Leavenworthia crassa - Rollins
Fleshy-fruit Gladecress
Other Common Names: fleshyfruit gladecress
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Leavenworthia crassa Rollins (TSN 503348)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.135267
Element Code: PDBRA1L030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
Image 10387

© Alabama Natural Heritage Program

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Leavenworthia
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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: Leavenworthia crassa
Taxonomic Comments: Two questionably distinct varieties (crassa and elongata) are often recognized (e.g., Rollins, 1993; Kartesz 1994 and 1999). The USFWS (2004) does not maintain the varieties, citing evidence that the ranges of variation in fruit lengths overlap (McDaniel and Lyons, unpublished status report, 1987).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 19Feb2010
Global Status Last Changed: 19Feb2010
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to Lawrence and Morgan counties in Alabama and verified from only six sites during a 2009 survey; one site was destroyed by highway construction in 2004. Locally abundant, but only these few localities are known. Likely one of the most imperiled plant species in the Southeast; urgent protection is needed.
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)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (01Aug2014)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to a 13-mile radius area in Lawrence and Morgan counties in northwest Alabama.

Area of Occupancy: 3-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: All sites very small.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Endemic to northwest Alabama, where six occurrences were verified extant in 2009 (Schotz 2009).

Population Size Comments: Population size value left blank for this seed-banking annual because the large number of individuals suggests a sense of security that is not warranted. Abundant locally, with some sites containing thousands of individuals. Individual populations range from <50 individuals to up to 10,000. In March 2009, a total of approximately 12,000 individuals were counted in the six occurrences (Schotz 2009).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Two occurrences have good viability, one A-ranked and one B-ranked (Schotz 2009).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Residential development appears to be rapidly expanding into the rural areas where this taxon is known to occur, and will soon likely serve as the foremost threat facing this species. Occurrences are also highly threatened by ATV use, heavy grazing, roadside maintenance, invasive plants, and trash disposal (Everson 2009).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Short-term Trend Comments: Residential development appears to be rapidly expanding into the rural areas where this taxon is known to occur. Habitat has been degraded by grazing, road construction, and plowing or cultivation, with one population extirpated by road widening, and another by a mustard rust; however, plants in a few places have spread to such semi-natural habitat as roadsides, and persist in reduced numbers in a few pastures (Everson 2009). One site was destroyed by highway construction in 2004.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 70-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: More than 50% of the appropriate glade habitat has been lost in north-central Alabama, with only five glades remaining in good condition (Hilton 1997 cited by Everson 2009). Fifteen historical occurrences have been lost. Also, the range may have contracted significantly, if an unconfirmed historical record from Lauderdale County is accepted. Some of the extant occurrences have been degraded by grazing, road construction, and plowing or cultivation (Everson 2009).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Being a seed-banking winter annual, this species has good survival but poor competitive abilities (USFWS 2004). The very low numbers of fruiting individuals seen most years suggest that the populations may be highly vulnerable to stochastic factors as well. The plants are usually self-incompatible (Rollins 1993), thus requiring cross-pollination for seed production. However, given proper habitat conditions, this species is able to grow and reproduce quickly.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Although historically confined to limestone glades, this species is able to, if only temporarily, colonize disturbed sites.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to a 13-mile radius area in Lawrence and Morgan counties in northwest Alabama.

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

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Lawrence (01079), Morgan (01103)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
06 Wheeler Lake (06030002)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A winter annual from a basal rosette of leaves. Flowers (March-May) are whitish-yellow with yellow to orange claws. the first flowers are borne on erect stalks; those forming later usually are borne in loose clusters on true stems arising from the axils of the rosette leaves. Fruits are fleshy, 6-12 mm long.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Barrens, Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field
Habitat Comments: Limestone (cedar) glades. Also disturbed roadsides, pastures, cultivated fields, and old fields.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Prevent grazing when Leavenworthia crassa is actively growing, flowering and fruiting but allow grazing at other times (Schotz 2009). In habitat that is subject to row crop farming, plowing must not precede seed set (Schotz 2009). Consider erecting barriers to prevent ATV use and dumping. Monitor known populations and assess whether they would benefit from control of invasive plants. Work with public owners to minimize impacts to plants during right-of-way maintenance.
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: 31Dec2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: L. Morse (2005), substantial additions by A. Schotz (2006), rev. A. Tomaino (2010)
Management Information Edition Date: 08Mar2010
Management Information Edition Author: Tomaino, A.

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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  • Everson, D. 2009. March last update. Species Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Form: Leavenworthia crassa. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program. Online. Available: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/candforms_pdf/r4/Q12K_P01.pdf (accessed 8 March 2010).

  • 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.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1963. The evolution and systematics of Leavenworthia (Cruciferae). Contributions Gray Herbarium, Harvard Univ. 192(CXCII): 3-98.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1993a. The Cruciferae of continental North America: Systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, California. 976 pp.

  • Schotz, A. 2009. Rangewide assessment of Leavenworthia crassa (Fleshy-fruit Glade Cress) and Lesquerella lyrata (Lyrate Bladderpod). Report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Office, Jackson, MS.

  • 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.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2004. Species assessment and listing priority assignment form. Leavenworthia crassa. 9 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2014. Endangered Status for Physaria globosa (Short?s Bladderpod), Helianthus verticillatus (Whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (Fleshy-Fruit Gladecress). Federal Register 79(148): 44712-44718.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013c. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; endangered status for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress); Proposed rule. Federal Register 78(149):47109-47134.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013d. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; designation of critical habitat for Physaria globosa (Shorts bladderpod), Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress); Proposed rule. Federal Register 78(149):47060-47108.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2014d. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plant; endangered status for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress). Federal Register 79(148):44712-44718)

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2014e. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; designation of critical habitat for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower) and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress); final rule. Federal Register 79(165):50990-51039.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013. Endangered Status for Physaria globosa (Short's bladderpod), Helianthus verticillatus (whorled sunflower), and Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit gladecress). Federal Register 78(149): 47109-47134.

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