Sisyrinchium dichotomum - Bickn.
Reflexed Blue-eyed-grass
Other English Common Names: White Irisette, Wishbone Blue-eyed-grass
Other Common Names: wishbone blue-eyed grass
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sisyrinchium dichotomum Bickn. (TSN 196391)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.131951
Element Code: PMIRI0D1D0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Iris Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Liliales Iridaceae Sisyrinchium
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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: Sisyrinchium dichotomum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 16Jul2004
Global Status Last Changed: 24May1993
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to the upper Piedmont of North Carolina, where the populations are restricted to basic soils. As recently as 1942 the species was reported to be fairly common, but suppression of natural disturbances and rapid, widespread development have drastically reduced the amount of suitable habitat within its range. Much of the species' habitat is also being encroached upon by non-native kudzu (Pueraria lobata) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). There are currently about 30 occurrences believed extant; 2 of these are protected within the boundaries of Chimney Rock Park. Some populations are surviving in power line and road rights-of-way, where they are vulnerable to herbicide application and other maintenance activities.
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 North Carolina (S2), South Carolina (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (26Sep1991)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: A narrow endemic, the species is known from 4 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina (Greenville, SC; Henderson, NC; Polk, NC; Rutherford, NC).

Area of Occupancy: 1-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The South Carolina property is estimated to be on a preserve that is about 1000 acres.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: The species is known from 4 counties, 3 in North Carolina and 1 in South Carolina for a total of 34 EOs. Population number is usually given as between 5 and 7.

Population Size Comments: The largest population is estimated at approximately 1000 individuals.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: North Carolina has ranked 15 of their EO's as A or B. South Carolina has not ranked any of their EOs.

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Land-use conversion to residential development, road and trail construction, habitat fragmentation, and forest management practices are serious threats to this species and it is also somewhat threatened by lack of disturbance resulting in succession (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002). Furthermore, non-natives such as Pueraria lobata (Kudzu), Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) and Microstegium vimineum are encroaching.

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Unknown. Threats of road maintenance activities and encroachment by native succession and non-natives continue to threaten the species and reduce it's habitat.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: In 1942 the species was thought to be "fairly common" - it is now known from less than 10 populations.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow to narrow.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Disturbance dependent.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: A narrow endemic, the species is known from 4 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina (Greenville, SC; Henderson, NC; Polk, NC; Rutherford, NC).

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 NC, SC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Burke (37023), Henderson (37089), Polk (37149), Rutherford (37161)
SC Greenville (45045)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+, Upper Broad (03050105)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb with winged, branching stems, 1-2 dm tall, rising above basal clumps of blue-green, grass-like leaves. Tiny (7.5 mm long) white flowers bloom at the ends of the stems from late May through July.
Diagnostic Characteristics: White flowers and dichotomous branching pattern distinguish it from similar species.
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Flowers and fruits from late May to July. Relatively small number of seeds produced despire even small plants producing flowers.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Rich, basic soils in clearings and near the edges of upland woods where the canopy cover is thin. Often in places where the humus or mineral soil layers have been exposed by downslope runoff, which has removed the litter layer from the soil's surface. In the past, the thin canopy cover (and possibly the thin litter layer as well) was maintained by periodic fires and by native grazing animals. Now, most populations are in artificially disturbed areas, such as power line and road rights-of-way.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Prevent maintenance activities during flower and seed production and limit competitive native and non-native species in its range.

Management Research Needs: How much buffer land around a population is need to sufficiently protect a population?
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: An A-ranked occurrence of Sisyrinchium dichotomum should have more than 200 clumps occurring in mature oak hickory forest.
Good Viability: A B-ranked occurrence of Sisyrinchium dichotomum should have between 75 and 200 clumps occurring in mature to successional oak hickory forest. More than 200 clumps occurring in successional forest are ranked here.
Fair Viability: A C-ranked occurrence of Sisyrinchium dichotomum should have between 20 and 75 clumps occurring in mature, successional, or recently logged oak hickory forest.
Poor Viability: A D-ranked occurrence of Sisyrinchium dichotomum should have fewer than 20 clumps in any habitat or more plants occurring exclusively in a right-of-way such as a powerline or roadside.
Justification: The rank specifications for Sisyrinchium dichotomum are based on current element occurrence records and expert opinion. All communities should include conditions such as slopes, rock outcrops, or periodic fire which maintain the bare soil microhabitat which appears to be necessary for the persistance of S. dichotomum. Occurrences exclusively within right-of-ways are inherently susceptible to extirpation and are ranked as D.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 13Jan2005
Author: Amoroso
Notes: (Oakley 1994).

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: 14Jun1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Oakley (rev. Maybury/Amoroso 6/96)
Management Information Edition Author: Fellows, M. (2004)

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
Help
  • Feil, E. 1995. White irisette (Sisyrinchium dichotomum) recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxvi + 723 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.

  • 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. 1991. Determination of endangered status for the plant Sisyrinchium dichotomum (white irisette). Federal Register 56 (187): 48752-48755.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. White irisette recovery plan. Atlanta, GA. 31 pp.

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