Arabis perstellata - E.L. Braun
Braun's Rockcress
Synonym(s): Boechera perstellata (E.L. Braun) Al-Shehbaz
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Arabis perstellata E.L. Braun (TSN 22721) ;Boechera perstellata (E.L. Braun) Al-Shehbaz (TSN 823071)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.130490
Element Code: PDBRA061G0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Arabis
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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: Arabis perstellata
Taxonomic Comments: As treated here (following Kartesz, 1994 and 1999; Rollins, 1993; FNA vol. 7 (2010); and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), excludes the relatively widespread species Arabis shortii, which has sometimes been included in Arabis perstellata as Arabis perstellata var. shortii. As here treated (excluding A. shortii), Arabis perstellata occurs only in Kentucky and Tennessee (and might be found in northern Alabama, but lacks verified records there). Kartesz (1994 checklist and 1999 Synthesis) does not recognize any infraspecific varieties in Arabis perstellata; the Kartesz treatment is based on Rollins' work (J. Kartesz, pers. comm. to Larry Morse, 25Nov99). However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distinguishes var. ampla (the Tennessee populations) from the typical var. perstellata (the Kentucky populations), the former being generally larger and less hairy. However, the features used to distinguish var. ampla from var. perstellata may be only morphological responses to environmental conditions such as deep shade and higher moisture levels.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 12Jul2004
Global Status Last Changed: 29Jan1997
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Currently known with certainty only from Kentucky and Tennessee; also reported from one site in Alabama, but this population has never been relocated. Most occurrences consist of a few individuals, although a few Kentucky populations have over 1000 plants each. This species is threatened throughout its range by development, logging, grazing and trampling, and competition with native and exotic weedy species, especially the European garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).
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 Kentucky (S2), Tennessee (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (03Jan1995)
Comments on USESA: Arabis perstellata was proposed endangered on January 3, 1994 and determined endangered on January 3, 1995.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Tennessee (2 current records are from Rutherford County, with historical and extirpated records from Davidson County; all are in the Central Basin), Kentucky, and Alabama (questionable identification). Known range is from Kentucky sites along the Kentucky river system to northcentral Tennessee. Records under the name Arabis perstellata for Michigan, Virginia, and West Virgina are instead for Arabis shortii (sometimes treated as Arabis perstellata var. shortii), not A. perstellata as treated here.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 42 occurrences in Kentucky and 5 occurrences in Tennessee. There have been 8 sites in Kentucky and 5 in Tennessee that have been extirpated. Further, all of the populations are declining in quality (pers. comm. D. White).

Population Size Comments: Most occurrences are only a few individuals, but a few Kentucky sites have over a thousand individuals each.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few to some (4-40)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: All of the occurrences are threatened by non-native species, especially garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and habitat degradation/loss. Livestock grazing and trampling are also threats. Other threats include road construction, logging, erosion and other impacts resulting from development.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Arabis perstellata is persistent and stable at some Kentucky sites, whereas at others it has declined in numbers or its habitat has been destroyed. In Tennessee, one site appears to be comprised of older individuals that are not reproducing (Jones 1991 in USFWS 1996).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Persistent and fairly resilient if habitat integrity maintained.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Tennessee (2 current records are from Rutherford County, with historical and extirpated records from Davidson County; all are in the Central Basin), Kentucky, and Alabama (questionable identification). Known range is from Kentucky sites along the Kentucky river system to northcentral Tennessee. Records under the name Arabis perstellata for Michigan, Virginia, and West Virgina are instead for Arabis shortii (sometimes treated as Arabis perstellata var. shortii), not A. perstellata as treated here.

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 KY, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Franklin (21073), Henry (21103), Owen (21187)
TN Davidson (47037)*, Rutherford (47149), Smith (47159), Wilson (47189)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201)+, Stones (05130203)+, Harpeth (05130204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A spreading perennial herb with stems that grow 1-8 dm long, arising from a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves and stems are densely covered with white, matted hairs, giving them a grayish-green appearance. The plants produce numerous white to lavender flowers. Fruits are densely pubescent siliques. Blooms from late March to early May. Fruits mature from mid-May to early June.
General Description: A decumbent, spreading perennial herb with round, fuzzy-grayish-green stems that grow 1-8 dm long arising horizontally from a basal rosette of leaves. Both sides of the alternate leaves, and the stems, are densely covered with fine, white, matted hairs, giving the plant a grayish appearance. Produces white to lavender cross-shaped flowers in late March-early May. The fruits are long pods (siliques), containing reddish- brown, flattened seeds about 1mm long.
Technical Description: A decumbent, spreading perennial herb with round, fuzzy-grayish-green stems that grow 1-8 dm long arising horizontally from a basal rosette of leaves. Both sides of the alternate leaves, and the stems, are densely covered with fine, white, matted hairs, giving the plant a grayish appearance. [Examination with a 10 x lens will reveal star-like or stellate hairs.] Lower leaves are 1.5-6 inches long, obovate-oblanceolate, with slightly toothed and divided margins; upper leaves are smaller. Produces white to lavender cross-shaped flowers in late March-early May; these have 4 petals about 2.5-3.7 mm long, and 4 sepals, these pale green and a little shorter than the petals (2-3 mm). The flowers are numerous, and produced on a long raceme. The fruits are long pods (siliques), containing reddish-brown, flattened seeds about 1mm long.
Diagnostic Characteristics: This species has been treated as comprising two 2 varieties -- var. perstellata and var. ampla. Var. ampla, known from Tennessee, is generally larger and less hairy. The taxonomic distinction between these 2 varieties is in question. The features used to distinguish var. ampla from the Kentucky populations, var. perstellata, may be only morphological responses to environmental conditions such as deep shade and higher moisture levels. Arabis perstellata is distinguished from other Arabis by a combination of characteristics: stems may be single to several to many, erect, leaves and stems pubescent, hairs mostly stellate, cauline leaves sessile and dentate, petals white to lavender, fruiting pedicels widely spreading to slightly ascending, siliques straight, densely pubescent, and 1.5-2 cm long, seeds wingless. For a technical description see Rollins (1993).
Reproduction Comments: Arabis perstellata is facing potential inbreeding problems because of low population numbers (Rollins 1993).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: Typically found on mesic, shady, steep, north-facing wooded slopes, however, no exposure is 'preferred' in Kentucky, above streams or in ravines that lead into streams. The soils at these sites are derived from limestones, which often outcrop. The plants often occur either in sheltered areas, such as around the bases of larger trees, or in areas where there is little competition, such as in places regularly scoured by talus movement or erosion. It can also occur in areas of disturbance such as animal trails and roadcuts. It should be sought on shady forested limestone slopes with wild ginger (Asarum canadense), in forests dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum), chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata), Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra), and Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Active management is required, if are is not stable, to ensure the survival of Arabis perstellata (USFWS 1996). Management should include controlling invasive species, especially garlic mustard, fencing sensitive habitat to prevent trampling or grazing, coordinating with state Departments of Transportation, and developing reintroduction and propagation techniques (USFWS 1996).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Over 500 reproductive plants (at least estimated) over at least 50 acres of mesophytic forest. The population at this rank level occurs in a forest that is relatively good quality (C-ranked) at a minimum) throughout (from bottom to top of the slope) including trees over 14-18 in dbh and a diverse herbaceous cover. Exotic pest plants not present or less than 1% of the herbaceous cover.
Good Viability: The number of reproductive plants 500-250 (at least estimated) over at least 30 acres of mesophytic forest. The forest should be of good quality (C-ranked) at a minimum) including trees over 14-18 in dbh and a diverse herbaceous cover. Exotic pest plants represent less than 5% of herbaceous cover and limited in distribution.
Fair Viability: The number of reproductive plants 250 - 50 (at least estimated) over at least 20 acres of mesophytic forest. The plants may be limited to one level or area in the forest (such as a series of rock outcrops or a pocket of higher quality forest within a larger matrix of poorer quality forest). A site with fewer than 50 plants may be ranked at this level if the forest is exceptional quality, with few exotic pest plants present, and more than 20 acres in size.
Poor Viability: Less than 50 plants.
Justification: Based on a review of all occurrences including population size, habitat condition and threats.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 24Jan2005
Author: White, D.
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: 29Jan1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: S. Gottlieb & C. Russell (1992), rev. D. White and L.E. Morse (1996), rev. Pyne/Maybury (1996), rev. A. Tomaino (2004)
Management Information Edition Date: 12Jul2004
Management Information Edition Author: Tomaino, A.
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): rev. A. Tomaino (2004)

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
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  • Al-Shehbaz, Ihsan A. 2003. Transfer of Most North American Species of Arabis to Boechera (Brassicaceae). Novon 13, 4:381-391.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2010. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 7. Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxii + 797 pp.

  • JONES, RONALD L. 1991. STATUS SURVEY REPORT ON ARABIS PERSTELLATA VAR. PERSTELLATA. PREPARED FOR US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.

  • 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.

  • Kral, R. 1983a. A report on some rare, threatened or endangered forest related vascular plants of the south. USFS technical publication R8-TP2, Atlanta, GA. Vol. 1: 718 pp.

  • 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.

  • Kral, R. 1983f. Status report on Arabis perstellata. Unpublished report for U.S. Forest Service.

  • McCue, K. 2002. National Collection Plant Profile: Arabis perstellata, Center for Plant Conservation. Online. Available: http://ridgwaydb.mobot.org/cpcweb/CPC_ViewProfile.asp?CPCNum=6035 (accessed 12 July 2004).

  • Medley, M.E. 1980. Status report on Arabis perstellata var. perstellata. Unpublished report for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contract #14-16-004-79-105. Region IV.

  • Medley, M.E. 1981. Status report on Arabis perstellata var. ampla. Unpublished report for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contract #14-16-004-79-105. Region IV.

  • Pyne, M., M. Gay, and A. Shea. 1995. Guide to rare plants - Tennessee Division of Forestry District 5. Tennessee Dept. Agriculture, Division of Forestry, Nashville.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1993a. The Cruciferae of continental North America: Systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, California. 976 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Determination of endangered status for Arabis perstellata. Federal Register 60(1): 56-61.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. January last update. Braun's Rock Cress (Arabis perstellata) Species Account. Endangered and threatened species of the southeastern United States (The Red Book), FWS Region 4. Online. Available: http://endangered.fws.gov/i/q/saqdg.html (accessed 12 July 2004).

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