Isotria medeoloides - (Pursh) Raf.
Small Whorled Pogonia
Other Common Names: small whorled pogonia
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Isotria medeoloides (Pursh) Raf. (TSN 43614)
French Common Names: Isotrie fausse-médéole
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.137976
Element Code: PMORC1F010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Orchid Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Orchidales Orchidaceae Isotria
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Concept Reference
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: Isotria medeoloides
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2?
Global Status Last Reviewed: 30Jan2014
Global Status Last Changed: 30Jan2014
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: A widely distributed species with approximately 201 element occurrences with better than poor viability known. The largest cluster of sites is centered around the Appalachian Mountains of New England and coastal Massachusetts, with two moderate-sized clusters centered around (1) the southern Appalachians and (2) the Coastal Plain and Piedmont of Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey. There are also a few widely scattered outlying sites. Populations are typically very small and the total number of individuals is estimated to be less than 3,000. Only historic sites are known in New York, Maryland, and Missouri, and the species is believed to have been extirpated in Vermont and the District of Columbia. Most extant sites considered viable are now protected, with site-specific protection and monitoring efforts well underway. However, without voluntary landowner protection, many I. medeoloides populations could be lost to housing development and non-selective logging.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2
Nation: Canada
National Status: N1 (21Sep2017)

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 Connecticut (S1), Delaware (S1), District of Columbia (SX), Georgia (S2), Illinois (S1), Maine (S2), Maryland (SH), Massachusetts (S1), Michigan (SX), Missouri (SH), New Hampshire (S2), New Jersey (S1), New York (S1), North Carolina (S1), Ohio (S1), Pennsylvania (S1), Rhode Island (S1), South Carolina (S2), Tennessee (S1), Vermont (SX), Virginia (S2), West Virginia (S1)
Canada Ontario (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (06Oct1994)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R5 - Northeast
Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: E (05Jun2003)
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Endangered (06May2011)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: This small orchid, previously known only from a single swamp in Ontario, requires mixed damp woods. It was assessed as Endangered in 2000. Its habitat continues to decline in quality due to trampling and exotic earthworms. It was last seen in 1998, though its potential for dormancy means it may still be extant.

Status history: Designated Endangered in April 1982. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1998, May 2000, and May 2011.

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Range extends from Maine south to Georgia with outlying occurrences in the Midwest U.S. and Ontario, Canada.

Area of Occupancy: 126-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 290 (201 extant) element occurrences (NatureServe Central Database 2014). Occurrences are found in Ontario, New Hampshire, Georgia, Virginia, Maine, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.

Population Size Comments: The number of stems varies from year to year as plants can remain dormant for several years. Assessing the true population size is also complicated because plants can send up multiple stem per rhizome.
Approximately 2,400 stems (total numbers stems emerged in a given year) [as of 1991]. The largest populations exist in New Hampshire, Virginia, Maine, and Georgia. Populations with more than 100 stems are known from at least New Hampshire, Maine, and Virginia; however, most populations are very small (less than 20 plants).

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

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Primary threat is habitat destruction for residential or commercial development or forestry. Aside from habitat conversion, the absence of low intensity disturbance allowing for forest succession including subsequent canopy closure and in the absence of low intensity disturbance.

Other threats such as herbivory, recreational use of habitat including trails (some have been rerouted)/trampling and off-road vehicles (although threat is controlled in Ontario), slug damage, and mammal herbivory (In Virginia, were caged to prevent herbivory (pers. comm. Chris Ulrey)), and inadvertent damage from researcher activities have also been identified. Illegal collection is still a threat but this practice is not widespread.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Dormancy patterns complicate assessment of short term trend.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Long-term Trend Comments: Historic in Maryland and Missouri. Extirpated in Vermont and the District of Colombia (NatureServe Central Database 2013).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Natural colonization in adjacent habitat has not been documented (USFWS 2008).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Range extends from Maine south to Georgia with outlying occurrences in the Midwest U.S. and Ontario, Canada.

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 CT, DCextirpated, DE, GA, IL, MA, MD, ME, MIextirpated, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VTextirpated, WV
Canada ON

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Litchfield (09005), New London (09011), Tolland (09013), Windham (09015)*
DE New Castle (10003)
GA Fannin (13111), Gilmer (13123), Habersham (13137)*, Lumpkin (13187), Pickens (13227), Rabun (13241), Towns (13281)*, Union (13291)
IL Randolph (17157)*
MA Essex (25009), Hampden (25013), Hampshire (25015)*, Middlesex (25017), Worcester (25027)
MD Montgomery (24031)*
ME Androscoggin (23001), Cumberland (23005), Kennebec (23011), Oxford (23017), York (23031)
MI Berrien (26021)*
MO Bollinger (29017)*
NC Burke (37023), Cherokee (37039), Guilford (37081), Haywood (37087), Henderson (37089), Jackson (37099), Macon (37113), McDowell (37111), Rutherford (37161), Surry (37171)*, Transylvania (37175)
NH Belknap (33001), Carroll (33003), Grafton (33009)*, Hillsborough (33011), Merrimack (33013), Rockingham (33015), Strafford (33017)
NJ Bergen (34003)*, Hunterdon (34019)*, Passaic (34031), Sussex (34037)
NY Nassau (36059)*, Onondaga (36067)*, Orange (36071), Rockland (36087)*, Saratoga (36091)*, Suffolk (36103)*, Ulster (36111)*, Washington (36115)*
OH Hocking (39073), Scioto (39145)
PA Berks (42011)*, Centre (42027), Chester (42029), Greene (42059)*, Monroe (42089)*, Montgomery (42091)*, Philadelphia (42101)*, Venango (42121)
RI Kent (44003)*, Providence (44007), Washington (44009)
SC Greenville (45045), Oconee (45073), Pickens (45077)
TN Carter (47019), Hamilton (47065), Marion (47115)
VA Appomattox (51011)*, Bedford (51019), Buckingham (51029)*, Caroline (51033), Craig (51045), Fairfax (51059), Floyd (51063), Gloucester (51073), Highland (51091), James City (51095), King William (51101), Lancaster (51103), Lee (51105), Madison (51113), Nelson (51125), New Kent (51127)*, Petersburg (City) (51730)*, Pittsylvania (51143), Prince William (51153), Spotsylvania (51177), Stafford (51179), Williamsburg (City) (51830), Wise (51195), York (51199)*
VT Chittenden (50007)*
WV Greenbrier (54025), Pocahontas (54075), Randolph (54083), Tucker (54093)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Androscoggin (01040002)+, Presumpscot (01060001)+, Saco (01060002)+, Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+, Pemigewasset (01070001)+*, Merrimack (01070002)+, Contoocook (01070003)+, Nashua (01070004)+, Merrimack (01070006)+, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+*, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Charles (01090001)+, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Quinebaug (01100001)+*, Thames (01100003)+, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+*, Middle Hudson (02020006)+*, Rondout (02020007)+*, Hudson-Wappinger (02020008)+, Lower Hudson (02030101)+*, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Raritan (02030105)+*, Southern Long Island (02030202)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Schuylkill (02040203)+, Bald Eagle (02050204)+, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+*, Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan (02070010)+, Lower Potomac (02070011)+, Great Wicomico-Piankatank (02080102)+, Rapidan-Upper Rappahannock (02080103)+, Lower Rappahannock (02080104)+, Mattaponi (02080105)+, Pamunkey (02080106)+, York (02080107)+, Upper James (02080201)+, Middle James-Buffalo (02080203)+, Lower James (02080206)+, Appomattox (02080207)+*
03 Upper Roanoke (03010101)+, Haw (03030002)+, Upper Yadkin (03040101)+*, Upper Catawba (03050101)+, South Fork Catawba (03050102)+, Upper Broad (03050105)+, Saluda (03050109)+, Seneca (03060101)+, Tugaloo (03060102)+, Upper Chattahoochee (03130001)+*, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Etowah (03150104)+
04 Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+*, Oneida (04140202)+*, Lake Champlain (04150408)+*
05 Middle Allegheny-Tionesta (05010003)+, Tygart Valley (05020001)+, Cheat (05020004)+, Lower Monongahela (05020005)+*, Upper New (05050001)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+, Powell (06010206)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+, Hiwassee (06020002)+, Ocoee (06020003)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+
07 Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+*, Whitewater (07140107)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A perennial herb that grows up to 3 dm in height. A whorl of 5 or 6 leaves near the top of the stem and beneath the flower(s) gives the plant its common name. The leaves are grayish-green and are usually 4-8 cm long. Solitary (or occasionally paired) greenish-yellow flowers arise from the center of the leaf whorl. Blooms in May in the south, and as late as mid-June in the northern part of its range. Capsules mature in the fall.
Technical Description: Plant terrestrial, stem pale green, glaucous, glabrous, hollow, up to 31 cm tall. Roots slender and hairy. Leaves 5 or 6 in a whorl at the summit of the stem, light green, rhombic elliptic, somewhat pointed, up to 8 cm long, 4 cm wide at maturity. Flowers 1 or 2, yellowish green, from the top of the stem. Ovary short pedicellate, 15 mm long. Sepals pale green, arching or spreading, linear oblong, 12-25 mm long and approximately 3 mm wide. Petals oblanceolate, pale yellowish-green, obovate, 3-lobed, up to 17 mm long and 4 mm wide; lip nerved, obovate to 15 mm long and 5 mm wide, lateral lobes narrowly triangular, middle lobe rounded, undulate; disc with a longitudinal yellow-green crest which breaks up into papillae on the middle lobe. Column terete, white, to 9 mm long; anther white, terminal, hinged; pollinia 2, mealy. Capsule erect, ellipsoid, to 2.5 cm long and 1 cm wide. (V. Crouch, pers. comm.; Luer, 1975; von Oettingen, 1992)
Diagnostic Characteristics: Isotria medeoloides may be distinguished from I. verticillata (Common Whorled Pogonia) by the greenish-white color of the hollow stem and yellow-green flower with a greenish-white tip. Sepal characteristics are also important- sepals linear-lanceolate, 1.2-2.5 cm long, not greatly exceeding the petals (1.3-1.7 cm); peduncles to 2.5 cm, shorter than the ovary. I. medeoloides also resembles young plants of Medeola virginiana (Indian Cucumber-root). I. medeoloides may be distinguished from Medeola by its hollow stout stem; Medeola has a solid more slender stem (USFWS 1996). For a technical description of I. medeoloides see Flora of North America (2002).
Duration: PERENNIAL, Long-lived, DECIDUOUS
Reproduction Comments: Mehrhoff (1989) determined that the leaf whorl diameter in a given year is a good predictor of the reproductive state for that plant for the following year. Plants that are large one year are likely to bloom the next year, while plants that are small are more likely to be vegetative, go dormant, or die (Mehrhoff, 1989; Vitt, 1991)... The small whorled pogonia only occasionally reproduces vegetatively, as indicated by rare occurrences of two or more stems originating from a single root stock (Ames, 1922; Brumback and Flyer, 1983; D. Ware pers. comm., 1992).
Ecology Comments: Researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have identified the mycorrhizal fungi associate but their research is not yet published (SERC 2014).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: Acidic soils of dry to mesic second-growth, deciduous or deciduous-coniferous forests with an open herb layer, although occasionally dense ferns, moderate to light shrub layer, and a relatively open canopy. Soils typically covered with light to moderate leaf litter. Frequently occurs on flats or slope bases near canopy breaks (Flora of North America 2002).

A typical forest community supporting I. medeoloides on fragipan soils in northern New England is dominated by Acer rubrum, Tsuga canadensis, Betula papyrifera, Quercus rubra, Pinus strobus and Fagus grandifolia. Younger stands frequently support Populus grandidentata. A conspicuous indicator of I. medeoloides in this region is abundant Betula papyrifera on slopes with a dense fern understory. Hamamelis virginiana is virtually a constant associate of I. medeoloides here and is usually the dominant shrub species. In southern New England Clethra alnifolia is usually an additional associated shrub.

Herbaceous vegetation at northern I. medeoloides sites varies from virtually none beneath dense Tsuga or Fagus groves to unbroken stands of woodland ferns (mostly Dennstaedtia punctilobula, Athyrium noveboracensis and Osmunda spp.). Medeola virginiana, like Hamamelis, is virtually a constant associate. Woodland sedges and grasses tend to be conspicuously absent, only Brachyeletrum erectum occurring with some regularity. Botrychium matricariaefolium and B. simplex var. tenebrosum are two diminutive ferns which inhabit slightly wetter areas near some I. medeoloides populations - these ferns might, in the preparer's opinion, have some limited value as indicator species. Clubmosses (mostly Lycopodium obscurum and L. complanatum) and evergreen forbs such as Gaultheria procumbens, Epigaea repens, Chimaphila maculata, Mitchella repens, and Pyrola spp. tend to be abundant. Other orchids such as Cypripedium acaule, Goodyera tesselata, G. pubescens, Corallorhiza maculata, C. odontorhiza and Triphora trianthophora frequently occur with I. medeoloides in this region. Brownell (1981) lists an impressive total of eight other orchid species occurring in the vicinity of the Ontario population. In VA, Grimes (1921) listed Malaxis unifolia and Liparis lilifolia as associated orchids, while Ware and Saunders (unpublished report 1983) listed Tipularia discolor and Goodyera sp. as associates.

Although most of the above-mentioned herbaceous species are quite common in a variety of habitats, they can serve as indicators of I. medeoloides when then occur together in abundance. These ferns, clubmosses, evergreen forbs and orchids characterize the plant community found on acidic, sloping, fragipan soils.

Mehrhoff (1980) suggested that declines in I. medeoloides population sizes "are probably related to an increase of vegetative cover at the sites". Recent findings, however, suggest that the amount of vegetative cover I. medeoloides populations has at most minimal influence on the long-term viability of the population. To elaborate, the preparer of this abstract has personally observed hundreds of quite thrifty I. medeoloides plants growing in very dense fern cover. In fact, at some NH populations, one finds the majority of individuals growing in this dense cover. Furthermore, Brumback and Fyler (1983) state, "There seems to no correlation in our study between herbaceous cover and reproductive class.... While it may be true that dense herbaceous cover could certainly limit the size of I. medeoloides, in our study several blooming plants appeared in over 60% herbaceous cover." In cases where smaller less vigorous plants are correlated with dense cover, one cannot assume that competition is the cause. The correlation may simply reflect edaphic conditions which are suboptimal for I. medeoloides but optimal for dense shrub or herb cover.

Nearly all I. medeoloides populations are described as occurring in "second growth" or successional forest communities. This fact alone should not elicit the notion that I. medeoloides therefore requires such relatively young-aged forests. Rather, I. medeoloides is a forest plant and virtually all forests in the region reflect past logging or clearing. Forest maturation does not appear to be a threat to the majority of I. medeoloides population because so many populations already inhabit relatively mature forests.

Nevertheless, the possibility that some I. medeoloides populations are transitory must not be dismissed. The declining MI population inhabiting an abandoned apple orchard (Mehrhoff 1980) may or may not be such a population. In the course of forest community succession and forest soil development, conditions favorable to I. medeoloides may be only temporarily available. Through time, as conditions change, I. medeoloides may decline. At this point in our knowledge, we can only speculate that I. medeoloides is capable of such dynamics.

Because I. medeoloides grows in deciduous as well as evergreen forests, population size is unlikely to be greatly influenced by overstory tree density, basal area, or specific light conditions. Rather, population size, as a variable, seems to depend mostly on the extent and quality of soil habitats.

When openings in the tree canopy allow more light to reach the forest floor and I. medeoloides plants, there is reason to believe that the plant responds favorably, at least in the short term. Brumback (pers. comm. 1985) observed exceptionally vigorous plants adjacent to a recent clear-cut, and smaller, less vigorous plants away from clear-cut. In South Carolina, woods-road edges support I. medeoloides, and extra light might be an important factor (Raynor 1985, pers. comm.). Canopy reduction experiments should be conducted in the future to determine the precise response of I. medeoloides to dramatic increases of light. These findings should have population management implications.

Although soil moisture varies seasonally and can be difficult to measure, I. medeoloides populations tend to occur on soils ranging from dry-mesic to wet-mesic. Drought stress, as reported by Homoya (1977), may periodically occur and cause premature initiation of dormancy. At a NH population, the preparer of this abstract observed extreme stress in an I. medeoloides plant that had its corm nearly totally exposed as result of the erosional effects of water flowing in a migrating intermittent stream channel. Although such damage is probably rare, certain especially heavy rains may take their toll. In the long term, however, the damage done to mature I. medeoloides plants by migrating "braided intermittent streams is probably compensated by the simultaneous creation of new habitats - stream deposited leaf debris - for new I. medeoloides plants.

Economic Attributes
Economic Uses: ESTHETIC, Showy wildflower
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: Conservation actions currently in place across the species range include surveying potential habitat for new populations and monitoring known populations for status of threats, site condition, and abundance of plants. Specific management strategies and plans work towards the goal of satisfying the criteria designated in the recovery plan to delist this species by ensuring its long-term viability of the species (USFWS 2008, von Oettingen 1992).

Overall, it is recommended that preserve designs encompass all outlying subpopulations and critical upslope lands. Some specific recommendations are based on actions already taken, like rerouting trails around the species habitat and the construction of exclosures around plants to minimize herbivore (rabbit) damage (NatureServe 2014).

Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Most Isotria medeoloides populations occur on slopes where soils are influenced by water draining from upslope areas. Therefore, in addition to the actual acreage supporting the plant, all upslope lands need to be protected to ensure that crucial water drainage processes are maintained. Surrounding buffer lands need protection to ensure that the microclimate within the forest is maintained. Before preserves are designed, intensive field survey of all adjacent lands should be conducted. Frequently, small, outlying "subpopulations" occur in the vicinity of major populations. Preserves should be designed to encompass these outlying subpopulations where feasible.
Management Requirements: In general, management of this species is very easy. Large population should remain extant for a very long period of time without any form of external human interference (e.g. habitat manipulation, artificial seedling establishment, etc.). All that is needed is to maintain the surrounding forest community in a natural condition. Removing or reducing associated herbaceous vegetation is not recommended because such manipulations are not likely to enhance populations and may in fact have detrimental consequences.

Certain smaller populations may not, for whatever reasons, have long-term viability and therefore management practices which enhance population size and vigor are being sought. However, before any active management takes place at these small populations, the successful management techniques should be developed at larger populations where such manipulative experiments can be conducted without jeopardizing the population.

A word of caution - ISOTRIA plants salvaged from indefensible sites should not be transplanted into existing populations. Such mixing of genotypes could be detrimental to the long-term survival of the population.

Monitoring Requirements: Intensive studies such as that being conducted by Brumback and Fyler should be continued. The amount of new information being generated through this particular study is very impressive and will prove useful to management.

Another need is for less-intensive monitoring of all other known populations to document trends in population size and reproductive output. At present, throughout the species range, over 2000 individual have been staked and are being followed from year to year. However, the task of visiting and relocating those staked plants in NH and ME now demands so much time that some staked populations were not visited in 1985. Because of this large time commitment, some researchers are planning to monitor subsets of the large populations. A word of caution is that populations on private or public lands should only be monitored if the land owner or land manager has given approval to the project.

Monitoring is presently accomplished by staking Isotria medeoloides plants. Stakes should be plastic because they are quite permanent and chemically rather inert, i.e. wooden stakes rot at the base and are lost, metal stakes corrode and possibly add foreign chemical elements to the soil environment. To minimize root damage, stakes should be placed at least six inches from the plant, preferably at a standard predetermined compass bearing from each stem. On each stake an identifying number can be written using indelible ink. An effective numbering system, used in NH, consists of a two-part number - the occurrence number followed by sequential numbers 1 through n, e.g. 22-114. For each monitored population a notebook should be created, within which one page is devoted to each plant. All observations of an individual plant through time thereby get recorded on a single sheet of paper.

To accurately determine reproductive status and population size, populations must be visited at least twice during the growing season. The first visit, during the period of bloom, documents all flowering plants. The second visit, sometime in mid-summer, documents all fruiting plants as well as late-emerging sterile vegetative plants not in evidence during the period of bloom.

Monitoring Programs:

William Brumback and Carol Fyler (New England Wildflower Society, Hemenway Rd., Framingham, MA) have been conducting an intensive study a large NH population since 1982.

Richard Dyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Suite 700, One Gateway Center, Newton Corner, MA 02158), is involved in implementing the recovery plan for the species.

Tom Rawinski, ecologist for the Eastern Heritage Task Force (The Nature Conservancy, 294 Washington St., Boston, MA 02108) is the contact for an ad hoc organization called, "The ISOTRIA MEDEOLOIDES Preservation Committee". Through this organization, data on ISOTRIA population size and reproductive output has been pooled and disseminated. A status summary of all known populations is maintained.

A partial list of other individuals involved in ISOTRIA research and monitoring follows.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Sara Cairns, NH Natural Heritage Bureau, PO Box 1856, Concord, NH 03302

MAINE Errol C. Briggs, P.O. Box 662, Burlington, VT 05401 : Barbara Vickery, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Chapter, 122 Main St., Topsham, ME 04086 : Amy Osterbrock (same as previous address) : Hank Tyler, Critical Areas Program, State Planning Office, 184 State Planning Office, 184 State St., Augusta, ME 04333

CONNECTICUT Les Mehrhoff, CT Geological and Natural History Survey, Dept. of Environmental Protection, c/o Biol. Sci. Group, U42, University of CT, Storrs, CT 06268

MASSACHUSETTS Bruce Sorrie, MA Natural Heritage Program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 100 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02202 : Caren Caljouw, Massachusetts-Rhode Island Field Office, The Nature Conservancy, 294 Washington St., Boston, MA 02108

RHODE ISLAND Rick Enser, RI Heritage Program, Dept. of Environmental Mgmt., Division of Planning and Development, 22 Hayes St., Providence, RI 02903 : Irene Stuckey, 28 Cherry Rd., Kingston, RI 02881

PENNSYLVANIA Paul Wiegman, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 316 Fourth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222

NEW JERSEY Sara Davison, The Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania/New Jersey Office 1218 Chestnut St., Suite 807, Philadelphia, PA 19107 : David Snyder, NJ Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, 109 W. State St., Trenton, NJ 08625

VIRGINIA Dr. Donna Ware, Herbarium - Dept. of Biology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23185 : Steve Croy, The Nature Conservancy, The Virginia Chapter, 619-B East High St., Charlottesville, VA 22901

ILLINOIS Dr. Julius R. Swayne, 713 N. 14th St., Herrin, IL 62948 : Mike Homoya, Indiana Heritage Program, Div. of Nature Preserves, IN DNR, 612 State Office Bldg., Indianapolis, IN 46204 : Paul Dye, Illinois Field Office, The Nature Conservancy, 79 West Monroe St., Suite 708, Chicago, IL 60603

MICHIGAN Sue Crispin, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Mason Bldg, 5th floor Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909 : Bill Schwab, Rte 1, Box 794, Buchanan, MI 49107

NORTH CAROLINA Nora Murdock, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Room 279, Federal Building, Ashville, NC 28802 : Laura Mansberg, NC Natural Heritage Program, Division of State Parks, Box 27687, Raleigh, NC 27611

SOUTH CAROLINA L.L. Gaddy, Rte 1, Box 223, Walhalla, SC 29691 : Doug Raynor, SC Heritage Trust, SC Wildl. and Marine Resources Dept., P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202

GEORGIA Ben A. Sanders, Chattahoochee, Oconee National Forest, 508 Oak St. N.W Gainesville, GA 30501 : Rex Boner, 3179 Maple Drive N.E., Suite 8, Atlanta, GA 30305

ONTARIO Irene Bowman, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Whitney Block - Queens Park, 99 Wellesley St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 1W3

Management Research Needs: Canopy reduction experiments should be conducted at a number of different populations. The plant's response to significant increases of light needs to be determined because findings may have implications to population management. Careful experimental design is needed to ensure statistically sound results.

Related to the above experiment, the possible correlation of Isotria medeoloides plants with tree stumps or snags needs to be investigated. If such a correlation is found, one should not necessarily assume that extra light is the causal agent. A different hypothesis explaining the correlation could be the extra dead tree root material that might nurture a thriving soil fungus flora and the orchid. Elaborate follow-up experiments would be necessary.

To study this orchid's seedling establishment and growth, the following experiment needs to be carried out. Within large I. medeoloides populations, many small permanently marked circular plots of soil must be excavated down to C-horizon to remove any underground I. medeoloides plants. These excavated areas can then be packed with different kinds of organic matter (e.g. local leaves, wood-chip/leaf mixtures, etc.) and the plot monitored from year to year for seedling appearance. There is reason suspect that some of the plots might eventually support this orchid, provided the plots experience lateral water drainage. Discovering even a single plant on such a plot would be an extraordinary breakthrough in terms of our understanding I. medeoloides life history. For the first time, individuals with ages roughly known could be monitored.

Another immediate research need is to investigate self-pollination vs. possible insect-aided cross-pollination. Statistically sound results could be obtained by comparing a large number of enclosed flowering plants with an equally large number of unenclosed flowering plants at one of the large ISOTRIA populations.

Soil types at all I. medeoloides populations need to be determined, and water drainage processes described. There is a need to know how many I. medeoloides populations outside of New England occur on fragipan soils, or on shallow-to-bedrock sites.

Lastly, field survey efforts should continue, especially in New Hampshire and Maine where many new populations are likely to be discovered.

As mentioned earlier, Brumback and Fyler's study exists, as do monitoring studies within every state in which the orchid is found. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should continue to play a strong role in funding important research projects related to this plant until the species is able to be removed from the Federal endangered species list

To minimize human interference, trespass, or collection, managers should keep I. medeoloides locations as confidential as possible.

Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
Excellent Viability: An A-ranked occurrence of Isotria medeoloides contains more than 100 emergent stems (annual average, greater than 5 yrs data), with at least 25% of the plants flowering and with habitat and upslope hydrologic integrity protectable.
Good Viability: A B-ranked occurrence of Isotria medeoloides should have between 50 and 99 emergent stems (annual average, over 5 years worth of data), with at least 25% of the plants flowering, and with habitat and upslope hydrologic integrity protectable.
Fair Viability: A C-ranked occurrence of Isotria medeoloides should have between 20 and 49 stems in protectable habitat (annual average, over 5 years worth of data); or larger population with less than 25% reproduction in protectable habitat.
Poor Viability: A D-ranked occurrence of Isotria medeoloides should have fewer than 20 stems (annual average, over 5 years worth of data); or habitat seriously degraded or unprotectable.
Justification: Individuals of Isotria medeoloides within an occurrence may not appear above ground each year, thus a 5 year average is needed to asses the size of a population (Amoroso 2005).
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 13Jan2005
Author: Amoroso
Notes: BCD rank specifications written by T.J. Rawinski
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Nov1992
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: RAWINSKI, T.J., rev. C. Russell; rev. S. Gawler, rev Maybury (1996), rev. L. Morse (2000), rev. A. Tomaino (2004), minor rev. K. Gravuer (2008)
Management Information Edition Date: 21Feb2014
Management Information Edition Author: RAWINSKI, TOM, (1986) rev. A. Treher (2014)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Jun1992
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): RAWINSKI, TOM (1986)

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