Baptisia arachnifera - Duncan
Hairy Rattleweed
Other English Common Names: Cobwebby Wild Indigo
Other Common Names: cobwebby wild indigo
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Baptisia arachnifera Duncan (TSN 192870)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.157477
Element Code: PDFAB0G020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
Image 21754

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Baptisia
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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: Baptisia arachnifera
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Jan1996
Global Status Last Changed: 04Nov1986
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Known only from a 260 square km area of the lower Coastal Plain of Georgia. Much of this species' native habitat is currently pine plantation managed for pulpwood, but some of the management techniques appear to be compatible with maintaining the open habitat this species' requires.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1

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 Georgia (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (26Apr1978)
Comments on USESA: Baptisia arachnifera was proposed endangered on June 16, 1976 and listed as Federally Endangered on April 26, 1978 under the Endangered Species Act.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Baptisia arachnifera only occurs in a 50-square mile area in Brantley and Wayne counties in Southeast Georgia, on the Lower Coastal Plain (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1995).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Occurrences are scattered over a 125 square mile area.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species has lost significant natural habitat to conversion for silviculture plantations. Although persisting in these plantations it has been stated that there has been a decline in population sizes since it was discovered in 1943 by Dr. Wilbur Duncan (Faircloth, 1983). Fire suppression in these plantations and in the remaining natural habitat areas may also be contributing to diminishing populations.

Short-term Trend Comments: Faircloth (1983) suggests that this species has significantly declined since it was first discovered by Wilbur Duncan in the 1940s. Faircloth states that the primary reason for this decline is conversion of natural habitat to silvicultural plantation. It is true that the natural habitat for this species has significantly been reduced, however, there are numerous populations within open pine plantations which are in many cases more vigorous than those in natural habitat due to decreased competition from woody vegetation. It is unclear if there has actually been a decline in the number of populations since the 1940s.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Capable of asexual reproduction if roots are cut.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Baptisia arachnifera only occurs in a 50-square mile area in Brantley and Wayne counties in Southeast Georgia, on the Lower Coastal Plain (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 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 GA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
GA Brantley (13025), Wayne (13305)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Altamaha (03070106)+, Satilla (03070201)+, Little Satilla (03070202)+, Cumberland-St. Simons (03070203)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb, 5-8 dm tall, that is covered with grayish-white cobwebby hairs. Leaves are heart-shaped. Flowers (late June-early August) are bright yellow, borne in terminal clusters.
General Description: Perennial herb. Plants are 4-8 dm tall and covered with grayish-white, cobwebby hairs, especially on the upper stems, leaves, bracts and sepals. The leaves are simple, alternate, heart-shaped, 2-6 cm long, 1.5-5.0 cm wide, blue-green, and with or without short (1-2 mm long) stalks (petioles). The flowers are in terminal racemes, usually on several secondary branches. The five bright yellow petals form a "papillionaceous" corolla as is typical of the bean family, about 1 cm long and as wide. The fruit is a pod, 8-15 mm long, 6-9 mm wide, woody, conspicuously stalked and beaked, containing very few seeds (2-7). Flowering period: late June to early August. Fruiting period: August to October.
Diagnostic Characteristics: The only other Baptisia species that can be confused with B. arachnifera is B. perfoliata. B. arachnifera is easily distinguished from B. perfoliata by the spider web-like pubescence on its leaves and stems. Also the bases of the leaves of B. perfoliata completely surround the stem while they are slightly clasping on B. arachnifera.
Ecology Comments: B. arachnifera can occur as widely scattered individual plants or in dense clusters. Research done by the Rayonier Corportation suggest that populations tend to be clumping (B. Krueger, written comm.). Much more research is needed on the ecology of this species.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: This species naturally occurred in open sandy areas within longleaf pine-saw palmetto flatwoods. It is now persisting in intensively managed slash and loblolly pine plantations, powerline right-of-ways, roadsides and a few small natural areas. An estimated 95-99% of its original habitat has been converted to pine plantations.
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: B. arachnifera is a light-loving species which appears to be easily outcompeted when there is a lack of disturbance which controls competing vegetation. This species does well in power lines and road right-of-ways which are mowed. It is not known if time of mowing has any effect. Prescribed fire would be the most ideal form of management in natural habitats since it would also benefit the plant communities. However, it appears this species can be maintained in antropogenic habitats by mechanical means, if necessary.
Restoration Potential: The potential for restoring populations of this species is still very high. Most of the natural habitat for this species has been converted to pine plantations, so restoration efforts will have to focus on areas where the species is doing well in pine plantations and right-of-ways. The Nature Conservancy of Georgia currently holds a registry on one of the few natural sites remaining. Preserves need to be established in the other remaing natural habitat areas. The best restoration efforts other than preserves would be to work with the timber industry on methods to improve habitat for this species in their plantations.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Preseve design considerations should take into account the number of desired plants and the fact that fire is likely the best management tool. Population viability needs to be researched further.
Management Requirements: B. arachnifera does not do well in shaded situations. With the exclusion of fire it can easily be outcompeted by shrubby species such as gallberry, saw palmetto and fetterbush. Open sunny areas must be maintained to manage for this species. Although fire is the most ecologically sound management technique, mechanical removal of competing vegetation should be experimented with..
Monitoring Requirements: Monitoring should be conducted by setting up 50 X 50 meter plots in areas which are being mangaged for B. arachnifera. Plot data collected should include number of individual plants and their distribution in each 10 X 10 meter subplot, number of flowers or fruits per plant, canopy and shrub cover, percentage of open grassy areas in subplots, and notes on the general health ot the plants observed. Presence or absence of Say's weevil (Apion rostrum) may also be improtant.

Management Programs: No active management programs are known although Rayonier Corporation is conducting management research.
Monitoring Programs: In 1996 TNC-Georgia initiated a monitoring program on a registry site in Brantley county. One 50 X 50 meter pemananent plot was set up and will be monitored on an annual basis. Data collected included spatial distribution within subplots, number of fruits, canopy cover etc.
Management Research Programs: Rayonier Corporation has completed one study on the spatial distribution of hairy rattleweed and is in the implementation stage of two other studies which will focus on thinning vs. no thinning and on the effect of burning (Beverly Krueger, written com. 1998)
Management Research Needs: The relationship of light to plant growth needs to be studied further. Research is needed on mechanical vegetation removal versus prescribed fire.
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: 06Jul1987
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Roth, E., rev. Patrick/Allison/Maybury (1996)
Management Information Edition Date: 01Jul1998
Management Information Edition Author: KEITH R. TASSIN
Management Information Acknowledgments: Thanks to Jim Allison and Malcolm Hodges for reviewing this ESA.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Jul1998
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): KEITH R. TASSIN

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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  • Faircloth, W.R. 1983. Hairy Rattleweed Recovery Plan. Report submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, 1 July 1983. 58 pp.

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 1995. Protected Plants of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Wildlife Resources Division. Social Circle.

  • Isely, D. 1990. Vascular flora of the southeastern United States. Vol. 3, Part 2. Leguminosae (Fabaceae). Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 258 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.

  • Patrick, T.S., J.R. Allison, and G.A. Krakow. 1995. Protected plants of Georgia: an information manual on plants designated by the State of Georgia as endangered, threatened, rare, or unusual. Georgia Dept. Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Natural Heritage Program, Social Circle, Georgia. 218 pp + appendices.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1984. Hairy Rattleweed Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 58pp.

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