Buckleya distichophylla - (Nutt.) Torr.
Piratebush
Other Common Names: piratebush
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Buckleya distichophylla (Nutt.) Torr. (TSN 501086)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.137794
Element Code: PDSAN01010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Sandalwood Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Santalales Santalaceae Buckleya
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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: Buckleya distichophylla
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 26Jan2018
Global Status Last Changed: 06Mar2010
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Currently there are 40 occurrences with 17 defined as viable populations. There are many populations are small, with only about 20-30 stems. Threats include development of sites or other land conversion activities and loss of host plant (hemlock) due to the adelgid. More research is needed about the biology of the species, which may help to understand the distribution patterns and rarity of the species.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

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 (S2), Tennessee (S2), Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Southern Appalachian endemic, known only from Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Occurs in the Blue Ridge physiographic province with a few populations in the adjacent Ridge and Valley physiographic province (McCoy 2010).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are a total of 40 extant occurreces rangewide.

Population Size Comments: Many populations are small, with only about 20-30 stems.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Many occurrences are within public lands and have some level of protection. However, timber harvesting has impacted occurrences in the past (Mobray 1985) and some Virginia populations have been impacted due to road construction (Mussleman 1991). As with most imperiled species, development of unprotected lands poses a threat. Buckleya distichophylla does not always occur where there is hemlock and can use other tree species as hosts (Mussleman and Mann 1979), but it is unclear as to what effect the hemlock wooly adelgid poses to the species. Young shoots can be browsed by herbivores (Musselman 1991).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Recent survey efforts have increased the number of occurrences, but no long term monitoring has been done to determine their stability. A good number of occurrences have been seen over a long-period of years, but there are others classified as historical.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: May have some inherent problems with reproductive success.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Southern Appalachian endemic, known only from Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Occurs in the Blue Ridge physiographic province with a few populations in the adjacent Ridge and Valley physiographic province (McCoy 2010).

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, TN, VA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Buncombe (37021), Haywood (37087), Macon (37113), Madison (37115), Mitchell (37121)
TN Carter (47019), Cocke (47029), Greene (47059), Sullivan (47163), Unicoi (47171), Washington (47179)
VA Bland (51021), Botetourt (51023), Carroll (51035), Craig (51045), Giles (51071), Montgomery (51121), Pulaski (51155), Roanoke (51161), Washington (51191)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Upper James (02080201)+
03 Upper Roanoke (03010101)+
05 Upper New (05050001)+, Middle New (05050002)+
06 North Fork Holston (06010101)+, South Fork Holston (06010102)+, Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A dioecious parasitic shrub, often on-but not restricted to-Tsuga (Musselman and Mann 1979) up to 3.5 m tall; stems branching, and branchlets having the appearance of a single compound leaf; leaves opposite to subopposite, minutely pubescent especially along margins and midvein, flattened, with a subsessile base, becoming larger on each branchlet towards the summit up to 7 cm; flowers green, in umbels; fruit a drupe; both staminate and pistillate flowers lacking petals; stamens four, distinct, 1 - 1.5 mm long (Gleason and Cronquist 1991; Mobray 1985; Wofford and Chester 2002).

General Description: Buckleya is an unusual-looking parasitic shrub; its pale green leaves in a flat plane, green twigs, small pale green flowers, and its characteristic habitat make it very distinctive. It may grow to 3.5 m tall, with separate male and female plants (dioecious). Branches leafy, green, appearing as large compound leaves with opposite or subopposite leaflets. Leaves deciduous, pale green, entire, lance-shaped, larger upwards. Flowers small (2.5 mm x 1.5 mm) green, 4-parted, on the ends of lateral branches, appearing in April-May. Fruit fleshy, 1-seeded, short- stalked, ellipsoid; green at first, gradually turning yellow- orange, about 2.5 cm x 1.2 cm, with four leafy bracts at the tip, ripening from August to September. It is often associated with Hemlock (Tsuga), one of its host plants.
Technical Description: Buckleya is an unusual-looking parasitic shrub; its pale green leaves in a flat plane, green twigs, small pale green flowers, and its characteristic habitat make it very distinctive. It may grow to 3.5 m tall, with separate male and female plants (monoecious). Branches leafy, green, appearing as large compound leaves with opposite or subopposite leaflets. Leaves deciduous, pale green, entire, lance-shaped, larger upwards, flattened in a single plane, opposite to subopposite, 1- 3 in long, with a short attaching stem or none. Flowers small (2.5 mm x 1.5 mm) green, 4-parted, on the ends of lateral branches; the female solitary, the male in short clusters of 3-7, appearing in April-May. Fruit fleshy, 1-seeded, short-stalked, ellipsoid; green at first, gradually turning yellow-orange, about 2.5 cm x 1.2 cm, with four leafy bracts at the tip, ripening from August to September. It occurs in open, rocky woods on steep slopes and river bluffs, and is often associated with Hemlock (Tsuga), one of its host plants.
Diagnostic Characteristics: A distinctive shrub, pale green in appearance. The leaves are noticeably distichous (in two vertical rows) and the stems are slightly green (Mobray 1985). It differs from other members of Santalaceae family from having opposite leaves and terminal inflorescences/flowers (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Ecology Comments: Host plants include Tsuga canadensis and Pinus pungens (Leahy 2006).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: Buckleya distichophylla occurs in mountain woods at lower elevations (450-1100 m) within a variety of habitats including Virginia pine and white pine and acidic mixed-oak forests. The plants can be found scattered among host trees within openings of hemlock forests, but habitats also include south-facing slopes and chestnut oak forests (Mobray 1985). Many of the known occurrences contain a dense understory of Rhododendron maximum. Although some of the current element occurrences are found within heavily shaded areas, Mobray (1985) notes that the most robust plants occur in areas with more sunlight and "the other very predictable physical feature of its habitat is a shallow, rocky soil. . ." Botanical guides list the habitat as mountain forests or rich woods (Gleason and Cronquist 1991; Wofford and Chester 2002). It was thought that B. distichophylla was host specific to hemlocks, but subsequent investigations have shown otherwise (Mussleman and Mann 1979).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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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. Seek long term protection for exceptional sites that are at risk of development or destruction. Record and monitor the impact of management actions that are directed towards the species or habitat. Overstory thinning allowing for additional sunlight could be beneficial in some populations while burning would likely damage the shrubs (Wofford 1980). Prescribed fires may also be beneficial but more research is needed.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any naturally reproducing population of clumps of this parasitic shrub. Buckley distichophylla is typically found on moderately dry to xeric, forested slopes with open to semi-open canopies. B. distichophylla is often associated with Tsuga ssp., which it parasitizes, although other species are also suitable hosts. Most occurrences are associated with the Xeric pine-oak communities of the Southern Blue Ridge.
Separation Barriers: Barriers that separate Element occurrences include extensive saturated areas and dense forest with thick subcanopies and shrub layers.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 1 km
Date: 13Dec2002
Author: Major, C. S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: An A rated occurrence for B. distichophylla should have 200 mature clumps on 100 acres with a density ranging from 7-30 clumps/acre. These occurrences should be in a mature forested landscape with a habitat that is moderately dry to xeric, often on forested slopes with open to semi-open canopies and a sparse to moderate shrub stratum. These occurrences should not have invasive species or anthropogenic structures and modifications.
Good Viability: A B ranked occurrence for B. distichophylla should have 50 to 199 clumps on between 75 to 100 acres. These occurrences should be in a mature forested landscape with a habitat that is moderately dry to xeric, often on forested slopes with open to semi-open canopies and a sparse to moderate shrub stratum. These occurrences should be unimpacted by invasive species or anthropogenic structures and modifications or should not be impaired by limited intrusions if they occur in or adjacent to the occurrences.
Fair Viability: A C ranked occurrence for B. distichophylla should have 10 to 50 clumps on between 25 to 100 acres. These occurrences should be in a mature to young forested landscape with a habitat that is moderately dry to xeric, often on forested slopes with open to partially closed canopies and a dense to moderate shrub stratum. These occurrences may be slightly unimpacted by invasive species or anthropogenic structures and modifications. Highly impacted occurrences of an A sized or B sized occurrence should be ranked as a C ranked occurrence.
Poor Viability: 1-100 mature clumps on < 25 acres, with variable densities. These occurrences should be in a closed forested or completely open landscape with a habitat that is moderately dry to xeric. D rank occurrences on slopes with open to closed canopies with a dense subcanopy and shrub stratum. These occurrences are highly impacted by invasive and/or weedy species or anthropogenic structures and modifications.
Justification: For A Rank: A ranked specifications are based on observations of the "best" know occurrences of B. distichophylla and expert opinion. Although several studies have investigated the use of this species as an ornamental, no literature is available pertaining to the population viability and genetics of this species. When this information is acquired, the eospecs should be reassessed.

For C vs D Rank: EOs not meeting "C"-rank criteria are likely to occur in highly degraded habitats that have been impacted by anthropogenic modifications and/or invasive exotics which may out compete B. distichophylla. These habitats are mostly to completely open with limited to no potential for restoration. Degradation is severe resulting marginal population viability.

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
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: 26Jan2018
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: R. McCoy, rev. A. Tomaino (2010), rev. Treher (2018)
Management Information Edition Date: 26Jan2018
Management Information Edition Author: R. McCoy, rev. Treher (2018)
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Original not dated; revised R. McCoy (2006)

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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  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2016. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 12. Magnoliophyta: Vitaceae to Garryaceae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiv + 603 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.

  • 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.

  • McCoy, R. 2010. Current status of Buckleya distichophylla in Tennessee. Report prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tennessee Natural Heritage Program.

  • Mowbray, T.B. 1985. Final status report on Buckleya distichophylla. Report submitted to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Endangered Species Office, Asheville, NC.

  • Musselman, L.J. 1991. Buckeya. In Porter, D.M. and T.F. Wiebolt. Virginia's endangered species. Virginia nongame and endangered species program.

  • Musselman, L.J. 1982. The Santalaceae of Virginia. Castanea 47(3): 276-283.

  • Musselman, L.J., and W.F. Mann, Jr. 1979. Notes on seed germination and parasitism of seedlings of Buckleya distichophylla (Santalaceae). Castanea 44: 108-113.

  • 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.

  • Sutter, R.D., V. Frantz, and K.A. McCarthy. 1988. Atlas of rare and endangered plant species in North Carolina. North Carolina Dept. Agriculture, Plant Protection Section, Conservation Program, Raleigh, North Carolina. 174 pp.

  • Weakley, A.S. 1996. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of 23 May 1996. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Dept., Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Unpaginated.

  • Wofford, B. E. 1980. Inventory of proposed threatened and endangered plant species: Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee. 2 volumes. University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

  • Wofford, B.E. and E.W. Chester. 2002. Guide to the trees, shrubs, and woody vines of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 286 pp.

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