Heuchera alba - Rydb.
White Alumroot
Other Common Names: white alumroot
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Heuchera alba Rydb. (TSN 507258)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.130832
Element Code: PDSAX0E190
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Saxifrage Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Rosales Saxifragaceae Heuchera
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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: Heuchera alba
Taxonomic Comments: Kartesz (1994 and 1999) recognizes Heuchera alba as a distinct species, as does Strausbaugh (Flora of West Virginia). Debate exists over whether this element is the same as H. pubescens var. brachyandra Rosendahl, Butters, & Lakela, or a separate species. Further studies in progress by E.F. Wells, George Washington Univ., Washington, D.C.; she had not recognized this as a species in her thesis, but did not know the plants in the field then. Wells did include H. alba in her treatment for FNA (vol. 8 2009). Kartesz (letter to Larry Morse, 25Nov99) notes that he prefers to maintain it as distinct, as done by Core (who was familiar with the plants), pending outcome of further studies.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2Q
Global Status Last Reviewed: 15Oct2012
Global Status Last Changed: 01May1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: A narrow endemic of high elevations on the mountains in Virginia and West Virginia. Low abundance.
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 Pennsylvania (S1S2), Virginia (S1), West Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to Virginia and West Virginia. It occurs in 5 West Virginia counties (Grant, Marion (questionable), Pendleton, Pocahontas, & Wetzel (questionable) and 3 Virginia counties (Augusta, Highland, & Rockingham).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are twenty-three+ extant sites in WV and VA. In West Virginia, sixteen sites are recent (seen since 1990) out of a total of nineteen. In Virginia, seven out of nine sites are recent.

Population Size Comments: The estimated known population is between 1000 and 1500 plants.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)

Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species occurs along ridgetops at high elevations. The greatest threats are from trampling and from development for houses. One site has become a site for a proposed mountain bike competition.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: This species is stable with a majority of occurrences extant.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Occurrences are in areas exposed to harsh weather.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to Virginia and West Virginia. It occurs in 5 West Virginia counties (Grant, Marion (questionable), Pendleton, Pocahontas, & Wetzel (questionable) and 3 Virginia counties (Augusta, Highland, & Rockingham).

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 PA, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
VA Augusta (51015), Highland (51091), Rockingham (51165)*
WV Grant (54023), Hardy (54031), Pendleton (54071), Pocahontas (54075), Preston (54077), Tucker (54093)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+, Upper James (02080201)+*, Maury (02080202)+*
05 Cheat (05020004)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Gauley (05050005)+*, Elk (05050007)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb with small yellowish-white or cream-colored flowers on 3-4 dm tall stems. Flowers July to September.
General Description: Erect perennial herb with chiefly rounded-reniform and broadly toothed basal leaves and a spike or panicle up to 40 cm high with approximately 20 yellow-white flowers.
Technical Description: Erect perennial herb with basal reniform leaves, 4-6 cm in diameter, glandular- granuliferous below. Small raceme or panicle of white flowers on a scape-like stalk (2-3 small leaves) 3-4 dm high. The calyx is oblique or irregular. Corolla five parted, 5-9 mm long, yellow, white or cream colored, inserted in the throat of the calyx; stamens (5) equal to the length of the sepals but not exceeding the petals; two styles, one-celled ovary with many ovules (Strausbaugh and Core, 1977).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Yellowish-white flowers 5-9 mm long with an oblique or irregular calyx (Strausbaugh and Core, 1977). Flowers lack red dots (KY Heritage files, 1996).
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: This species produces flowers and is likely to reproduce sexually.
Ecology Comments: Virginia -- Heuchera alba has been observed on moist shale roadside banks, acid rock and calcareous outcrops, mossy talus slopes, and on high summits; aspects were N and SW. The elevation range varied from 3250-3920 ft. Soils were described as thin. Forested areas included Acer pensylvanicum, Betula alleghaniensis, Quercus rubra, and dwarf pines. Associated plants included Arenaria stricta, Campanula rotundifolia, Draba ramosissima, Trifolium virginicum, and Woodsia obtusa (VA Heritage Files, 1995).

West Virginia -- Occurrences of this species are on cateache soils, acid rock outcrops, Tuscarora sandstone, road sides, high summits, grass balds, rim of a sinkhole, hardwood forest, and dwarf pine forest. Aspects are east and northeast, and elevations ranged from 2205-4200 ft. Associated plant species included Aquilegia, Asplenium ruta-muraria, A. trichomanes, and Pellaea atropurpurea (WV Heritage Files, 1995).

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Conifer, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: This plant occurs on rocky (Tuscarora sandstone) or shaley wooded ridgetops elevation 850-1130 m; 2205-4260 ft.)(VA & WV State Heritage Files, 1995). Usually in shaded areas and/or north-facing slopes.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Remove invasive and exotic plant species from habitat. Divert trails from site occurrences. Work with developers to protect occurrences.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Preserve design should include adequate buffer area surrounding occurrences to allow for management activities. Re-route trails that pass through or near populations to prevent trampling, erosion, and entry of exotic species. This element is localized in areas that provide scenic vistas and frequented by recreational hikers.
Management Requirements: No management requirements were identified.
Monitoring Requirements: Sites that have not been revisited in the last five years should be revisited.
Monitoring Programs: The USFS, since 1994, has been monitoring individual plants on North Fork Mountain, Pendleton County, West Virginia.
Management Research Programs: No known research programs.
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: 18Oct2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Walton, D. (1996), rev. L. Morse (2000), rev. A. Treher (2012)
Management Information Edition Date: 19Oct2012
Management Information Edition Author: Walton, D. (West Virginia Heritage Program, Elkins, WV 26241-0067; Phone:(304) 637-0245), rev. A. Treher (2012)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23Jul1998
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): D. WALTON (WVHP)

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. 2009. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 8. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1999. Comments regarding taxa 1-187 [of list supplied by TNC]. Unpublished, Biota of North America Program, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C., Nov. 25, 1999.

  • 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.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Strausbaugh, P.D., and E.L. Core. 1978. Flora of West Virginia. Seneca Books, Inc., Grantsville, WV. 1079 pp.

  • Wells, E.F. 1984. A revision of the genus Heuchera (Saxifragaceae) in eastern North America. Systematic Botany Monographs 3: 45-121.

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