Clematis morefieldii - Kral
Morefield's Leatherflower
Other English Common Names: Huntsville Vasevine
Other Common Names: Huntsville vasevine
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Clematis morefieldii Kral (TSN 195026)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148859
Element Code: PDRAN081A0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buttercup Family
Image 10384

© Alabama Natural Heritage Program

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Clematis
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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: Clematis morefieldii
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 20Mar2006
Global Status Last Changed: 02Mar2006
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: A total of 24 extant occurrences are known as of 2005 with 17 in Alabama and 7 in Tennessee. A total of 9 of these occurrences have good viability and 8 have formal protection The majority, however, face threats from residential development.
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 Alabama (S2), Tennessee (S2)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (20May1992)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: 24 in total. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Natural Heritage conducted a survey in 2005 for the species in Franklin, Marion and Coffee Counties Tennessee. During this survey six new populations were discovered in Franklin County.

Population Size Comments: Total unknown. The populations discovered in Tennessee in 2005 ranged in size from a few vines to possibly more than a thousand vines (TDEC 2005).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Seven of the Alabama occurrences of this species have good viability (Schotz pers. comm., TDEC 2005). Two of the occurrences in Tennessee have good viability (TDEC 2005).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Development poses imminent threat to several sites containing over half of the species' total numbers in Alabama (USFWS 1994). As of 2004, development is still a threat to this species as two-thirds of the sites in Alabama are in residential areas. Introduction of non-native plants is also a threat to this species (Schotz pers. comm.). Observational evidence suggests that this species has low seed viability. It may also have strict seed germination requirements, but this is conjecture (Schotz pers. comm.). Mealy bug infestations were observed in several locations and on numerous vines and may inhibit the reproductive capacity of the species. Mealy bugs tend to congregate on and attack the peduncle of the vines causing premature decline in reproduction (TDEC 2005).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: The species was first collected in the early 1980's near Huntsville, since then three of 17 occurrences have been destroyed in Alabama due to road building, site clearing, and herbicide use associated with residential development. Probably unknown sites where this species did occur are now developed. The species may continue to decline in the future due to development given its proximity to the city of Huntsville.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: The species has probably seen a longterm decline (Schotz pers. comm.).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Observational evidence suggests that this species has low seed viability. It may also have strict seed germination requirements, but this is conjecture (pers. comm. A. Schotz).

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: This species does require a specific habitat. It grows in rocky limestone woods in very rocky areas where there are boulders (pers. comm. A. Schotz).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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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 AL, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Jackson (01071), Madison (01089)
TN Franklin (47051), Grundy (47061)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Collins (05130107)+
06 Guntersville Lake (06030001)+, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+, Upper Elk (06030003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Clematis morefieldii is a densely hairy perennial vine in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) within the Viornae subsection, which is noted for its narrow endemics (Kral 1987, USFWS 1994). It is a sprawling vine with compound leaves with stems up to 5 m long. The leaves up to 2 dm long have 9 to 11 paired leaflets and the terminal 1 to 3 leaflets form tendrils. It flowers from mid-May to early July, the flowers are urn-shaped, leathery and greenish, tinged with pink or rose, and located in the leaf axils either solitary or in cymes of 1 to 5 flowers. The fruits are clusters of hairy achenes 7 to 9 mm long (USFWS 1994).
Diagnostic Characteristics: This species, so far found only on limestone uplands around Huntsville, Alabama and Franklin County, Tennessee, is closely related to Clematis viorna. However, C. morefieldii is distinguished by the dense white hairs on the shoot, velvety lower leaf surfaces, and stouter, usually shorter (15 to 25 mm or 0.6 to 1.0 inch long) peduncles with sessile to nearly sessile bracts at the base (Kral 1987, USFWS 1994). The only other Clematis found commonly in the same habitat is C. virginina, which is part of a different section (Kral 1987). C. viorna has been found in association with C. morefieldii at one location in Tennessee. One specimen of C. viorna was collected for documentation and comparison. The maroon flowers of C. viorna were in stark contrast to the pink-yellow-green gradation of C. morefieldii (TDEC 2005).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: C. morefieldii occurs in the Cumberland Plateau physiographic region of Alabama and Tennessee. It occurs in patches on limestone bluffs within open red cedar-hardwood forests, and near springs, seeps and ephemeral streams in rocky limestone woods (USFWS 1994). The vines root in clay-loam soils among massive limestone boulders (Kral 1987). This species is known from the area around Huntsville (USFWS 1994) and was recently discovered in Franklin County, Tennessee in 2003 (Estes pers. comm.). This species does require a specific habitat (Schotz pers. comm.), typically at elevations of 800 to 1700 feet, on the south and southwest facing slopes of mountains (TDEC 2005, USFWS 1994, Weber 1991).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Research is needed on the population dynamics and how populations respond to gaps in the forest canopy. Knowing how this species responds to forest canopy gaps would further the understanding of how to manage the species. Information on its pollination ecology is also needed (Schotz pers. comm.). Management may include increasing the amount of light to vines through careful selective logging or hand clearing of understory vegetation. Weber (1991) reported reduced vigor for vines under extremely shaded conditions, and populations appear to have been enhanced at sites where the canopy was more open from a limited amount of selective logging. Additional inventory is needed in the western portion of the Cumberland Plateau in Alabama and Tennessee.

Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: An A-ranked occurrence of Clematis morefieldii is an occurrenc containing more than 750 vines in sites with minimal habitat disturbance, or smaller occurrences (400 - 750 vines) in pristine conditions.

Good Viability: A B-ranked occurrence of Clematis morefieldii is an occurrence containing 400 - 750 vines in a site with some disturbance, or smaller occurrences (ca. 50 - 399 vines) in a pristine site or larger occurrences (ca. more than 750 vines) that are highly disturbed. Site may be restorable to A-rank conditions
Fair Viability: A C-ranked occurrence of Clematis morefieldii is an occurrence containing 50 - 399 vines in sites having minimal habitat disturbance, or larger sites (ca. 400 - 750 vines) that are highly disturbed. Restorations to B-rank conditions are unlikely.

Poor Viability: A D-ranked occurrence of Clematis morefieldii is an occurrence containing less than 50 vines in good quality sites, or larger occurrences (ca. 50 - 399 vines) in highly disturbed sites. Restoration of the disturbed sites would be unlikely.

Justification: The rank specifications for Clematis morefieldii are based on expert opinion and mapped occurrences in both Tennessee and Alabama. The two primary factors in determining the rank of the species is number of vines and the condition of their habitat.

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 02Mar2006
Author: D. Lincicome
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: 02Mar2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: D. Lincicome
Management Information Edition Date: 02Mar2006
Management Information Edition Author: D. Lincicome
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Mar2006
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): D. Lincicome

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
  • 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. 1987. A new "Viorna" CLEMATIS from northern Alabama. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 74:665-669.

  • Kral, R. 1987. A new "Viorna" Clematis from northern Alabama. Annals Missouri Botanical Gardens 74: 665-669.

  • Norquist, C. 1991a. Status review: Clematis morefieldii, Morefield's leather flower. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jackson, Mississippi. 5 pages.

  • Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). 2005. Survey for Morefield's leather flower (Clematis morefieldii) in southeastern Tennessee. Unpublished report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region. Atlanta, GA. 15 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1994. Recovery Plan for Morefield's leather flower (Clematis morefieldii). Atlanta, GA. 15 pp.

  • Weber, S. 1991. Status report on Clematis morefieldii. Unpublished report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Jackson, Mississippi. 15 pages.

  • Weber, S.F. 1991. Status report on Clematis morefieldii. Unpublished report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region. Jackson, MS. 10 pp.

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