Sideroxylon thornei - (Cronq.) T.D. Pennington
Swamp Buckthorn
Other English Common Names: Georgia Bully
Other Common Names: Georgia bully
Synonym(s): Bumelia thornei Cronq.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sideroxylon thornei (Cronq.) T.D. Pennington (TSN 505226)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.152872
Element Code: PDSPT0G0B0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Sapodilla Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ebenales Sapotaceae Sideroxylon
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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: Sideroxylon thornei
Taxonomic Comments: Bumelia thornei is the name used in most floristic works. Kartesz (1994 checklist) places this species, and some other species often treated as Bumelia, into the genus Sideroxylon instead.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 24Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 24Jun2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Known from about 40 occurrences in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, with the majority of the range in Georgia. This species was feared extinct until it was rediscovered in the 1980's. Habitat for this species has declined due to wetland drainage for agriculture and pine plantations. Current threats mostly involve habitat alterations that effect wetland hydrology.
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 Alabama (S1), Florida (S1), Georgia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Sideroxylon thornei occurs in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

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

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Fifty-one element occurrences. Forty of those sites are confirmed extant in the last 20 years. At four sites, plants were not seen during the last survey but habitat is still intact. Seven sites haven't been surveyed for over twenty years.

Population Size Comments: Several sites had thousands of plants counted at their last survey. Many sites have less than 50 plants.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: There are at least 18 occurrences that are of good to excellent or good viability, and maybe more, however, many Element Occurrences aren't ranked.

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat alteration is the biggest threat to the species and could include ditching and draining wetlands; clearcutting in floodplains and swamps; and lowering the water table by excessive withdrawal from the aquifer (Chafin 2010). Being essentially a wetland species, occurrences of Sideroxylon thornei are minimally protected by regulations concerning wetlands conversion but the possible effects of less drastic habitat alterations are not known.

Further, in the past this species has endured significant habitat loss due to the draining of its wetland habitat for agricultural land or pine plantations (Patrick et al. 1995).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: In 1995 it was noted that this species has withstood significant habitat loss due to draining of its wetland habitat for conversion to agriculture and pine plantation (Patrick et al.).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Sideroxylon thornei occurs in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

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, FL, GA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Baldwin (01003), Geneva (01061), Houston (01069)
FL Escambia (12033), Franklin (12037), Gulf (12045), Holmes (12059), Jackson (12063), Santa Rosa (12113)
GA Baker (13007), Bryan (13029), Calhoun (13037), Crisp (13081), Decatur (13087), Dougherty (13095), Early (13099), Laurens (13175), Lee (13177), Liberty (13179), Long (13183), Miller (13201), Pulaski (13235), Seminole (13253), Sumter (13261), Tattnall (13267), Telfair (13271), Terrell (13273), Wilcox (13315), Worth (13321)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Canoochee (03060203)+, Lower Oconee (03070102)+, Lower Ocmulgee (03070104)+, Altamaha (03070106)+, Lower Chattahoochee (03130004)+, Middle Flint (03130006)+, Kinchafoonee-Muckalee (03130007)+, Lower Flint (03130008)+, Ichawaynochaway (03130009)+, Spring (03130010)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Chipola (03130012)+, Yellow (03140103)+, Pea (03140202)+, Lower Choctawhatchee (03140203)+, Escambia (03140305)+, Mobile - Tensaw (03160204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A thorny, spindly shrub with only a few main branches. It can reach 6 m in height, but is more commonly about 2.5 m tall. Flowers (May-June) are minute and tightly clustered; fruits (August-early October) are dull black berries, about 1 cm long.
General Description: Tardily deciduous, erect shrub or small tree, bearing thorns and reaching a height of 2.5 m. The leaves are simple, alternate and up to 6 cm long and 4 cm wide, with margins entire. Leaf shapes, (elliptic, obovate or round) and sizes vary greatly (Patrick et al. 1995).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Sideroxylons, or formerly in the genus Bumelia, are vegetatively variable in leaf morphology and degree of thorniness. Sideroxylon thornei is distinguished from other in the genus in Georgia based on it's patchy, tawny hairs on the undersides of it's leaves late in the growing season, that it is a tall, erect shrub or small tree, that it has fruit that are about 1 cm in diameter and that it occurs in a wetland habitat (Patrick et al. 1995).
Duration: DECIDUOUS
Reproduction Comments: The sall, cream colored flowers are in umbels, and the flower stalks are hairy when young which become bare by the end of the growing season, with a persistent calyx at the tip. The mature fruit is subglobose, black berry about 1cm in diameter. Flowering occurs May through June and fruiting occurs August to October (Patrick et al. 1995). Seeds are dispersed by animals (Chafin 2010).
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Oak flatwoods where the soils usually remain water-saturated for long periods following heavy rains or flooding. Chafin (2007) also indicates that this species occurs in wetlands over limestone, specifically forested limesink depressions and swamps over limestone.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Continue to monitor known populations for status of threats, site condition, and abundance of plants. Survey potential habitat for new populations. Seek long term protection for exceptional sites.

Populations whether on private or public land remain vulnerable to changes in land use or hydrologic regime and are deserving of consideration for protection and possible management. As this species seems to be restricted to seasonally inundated or saturated sites, preservation efforts should pay particular attention to maintaining a site's hydrologic regime. Further, draining and filling of the wetlands where this species occurs and clearcutting the forest surrounding the wetlands should be avoided (Chafin 2007).

To date there have been no attempts to introduce this species into likely habitat (i.e., high quality, hardwood swamps) on TNC preserves or other protected lands but this is one avenue worth exploration. Preliminary experiments on seed viability and seedling transplant success would provide a basis for such an effort.

It is not known whether active management would benefit extant populations. There is some evidence for severe deer browsing in some of the populations. Experimental herbivore exclosures surrounding some of the plants in monitored populations could be used to better understand the nature and effects of this browsing.

Restoration Potential: To date, there have been no attempts to restore or even propagate Sideroxylon thornei. A closely related species, SIDEROXYLON LANUGINOSUM is readily propagated from both seed and cuttings (USDA 1974, Schnell 1992), thus it is likely that attempts to propagate Sideroxylon thornei would be successful.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Owing to the likely sensitivity of Sideroxylon thornei to hydrological impacts, preserves should be designed to encompass enough area to buffer the critical habitat from such impacts.
Management Requirements: It is unknown whether active management would benefit this species. Given the evidence for deer browsing and low fruit set at the Fort Stewart site, it is suggested that experimentation with herbivore exclosures and artificial pollen transfer be conducted.
Monitoring Requirements: As populations are likely to contain relatively few (<50 individuals), all individuals within a population to be monitored should be numbered, tagged, mapped, and measured for height. Populations should be recensused and remeasured annually; new recruits to the population should be tagged as they are encountered. Ideally surveys would be conducted during the fruiting season so that information on number reproductive individuals, size at first reproduction, and success of fruit set could be obtained.
Monitoring Programs: Currently, there are no formal monitoring programs for this species. The Integrated Training and Management Service (ITAMS) of TNC in Georgia and the Fort Steward Military Base plans to commence monitoring of the Ft. Steward population in 1995 (K. Lutz, pers. comm.).
Management Research Needs: Little is known about the biology and ecology of this species. To manage it effectively, the following questions should be addressed:

1) Is deer browse threatening or limiting Sideroxylon thornei occurrences or growth?

2) Can plants be established in the wild using either seeds, seedlings or cuttings?

3) What are the habitat characteristics (e.g., soil type and hydrolic regime) of vigorous clumps and how sensitive is this species to hydrologic changes?

4) Are plants exhibiting poor fruit set and if so, what are its causes?

5) What is the relative importance of sexual and asexual reproduction in population maintenance and expansion?

6) What are the pollinators of this species and is there interpopulation gene flow occurring?

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: 24Jun2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: L. Morse (1995), rev. Patrick/Allison/Maybury (1996) Gerwing, J. (1995), rev. L. Oliver (2008), rev. A. Treher (2015)
Management Information Edition Date: 24Jun2015
Management Information Edition Author: GERWING, J. (1995), rev. A. Treher (2015)
Management Information Acknowledgments:

Jim Allison, Georgia Natural Heritage Program, (706) 557-3032.

Angus Gholson, Gholson Herbarium, P.O. Box 385, Chattahoochee, FL 32324, (904) 663-4417.

Kim Lutz, Georgia TNC, Costal Chapter, (912) 239-9800.

Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Aug1995

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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  • Anderson, L. C. 1996. New geographical and morphological data for Sideroxylon thornei (Sapotaceae). Sida 17(2): 343-348.

  • Anderson, L.C. 1988. Status of endangered Rhynchospora crinipes (Cyperaceae). Systematic Botany 13(3): 407-410.

  • Center for Biological Diversity. 2010. Petition to list 404 aquatic, riparian and wetland species from the southeastern United States as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Chafin, L.G. 2007. Field guide to the rare plants of Georgia. State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

  • Chafin, L.G. 2010b. Rare Plant Species Profiles: Sideroxylon thornei. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Online. Available: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/sites/default/files/uploads/wildlife/nongame/pdf/accounts/plants/sideroxylon_thornei.pdf

  • Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). 1990. Matrix of Habitats and Distributions by County of Rare/Endangered Species in Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 97 pp.

  • Godfrey, R.K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 734 pp.

  • 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., and R. Kartesz. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada and Greenland. Vol. 2. The biota of North America. Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 500 pp.

  • McCollum, J. L., and D. R. Ettman. 1977. Georgia's Protected Plants. Resource Planning Section, OPR; Endangered Plant Program, Georgia Dept. of Natural Res.; Soil Conservation Service, Atlanta, GA. 64 pp.

  • Patrick, T.S., J.R. Allison, and G.A. Krakow. 1995. Protected plants of Georgia: an information manual on plants designated by the State of Georgia as endangered, threatened, rare, or unusual. Georgia Dept. Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Natural Heritage Program, Social Circle, Georgia. 218 pp + appendices.

  • Schnelle, M.A. 1992. Bumelia lanunginosa. American Nurseryman. 53:154.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2011m. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; partial 90-day finding on a petition to list 404 species in the southeastern United States as endangered or threatened. Federal Register 76(187):59836-59862.

  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS). 1974. Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Agricultural Handbook #450.

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