Polygonella basiramia - (Small) Nesom & Bates
Wireweed
Other English Common Names: Florida Jointweed
Other Common Names: Florida jointweed
Synonym(s): Polygonella ciliata var. basiramia (Small) Horton
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Polygonella basiramia (Small) Nesom & Bates (TSN 195641)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159230
Element Code: PDPGN0K0A0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buckwheat Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Polygonales Polygonaceae Polygonella
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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: Polygonella basiramia
Taxonomic Comments: Considered a distinct species by Nesom and Bates (1984). Formerly known as P. ciliata var. basiramia.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10Apr2000
Global Status Last Changed: 30May1986
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This species is locally abundant. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory currently contains 142 occurrence records, scattered in Polk and Highlands counties, Florida.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

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 Florida (S3)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (21Jan1987)
Comments on USESA: Polygonella basiramia was proposed endangered on April 10, 1986 and listed endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on January 21, 1987.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: This herb is restricted to the Winter Haven, Bombing Range and Lake Wales Ridges in Polk and Highlands Counties, Florida. The northern limit of its range is at Auburndale, Avon Park Air Force Range, and Catfish Creek (about five miles east of the town of Lake Wales). It ranges southward to Archbold Biological Station (Christman 1988).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: 142 EORs as of April 2000.

Population Size Comments: Considered to be "common" and "occasional" within its restricted habitat.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Endangered primarily by development of the sand pine scrub for agricultural (citrus groves) and residential purposes (Martin 1987). Also vulnerable to destruction by off-road vehicles that pass through the open spaces in the habitat. Trampling by pedestrians is potentially a problem in areas set aside for scientific and educational use (Judd 1980).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Probably promoted by disturbance.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: This herb is restricted to the Winter Haven, Bombing Range and Lake Wales Ridges in Polk and Highlands Counties, Florida. The northern limit of its range is at Auburndale, Avon Park Air Force Range, and Catfish Creek (about five miles east of the town of Lake Wales). It ranges southward to Archbold Biological Station (Christman 1988).

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 FL

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Highlands (12055), Polk (12105)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Kissimmee (03090101)+, Western Okeechobee Inflow (03090103)+, Peace (03100101)+, Alafia (03100204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Perennial herb from a taproot, branching into several wiry stems at or below ground level. Leaves are alternate, narrow, with ciliate ocrea. Flowers are apetalous, with five small, white to pinkish sepals, and are borne in spike-like racemes, emerging from ocrea.
General Description: Polygonella basiramia is a short-lived perennial with its stems branched at or slightly below ground level, forming a cluster of seven to more than 30 slender branches of nearly equal height (Nesom and Bates 1984). The stems are up to 0.8 meter (2.5 feet) tall; the hairlike leaves are no more than 2 centimeters (0.8 inch) long. Branches of the main stems are tipped by short elongate clusters of small white flowers. The plant is conspicuous only when in bloom (Martin 1987).
Technical Description: Stems and branches few or many (10-70) from the top of a woody tap-root, slender wiry-filiform in the inflorescence; stem-leaves slenderly linear, mostly 1-2.5 cm long, acute, revolute; hypanthium-base clavate, nearly 1 mm long at maturity; sepals of the pistillate flowers spatulate to linear, the inner about 2 mm long, much exceeding the outer; achene subulate, fully 2.5 mm long, thrice as long as thick, much exceeding the loosely investing calyx. (Small 1933)
Diagnostic Characteristics: Polygonella basiramia differs from P. ciliata in that its stems are highly branched at or slightly below ground level. P. ciliata is unbranched for about 10 to 50 cm above ground level (Nesom and Bates 1984).
Duration: PERENNIAL, Short-lived
Reproduction Comments: Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual (Mitchell and Dean 1978); individual plants are either female or hermaphroditic (Hawkes & Menges in press). In a rosemary scrub population, seed production was much higher for all-female than for hermaphroditic plants, as well as higher in more open areas and in denser populations. (Hawkes & Menges in press).
Ecology Comments: Polygonella basiramia is tolerant to toxic chemicals released by rosemary and other shrubs (Martin 1987). It is killed by fire but quickly reestablishes from seed (Menges & Kohfeldt unpublished 1994). At Archbold Biological Station, its densities are highest in areas of open sand, especially highly disturbed areas (deer paths and firelanes) (Hawkes & Menges in press 1994).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: SUMMARY: Restricted to bare patches within sand pine-evergreen oak scrub vegetation. Characteristic of early scrub vegetation development; often absent from later stages. (Based on Johnson 1981, Stout 1982). END SUMMARY. It grows on areas of bare sand within sand pine (Pinus clausa) and Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) (Johnson 1981, Stout 1982).

Scrub is a reasonably distinct vegetation type (Richardson 1989). It occurs on "islands" of excessively drained sand soils on the ridges and uplands of the center of the Florida peninsula and is imbedded in poorly drained flatwoods, bayheads, turkey oak or high pine habitats (Christman 1988). The soils are classified as Psamments: soils that are almost entirely sand, and are nearly featureless in terms of soil morphology. They have little capacity to hold water and are lacking in nutrients. At Archbold Biological Station, Abrahamson et al (1984a) provided evidence that soil drainage, rather than soil nutrient levels, was the primary determinant of vegetation patterns. Myers (1985) determined that fire history (including fire-setting and suppression by humans) and natural barriers to fire spread (such as wetlands and aquatic habitats) have combined to produce the patterns of natural vegetation seen on the Lake Wales Ridge, where most scrubs apparently had some natural protection from fire.

Soil survey sheets are very useful for locating stands of scrub. The 1957 Highland County soil survey is of considerable value, partly because its map units coincide with the boundaries of scrub vegetation more than the new soil survey (Kris DeLaney, Environmental Research Consultants Inc., Sebring, FL, USFWS pers. comm., 1989).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Conservation of the scrub ecosystem and its endemic plants requires adequately large areas of natural vegetation and long-term vegetation management, including prescribed fire or brush removal. The development and implementation of prescribed burning plans or other vegetation management needs to be addressed (Martin 1987).
Restoration Potential: When identification of plants from all protected sites is confirmed, and appropriate management is established for these sites, this plant can be downlisted to threatened status. Recovery and delisting can be considered when at least 1 more site is protected in Highlands County (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1989).
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Before a tract of scrub is set aside as a preserve, an assessment should be made of the fire hazard and whether the tract is adequately buffered against the spread of fire into residential areas by a road, citrus groves, or other non-residential land use. Zoning or other planning procedures may help ensure buffering (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1989).

The Nature Conservancy is developing a preserve design for Central Florida scrub. Because the distribution of scrub endemic species varies among the Ridges of central Florida, conservation measures must focus not on an ideal community, but on the numerous individual sites. Any strategy to recover the plant species must arrange for the protection of at least a dozen sites, and conserve a number of small or medium-sized tracts rather than just one big one (Christman 1988).

Management Requirements: Fencing and other boundary protection is necessary, since trash dumping and recreational vehicle use are usually problems. In maintaining the vegetation, an adequate supply of open areas are needed between large shrubs. Fortunately, some of the best rosemary sites present little fire hazard, and rarely, if ever, need to be burned, because they have limited above-ground live and dead biomass. Employing prescribed fire to maintain/renew scrub may be difficult, but if carefully planned, it can be feasible even near residential areas or busy roads. Mechanical scraping, either of entire stands or of limited areas within stands, may serve as an acceptable substitute for burning in some cases. Scraping as a management technique can be tried on a limited scale and the results monitored (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1989).
Monitoring Requirements: Each protected site should be registered with a suitable organization that can conduct or supervise the monitoring program. Minimal registry information should include owner, location, boundaries, and a checklist of biota. An aerial photograph (from the Agricultural Conservation and Stabilization Service or other source), soil survey, and a sketch map of the vegetation (drawn on an aerial photograph) would be useful. The minimum monitoring tasks should be those needed to see whether the site and its biota are maintaining their integrity. Photography of permanent plots, or photography from specific locations may suffice (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1989).

Management Programs: Archbold Biological Station conducts prescribed burning, and similar vegetation management is expected for the Tiger Creek Preserve and the Arbuckle Lake Wildlife Management Area and State Park (Martin 1987).
Management Research Programs: Abrahamson (1984a) published some data on the results of fire on Lake Wales Ridge vegetation at Archbold Biological Station (ABS). He found that ridge species' populations are revitalized by fire but do not require fire in the sense of maintaining a fire subclimax. He gives data on the recovery of dominant species of 4 major vegetation associations but does not include any of the rare species (Abrahamson, 1984b). He was unsuccessful in burning sand pine or rosemary scrub in these studies.

Other knowledgeable individuals on scrub and sandhill vegetation include Dr. Jack Stout, Dr. Ron Myers, and Don Richardson. Stout is working on scrub preservation strategies in east-central Florida. Myers is studying the ecological effects of fire on Florida's sand ridges. Richardson is exploring the effects of allelopathy in the Florida scrub. (FNAI is the most informed on occurrences and distribution of rare plant species in Florida.)

Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Lake Wales Ridge 1 - EOSPECS

Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any naturally occurring population of 1 or more individuals in suitable habitat.
Separation Barriers: Patches of dense vegetation that shade out patches of open sand and prevent seed germination and colonization form barriers between populations; also, agriculture, pine plantations, and development.


Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 1 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: N/A
Separation Justification: Seeds for most of these species are dispersed by gravity, thus 1 km of suitable / unsuitable habitat appears to be sufficient to distinguish populations.


Date: 19Sep2003
Author: Norden, A.H. and L.G. Chafin
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: 31Oct1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hardin, E.D., rev. A. Wildman (1994)
Management Information Edition Date: 17Nov1994
Management Information Edition Author: A. WILDMAN, TNC-HO
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 31Oct1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): A. WILDMAN, REV. M.E. STOVER, TNC-HO

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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  • Abrahamson, W.G. 1984a. Post-fire recovery of Florida Lake Wales Ridge vegetation. American J. Botany 71(1): 9-21.

  • Abrahamson, W.G. 1984b. Species response to fire on the Florida Lake Wales Ridge. American J. Botany 71(1): 35-43.

  • Christman, S.P. 1988. Endemism and Florida's interior sand pine scrub. Final project report on project #GFC-84-101 to Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. 247 pp. + maps, tables & appendices.

  • Hawkes, C. V., and E. S. Menges. 1996. The relationship between open space and fire for species in a xeric Florida shrubland. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 123(2):81-92.

  • Hawkes, C.V., and E.S. Menges. 1994. Density and seed production of a Florida endemic, Polygonella basiramia, in relation to time since fire and open sand. in press, American Midland Naturalist.

  • Johnson, A.F. 1981. Scrub endemics of the Central Ridge, Florida. Unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Judd, W. (in cooperation with R.P. Wunderlin). 1980. Status report on Hypericum cumulicola. Unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1987. Unpublished plant characterization database information on vascular plant species of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1991. Synonym names from 1991 checklist, as extracted by Larry Morse, TNC, June 1991.

  • 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.

  • Menges, E. S., and N. Kohfeldt. 1995. Life history strategies of Florida scrub plants in relation to fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 122:282-297.

  • Menges, E.S., and N. Kohfeldt. In press. Life history strategies of Florida scrub plants in relation to fire. Submitted to Bull. Torrey Botanical Club.

  • Mitchell, R.S., and K. J. Dean. 1978. Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family) of New York state. Univ. State New York, State Education Dept., Albany.

  • Myers, R. 1985. Fire and the dynamic relationship between Florida sandhill and sand pine scrub vegetation. Bull. Torrey Botanical Club 112: 241-252.

  • Nesom, G.L., and V.M. Bates. 1984. Reevaluations of infraspecific taxonomy in Polygonella (Polygonaceae). Brittonia 36(1): 37-44.

  • Richardson, D.R. 1989. The sand pine scrub community: An annotated bibliography. Florida Scientist. 52: 65-93.

  • Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. Two volumes. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.

  • Stout, I.J. 1982. Descriptions of 84 stands of Florida sand pine scrub vegetation. Unpublished data prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Taylor, W.K. 1992. The guide to Florida wildflowers. Taylor Publishing, Dallas, Texas. 320 pp.

  • Taylor, Walter Kingsley. 1992. The Guide to Florida Wildflowers. Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas. 320 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1998. Multi-Species Recovery Plan for the Threatened and Endangered Species of South Florida, Vol.1 (The Species), Vol.2 (Natural Communities). Technical/Agency Draft. Vero Beach, Florida.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1987. Determination of endangered or threatened status for seven Florida scrub plants. Federal Register 52(13): 2227-2234.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1989. Recovery plan for eleven central Florida scrub plants. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 64pp.

  • Wunderlin, R.P., D. Richardson, and B. Hansena. 1980. Status report on Bonamia grandiflora. Unpublished report prepared under contract to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville, FL. 22 pp.

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