Aletris bracteata - Northrop
Bracted Colicroot
Other Common Names: bracted colicroot
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Aletris bracteata Northrop (TSN 500954)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.151013
Element Code: PMLIL01020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Lily Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Liliales Liliaceae Aletris
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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: Aletris bracteata
Taxonomic Comments: Aletris bracteata was named early this century and maintained as distinct by Small (Manual of Southeastern Flora) and Ward (Keys to Florida Plants). However, Long and Lakela (Flora of South Florida) and Correll and Correll (Flora of the Bahamas) lumped it under the widespread A. farinosa, but without giving credible reasons. Zomlefer (Generic Flora of the Southeastern US) summarizes the differences between the two species and notes that A. farinosa barely enters Florida. The nearest population of A. farinosa to A. bracteata is about 450 miles distant. The distinct morphology and ecology of A. bracteata argue strongly for recognition at the species level.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 11Jun1999
Global Status Last Changed: 11Jun1999
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: No actual occurrences in any database. Although it is possible that there were over 100 populations historically, there certainly are fewer now, due to habitat destruction in Dade County, Florida, and near Nassau, Bahamas. Specific searches have not been done in any part of range. Identifiable threats. Very small range and physical acreage covered. Appears to be doing well in suitable habitat on Andros Island, Bahamas.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2

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 Florida (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Known only from Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida, and Abaco, Andros, and New Providence Islands, Bahamas. There are extant populations in all of these areas, but the total acreage of occurrence is consistent with A rank. It is known from the Keys portion of Monroe County, but has it been documented from the mainland portion? Does it occur within Everglades National Park?

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Although it is possible that there were over 100 populations historically, there certainly are fewer now, due to habitat destruction in Dade County, Florida, and near Nassau, Bahamas. There are not many collections of Aletris bracteata in herbaria and it is difficult to tell former abundance from this inadequate record. It has only recently been added to the Florida tracking list and is not tracked in the Bahamas because the most recent floristic manual (Correll and Correll 1982) lumps it under A. farinosa. On Andros Island in the Bahamas, it is still relatively widespread in suitable habitat (B.A. Sorrie pers. comm.).

Population Size Comments: Populations seldom exceed 100 plants, usually many fewer.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Primary threat is loss of habitat due to suburban development. Some populations have also been lost from agricultural development.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Declining due to development in Dade County, Florida, the Florida Keys, and on New Providence Island, Bahamas.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Known only from Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida, and Abaco, Andros, and New Providence Islands, Bahamas. There are extant populations in all of these areas, but the total acreage of occurrence is consistent with A rank. It is known from the Keys portion of Monroe County, but has it been documented from the mainland portion? Does it occur within Everglades National Park?

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 FL

Range Map
No map available.

National Distribution Outside of U.S. & Canada: Bahamas

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Miami-Dade (12086)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Scapose perennial herb composed of a rosette of basal leaves and a single flowering stalk 1-2.5 feet tall. Basal leaves are roughly an inch wide by 4-6 inches long. The flower stalk is slender, with a number of very small, bract-like or scale-like leaves along its length, terminated by a dense inflorescence up to 8 inches long. Flowers are sessile or very short-stalked, stick out at 90 degrees, white, tubular with six short, flaring lobes. A curiosity of all North American Aletris is the mealy or farinose texture of the flowers.
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Savanna, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Aletris bracteata occurs in savannas just above the zone of tidal influence, and farther inland in openings within pine woodland-savanna matrix. Limestone (oolite) is usually present as abundantly pitted rock at ground level or slightly above. Woody vegetation consists of scattered cabbage palmetto, Caribbean pine (or slash pine in Florida), poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), brier-tree (Bucida spinosa) and other small trees; plus a variety of low shrubs, such as Chamaecrista lineata, Ernodia littorale, Jacquinia keyensis, Tabebuia bahamensis, Agave bahamensis, Byrsonima lucida, Chiococca alba, Smilax havanensis, Stemodia maritima. Common herbs include Agalinis harperi, Aristida vilfifolia, Aster bracei, Bletia purpurea, Buchnera floridana, Cassytha filiformis, Centella erecta, Cladium jamaicensis, Polygala grandiflora, Rhynchospora (Dichromena) floridensis, Sabatia stellaris, Schizachyrium gracile, Schoenus nigricans. On Andros Island, Bahamas, Aletris bracteata also occurs in tussock marsh community, where it (along with many other species) perches on the tall, semi-woody, trunk-like tussocks of Cladium jamaicensis.
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 19May1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: B.A. Sorrie
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 13Nov1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): LPP

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
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxvi + 723 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.

  • Zomlefer, W. B. 1997. The genera of Nartheciaceae in the Southeastern United States. Harvard Papers in Botany 2: 195-211.

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