a and 1983b, Gholson 1987, pers. comm.).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: A dense canopy, shrub layer and heavy rough are very likely detrimental to the development and maintenance of this rare plant. Prescribed fire is the most efficient way to manage habitat for this plant (MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997). If the application of prescribed fire is not possible, then the necessary open conditions could be maintained through canopy thinning and even bush hogging or mowing in certain areas (Kral 1983, MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997). Avoid intensive site preparation such as root raking, bedding, and use of certain herbicides which may kill these plants (Kral 1983).
Restoration Potential: Through the use of prescribed fire, large areas maintaining healthy populations of this plant can be maintained (MacRoberts and MacRoberts 1997).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 08Feb2013
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Nordman, C.
Management Information Edition Date: 08Feb2013
Management Information Edition Author: Nordman, C.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Aug1987
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): LOUISE ROBBINS, DENNIS HARDIN, FLFO

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).

  • Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to vascular plants of the Florida panhandle. Florida State Univ. Press, Tallahassee, Florida. 605 pp.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2014. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 9. Magnoliophyta: Picramniaceae to Rosaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxiv + 713 pp.

  • 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.

  • Kline, G.J., and P.D. Sørensen. 2008. A revision of Agrimonia (Rosaceae) in North and Central America. Brittonia 60(1): 11-33.

  • Kral, R. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Leonard, S.W. 1983a. Site survey summary - Robins Memorial Forest Preserve, Rt. 41 Tract, Brooksville, Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, Florida. 4 pp.

  • Leonard, S.W. 1983b. Special Plant Survey: Agrimonia incisa, Lecanto, Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 2 pp.

  • MacRoberts, M. H., and B. R. MacRoberts. 1997. The ecology of Agrimonia incisa Torrey and A. gray (Rosaceae) in the West Gulf Coastal Plain. Phytologia 82:114-28.

  • McMillan, P.D., R.K. Peet, R.D. Porcher, and B.A. Sorrie. 2002. Noteworthy botanical collections from the fire-maintained pineland and wetland communities of the coastal plain of the Carolinas and Georgia. Castanea 67(1): 61-83.

  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.

  • Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project. 2002. A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service-Region 8, Natural Heritage Programs in the Southeast, NatureServe, and independent scientists to develop and review data on 1300+ regionally and locally rare species in the Southern Appalachian and Alabama region. Database (Access 97) provided to the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe, Durham, North Carolina.

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