Paxistima canbyi - Gray
Canby's Mountain-lover
Other Common Names: Canby's mountain-lover
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Paxistima canbyi Gray (TSN 504148)
French Common Names: pachistima de Canby
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.140694
Element Code: PDCEL0A010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Bittersweet Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Celastrales Celastraceae Paxistima
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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: Paxistima canbyi
Taxonomic Comments: Name of genus spelled 'Pachistima' in most older works. However, actual spelling by Rafinesque in original publication was 'Paxistima', which current code of nomenclature is widely interpreted as requiring acceptance, despite Rafinesque's frequent typographical substitution of 'x' for "ch" in many of his works (e.g., Xamaesyce for Chamaesyce) and his prior and subsequent spellings of this name as 'Pachistima'. For discussion see Navaro & Blackwell (1990) in Sida 14(2): 231. Larry Morse 8Feb98.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2?
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Jun2017
Global Status Last Changed: 07Jun2017
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: A regional endemic known from the central Appalachians of western Virginia, eastern West Virginia, western Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania, as well as from the Interior Low Plateau of central Kentucky, southern Ohio, and central Tennessee; a few occurrences are also known from the intervening Cumberlands/Southern Ridge and Valley region. Approximately 67 occurrences are believed extant, mostly in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. The number of genetic individuals may be very low, as a single genotype can comprise much or all of the occupied area at some sites. Euonymus scale (Unaspis euonymi) is a major threat in Kentucky, with more than 80% of occurrences found to be drastically declining in a recent statewide survey. The magnitude of this threat elsewhere in the range is as-yet undetermined; the scale is also known to occur in at least Virginia as well, although it has not yet been observed in other parts of the range such as Ohio. P. canbyi may also be declining (possibly severely) in West Virginia, presumably due to deer browsing. The species is protected from many other threats by the nature of its habitat; other minor impacts include quarrying, fires, indirect erosional impacts from nearby clearcutting, trampling, collecting, and grazing.
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 Kentucky (S2), Maryland (S1), North Carolina (SNA), Ohio (S1), Pennsylvania (S1), Tennessee (S1), Virginia (S2), West Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Occurrences appear to be in two major groups, one in the central Appalachians of southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, western Virginia, and eastern West Virginia, and the other in the Interior Low Plateau of central Kentucky, southern Ohio, and central Tennessee; a few occurrences from each group spill into the intervening Cumberlands/Southern Ridge and Valley region. Most occurrences are in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky, with only a few in the other states. Reported from North Carolina, but the report was determined to have been based on introduced plants.

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 64 occurrences are believed extant, although 31 of these are estimated to have poor viability. An additional 28 occurrences are considered historical and 3 are extirpated. It seems unlikely that a large number of additional occurrences remain undiscovered, as this is a very conspicuous and well-known plant.

Population Size Comments: Number of genetic individuals at a site is very difficult to determine in the field, as this species tends to form mats. Many of the sites may contain just one or a few genets even though a relatively large area is occupied. Fruit development and seed production are reportedly quite rare in the wild.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Approximately 5 occurrences are believed to have excellent viability and 14 as of 2017 (compared to 21-26 in 2009) have good viability. Nine of these excellent or good viability occurrences were in Kentucky as of 2009, however, only 3 of these occurrences were still considered 'good viability' as of 2017. It is believed that these occurrences have declined due to Euonymus scale. Between 2009 and 2017, the percent of low viability occurrences went from (11) 16% to (31) 48%.

Overall Threat Impact: High - low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Euonymus scale (Unaspis euonymi) is a major threat in Kentucky and a threat of as-yet undetermined magnitude elsewhere in the range. The scale has been observed on P. canbyi in Virginia (T. F. Wieboldt pers. comm. to T. Littlefield 2009), may occur on P. canbyi in West Virginia (no confirmed observations) (E. Byers pers. comm. 2009), and has not yet been observed on P. canbyi in Ohio (R. Gardner pers. comm. to T. Littlefield 2009). Deer browsing is believed to be a significant threat in at least West Virginia (E. Byers pers. comm. 2009). The species is protected from many other threats by the nature of its habitat, although quarrying, fires, trampling, and collecting have been cited as threats. In addition, nearby clearcutting may cause erosion of the thin soils and may allow invasive weeds to become established. Grazing has also been noted as a threat at some sites.

Short-term Trend: Decline of >30%
Short-term Trend Comments: In Kentucky, all populations were recently surveyed and more than 80% were found to be drastically declining because of Euonymus scale (Unaspis euonymi) (T. Littlefield pers. comm. 2008). It does not appear that other states have comprehensively surveyed their occurrences within the past few years to assess this threat, although several may do so in the near future. May also be declining (possibly severely) in West Virginia, presumably due to browsing by the burgeoning deer population (E. Byers pers. comm. 2009). Significant impacts from Euonymus scale have not yet been documented in West Virginia, although the scale may be there; one of the more recent records noted some yellowed plants (E. Byers pers. comm. 2009). In Pennsylvania, two of the three occurrences have scale, and while both are being treated one of the populations has significantly declined (pers. comm. S. Grund 2017). In Virginia, in the absence of significant impacts from Euonymus scale, remaining populations are thought to be mostly stable, as they are protected from many threats by the nature of their habitat and their protection within conservation areas (C. Ludwig, J. Townsend 2017). Euonymus scale was first noticed on Virginia P. canbyi at least 15 years ago, but the current prevalence and impact of the scale (if any) on Virginia (and Pennsylvania) populations is unknown (T. F. Wieboldt pers. comm. to T. Littlefield 2009).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Approximately 25% of known sites are considered historical or extirpated; many of the historical occurrences are in Virginia.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Readily recovers by clonal growth, yet unable to recolonize if destroyed since no viable seed is produced.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Occurrences appear to be in two major groups, one in the central Appalachians of southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, western Virginia, and eastern West Virginia, and the other in the Interior Low Plateau of central Kentucky, southern Ohio, and central Tennessee; a few occurrences from each group spill into the intervening Cumberlands/Southern Ridge and Valley region. Most occurrences are in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky, with only a few in the other states. Reported from North Carolina, but the report was determined to have been based on introduced plants.

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 KY, MD, NCexotic, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Carter (21043), Estill (21065), Jackson (21109), Jessamine (21113), Madison (21151), McCreary (21147), Powell (21197), Pulaski (21199), Rockcastle (21203), Russell (21207), Wayne (21231)
MD Allegany (24001)
OH Adams (39001), Highland (39071)
PA Bedford (42009)
TN Hawkins (47073)
VA Craig (51045), Frederick (51069), Giles (51071), Lexington (City) (51678), Montgomery (51121), Page (51139), Pulaski (51155), Radford (City) (51750), Russell (51167), Scott (51169), Shenandoah (51171)*, Tazewell (51185)*, Wythe (51197)
WV Grant (54023), Greenbrier (54025), Hampshire (54027), Mercer (54055), Mineral (54057), Monroe (54063)*, Pendleton (54071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Raystown (02050303)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+, North Fork Shenandoah (02070006)+, Upper James (02080201)+, Maury (02080202)+
03 Upper Roanoke (03010101)+
05 Upper New (05050001)+, Middle New (05050002)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+, Upper Kentucky (05100204)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Rockcastle (05130102)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+
06 Holston (06010104)+, Upper Clinch (06010205)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A low (1-4 dm high) evergreen shrub, usually lax and somewhat sprawling. Leaves are opposite and closely spaced. Flowers are small and reddish (sometimes described as green or green tinged with maroon). Blooms mostly April-May. Fruit development and seed production are rare in the wild; the species mostly reproduces vegetatively via rooting branches. Many of these slowly-expanding plants may be quite ancient.
General Description: Low evergreen shrub up to 30 cm tall often occurring in patches with smooth serrulate opposite leaves and very small green flowers.
Technical Description: Shrub with decumbent rooting branches 1-3 dm high, leaves linear-oblong, 6- 24 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, coriaceous, shiny, serrate to entire, revolute, subsessile, very short petioled; peduncles 1-3 flowered; pedicels slender shorter than leaves; flowers 4-parted, perfect, greenish to reddish-yellow; calyx lobes equaling the petals; ovary and capsule 2- locular, capsule oblong, about 4 mm; aril white (Strausbaugh and Core, 1978; Navaro & Blackwell, 1990; Terwilliger, 1991).
Diagnostic Characteristics: This species is quite unique with its evergreen, opposite leaves, and low shrubby habit. The only other North American species in the genus Paxistima is found exclusively in the western United States. Among Celastraceae, this is the only evergreen species in the region.
Reproduction Comments: Reproduction is mainly vegetative (may root from branches to form clones (Strausbaugh & Core, 1978; Stoutmire, W. from Terwilliger, 1991). It has been observed to set fruit in Kentucky and West Virginia. This plant does not self pollinate (Stoutmire, 1991) indicating that more than one genetic type occurs at this location.
Ecology Comments: KY -- Dry rocky woods, Limestone ridges (Fort Payne formation, Newman limestone), bluffs and cliffs. Some sites may have a substantial litter layer, others are on ridges that are exposed to high winds. Associated species include Acer saccharum, Carex, Diospyros virginiana, Fraxinus quadrangulata, Juniperus virginiana, Nepeta cataria, Ostrya, Pellaea atropurpurea, Phlox subulata, Pinus virginiana, Quercus velutina, Q. stellata, Q. Muehlenbergii, Rhus aromatica, Rosa carolina, Smilax, Solidago aff. harrisii, and Ulmus rubra.

MD -- Occurrences of Paxistima canbyi are on cliff tops, with at least one site on a slope with a northern aspect. The substrate is shaley. Associated plants include Adlumia fungosa, Campanula rotundifolia, Quercus prinus, Tsuga canadensis, and Woodsia ilvensis.

OH -- This species is found on cliffs and bluffs. It occurs in partial shade on neutral organic clays derived from Silurian dolomite (McCance, 1984). Associated plant species include Juniperus virginiana, Quercus prinus, Taxus canadensis, and Thuja occidentalis,

PA -- Occurrences of Paxistima are on Devonian siliceous lime/shales (Hamilton group), Limestone cliffs, The elevation of sites range from 1100 to 1300 ft. Slopes may be steep (30- deg), and aspects are NW. Associated plant species include Acer saccharum, Fraxinus, Magnolia acuminata, Polypodium virginianum, Quercus prinus, Q. rubra, and Tsuga.

TN -- Occurrence is on a shaley bluff with Aquilegia, Carex eburnea, Iris cristata, Juniperus virginiana, Ostrya virginiana, Pinus virginiana, Physocarpus opulifolius, Quercus rubra, Rhus aromatica, Taenidia integerrima, Viburnum acerifolium, and V. prunifolium. Elev. 1350 ft.

VA -- These occurrences are along limestone or dolomite cliffs, with one noted as having a northern aspect. The canopy is closed to open. Paxistima is associated with Thuja.

WV -- Limestone outcrops, cliffs, ridgebacks, barrens, and talus; also shale ledges. One site is unusual in that it appears to be acidic. Elevations range from 1000-2400 ft. and aspects included north, west, and SW slopes. Canopies are open. Associated plants include Acer rubrum, Carex, Cornus canadensis, Hepatica, Juniperus, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus strobus, Quercus prinus, Q. rubra, Senecio, Thuja occidentalis and Tsuga canadensis.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Barrens, Cliff, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Associated with bluffs and cliffs of limestone or dolomite, usually growing in shallow soils that form over these substrates. These somewhat open to wooded areas are typically on the upper sections of steep slopes, often above major streams. The lower slopes often support dense hardwood or pine forests. The species may prefer northern aspects (E. Thompson, pers. comm., 1996).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: There is horticultural interest in P. canbyi as a ground cover.
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Management and treatment of Euonymous scale should be a primary goal.  The scale has caused significant decline in several populations, and notably in Kentucky where the abundance of this species is highest.  Additionally, measures should be taken not to disturb the soil or canopy coverage where this species occurs; it requires calcareous soils.  
Restoration Potential: Restoration potential may be good. This element can be successfully transplanted and raised as a horticultural specimen.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Preserve design should include adequate buffer area surrounding occurrences to allow for management activities including protection from livestock and deer browse.
Monitoring Requirements: Sites that have not been visited within the last 5 years should be revisited.

Management Programs: Individuals within one population in Maryland are slated to be fenced to protect against deer browse (E. Thompson, pers. comm., 1996). Kentucky has several sites that are managed for this species (D. White, pers. comm., 1996).
Monitoring Programs: The Kentucky Natural Heritage program informally examines cover and periodically compares it to past records.
Additional topics: Nomenclature for this element was recently considered to be unequivocal (Navaro & Blackwell, 1990).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Occurrence with more than 100 clumps/patches along more than
100 meters of linear habitat or over one acre. Habitat in or near presettlement condition with exotic species absent or extremely rare. Edaphic conditions/natural disturbances apparently maintaining habitat for species. Additional habitat available.

Good Viability: Occurrence with 50-100 clumps/patches along 20-100 meters of
linear habitat or over 0.2-1 acre. Habitat near presettlement condition with exotic species absent to rare. Edaphic conditions/natural disturbances apparently maintaining habitat for species. Includes larger populations that do not meet the above criteria.

Fair Viability: Occurrence with fewer than 50 clumps along 1-20 meters of
linear habitat or over less than 0.2 acre. Habitat near presettlement conditions with exotic species rare to uncommon. Edaphic conditions/natural disturbances in place or slightly altered but habitat for species appears to be maintained. Includes larger populations that do not meet the above criteria.

Poor Viability: Occurrence with fewer than 50 clumps along 1-20 meters of linear habitat over less than 0.2 acre. Habitat disturbed and not in
presettlement condition with exotic species uncommon to abundant. Edaphic conditions/natural disturbances are not necessarily in place and maintaining habitat for species. Includes larger populations that do not meet the above criteria.

Justification: Based on a review of the occurrence information available and its associated habitat. As more information on population viability becomes available, the ranking scheme will be re-assessed.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 25Jan2005
Author: White, D.
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: 07Jun2017
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Morse, L.; rev. C. Ludwig/K. Maybury; rev. D. Walton (7/96), rev. L. Morse (1999, 2001), rev. Maybury 2004, rev. K. Gravuer (2009), rev. L. Oliver (2017)
Management Information Edition Date: 22Jul1996
Management Information Edition Author: WALTON, D.

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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  • A Revision of Paxistima (Celastraceae) A.M. Navarro and W.H. Blackwell in Sida Contributions to Botany. Vol 14 No 2 Dec 1990 pp 231-249. A90NAV01PAUS

  • Braun, E.L. 1941. A new Station for Paxistima canbyi. Castanea 6: 52.

  • Braun, L.E. 1961. The woody plants of Ohio. Ohio State Univ. Press, Columbus, Ohio. 362 pp.

  • Clarkson, R.B. et al. 1981. Rare and endangered vascular plant species in West Virginia. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 76 pp.

  • Fernald, M.L. 1949. Gray's Manual of Botany, Eighth edition. American Book Co. New York. B49FER01PAUS

  • Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany, 8th ed., Corr. Printing, 1970. Van Nostrand, New York. LXIV+1632 pp.

  • 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. 1963. MANUAL OF VASCULAR PLANTS OF NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES AND ADJACENT CANADA. D. VAN NOSTRAND CO., NEW YORK. 810 PAGES.

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. New Britton & Brown. Illustrated Flora. Lancaster Press Inc. Lancaster, Pa. B52GLE01PAUS

  • 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.

  • JONES, G.E. 1969. BROAD-LEAVED EVERGREENS. PLANTS GARD. 25(3): 6-12.

  • 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. 1983c. A report on some rare, threatened, or endangered forest-related vascular plants of the South. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service Technical Publication R8-TP2, Athens, GA. 1305 pp.

  • Massey, A.B. Discovery and Distribution of Pachistima canbyi, 1940 in Castanea 5:8-11. A40MAS01PAUS

  • McCance, R.M. and Burns, J.F. eds 1984. Ohio Endangered and Threatened Vascular Plants: Abstracts of State-Listed Taxa, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Department of Natural Resources, Columbus, Ohio 635p. B84MCC01PAUS.

  • McCance, R.M., Jr., and J.F. Burns, eds. 1984. Ohio endangered and threatened vascular plants: Abstracts of state-listed taxa. Division Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Dept. Natural Resources, Columbus. 635 pp.

  • Natural Heritage Program Files. 1995. Unpublished data.

  • Navaro, A.M., and W.H. Blackwell. 1990. A revision of Paxistima (Celestraceae). Sida 14(2): 231-249.

  • Notes and News - Pachistima canbyi in North Carolina. J.W. Hardin in Castanea 28:177-178. A63HAR01PAUS

  • OGLE, D.W. 1984. A CLIFF FLORA OF THE CLINCH RIVER IN RUSSEL CO., VA. THE VA. J. OF SCI. 35(2):96.

  • Ogle, D.W. 1991c. Virginia's Endangered Species: Proceeding of a Symposium. Coordinated by Karen Terwilliger. Nongame and Endangered Species Program, Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries. The McDonald and Woodward Publishing Co. Blacksburg, VA.

  • Once and for All it is Paxistima. L.J. Uttal in Castanea 51:66-68, 1986. A86UTT01PAUS

  • Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles, and C. R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 1183 pp.

  • Specimen (temporary placeholder citation)

  • Stoutmaire, W.P. 1991. Report #910533 on Paxistima canbyi. Ohio Div. of Natural Resources.

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

  • Wheeler, L.C. History and Orthography of the Celastraceous Genus "Pachistima" Rafinesque. 1943 in American Midland Naturalist 29:792-795. A43WHE01PAUS

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