Solidago spithamaea - M.A. Curtis
Blue Ridge Goldenrod
Other Common Names: Blue Ridge goldenrod
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Solidago spithamaea M.A. Curtis (TSN 36313)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159226
Element Code: PDAST8P200
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Solidago
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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: Solidago spithamaea
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08May2013
Global Status Last Changed: 08May2013
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Confined to small areas on a few very high, rocky summits in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. There are 5 populations currently known to exist in NC. 4 of those populations are protected. Another 3 historical populations were extirpated by extensive recreational and residential development. However, the largest population currently known is thriving despite heavy recreational use of the site.
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), Tennessee (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (28Mar1985)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to three mountains, Grandfather Mountain and Hanging Rock Mountain in North Carolina, and Roan Mountain on the North Carolina-Tennessee border (Weakley 2008).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Five populations know in North Carolina.

Population Size Comments: As of 2009 (USFWS), two populations contained no more than 300 and 1500 patches respectively, and no estimates were available for two populations (USFWS 2009). Estimating population size is difficult due to clonal growth (USFWS 2009).

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threatened by trampling, development, and woody vegetation sucession (USFWS 2009). Trampling of habitat by sightseers and climbers poses a serious threat (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002). Recreational over-use may increase erosion (NCHP 2001). Climate change is also a major concern for this species which is restricted to high elevations with extensive snow and ice formation (USFWS 2009).

Short-term Trend Comments: Areas containing two subpopulations that were declining were closed to the public (USFWS 2009). Transplantation was done at one of these subpopulations but has not yet been evaluated (USFWS 2009).

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: Three historical populations were extirpated by extensive recreational and residential development.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to three mountains, Grandfather Mountain and Hanging Rock Mountain in North Carolina, and Roan Mountain on the North Carolina-Tennessee border (Weakley 2008).

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, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Avery (37011), Buncombe (37021), Mitchell (37121), Watauga (37189)
TN Carter (47019)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+, Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb with solitary or tufted, erect, unbranched stems, usually 1-3 dm tall. A flat- or round-topped terminal cluster of yellow flower heads, each containing 20-30 flowers, blooms from July to September. This is 1 of only a few southern goldenrods with close affinities to plants now abundant in more northern areas. Populations are thought to be relict in nature, persisting on mountain-tops as the regional climate became warmer and drier.
Technical Description: A perennial, short- rhizomatous herb with solitary or tufted, unbranched erect, angled, sparsely to densely pubescent stems, usually 1-3 dm tall. Leaves cauline, often basal, elliptic, 3-6 cm long, 0.8-2 cm wide, acute to acuminate, serrate, base cuneate to attenuate, smooth to slightly scabrous above, glabrous beneath, ciliate, lateral pairs of veins not prominent, the upper sessile, the lower petiolate. A flat- or round-topped terminal cluster of clear yellow flower heads, each containing from 20-30 flowers, blooms from July to September. Involucres are 3-6 mm long, 4-7 mm broad; bracts obtuse to acuminate, appressed, glabrous. Ray flowers yellow, 2-4 mm long. Nutlets 2.5-3 mm long, pubescent; pappus 2.5-3.5 mm long.
Diagnostic Characteristics: This is 1 of only a few southern goldenrods having close affinities with plants now abundant in more northern areas. Populations are thought to be relict in nature, persisting on mountain-tops as the regional climate became warmer and drier.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Barrens, Cliff
Habitat Comments: Rocky places such as outcrops, ledges, cliffs, and balds at elevations above 1400 m. Sites occupied by the species are generally exposed to full sun. Common associates include grasses and sedges, as well as other rare, high-elevation species such as Heller's blazing star (Liatris helleri), Roan Mountain bluet (Houstonia montana) and spreading avens (Geum radiatum) (NCHP 2001).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Prevent trampling by routing trails away from plants and educating visitors (NCHP 2001; USFWS 2008). Protect habitat from erosion (NCHP 2001).
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: 15Oct2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Maybury, K. & M. Pyne (1996), rev. A. Tomaino (2009), revised by Gadd & Buchanan (2012).
Management Information Edition Date: 23Sep2009
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
Help
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006b. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 20. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 7: Asteraceae, part 2. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxii + 666 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.

  • Kral, R. 1983a. A report on some rare, threatened or endangered forest related vascular plants of the south. USFS technical publication R8-TP2, Atlanta, GA. Vol. 1: 718 pp.

  • 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.

  • Murdock, N., and R.D. Sutter. 1987. Blue Ridge goldenrod recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA.

  • North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. 2001. Guide to federally listed endangered and threatened species of North Carolina. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Raleigh, NC. 134 pp. [http://www.ncnhp.org/Pages/guide.htm]

  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.

  • 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.

  • Sutter, R.D., V. Frantz, and K.A. McCarthy. 1988. Atlas of rare and endangered plant species in North Carolina. North Carolina Dept. Agriculture, Plant Protection Section, Conservation Program, Raleigh, North Carolina. 174 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2009. Draft five-year review for Blue Ridge Goldenrod (Solidago spithamaea). Asheville Field Office, Asheville, NC.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1985. Determination of threatened status for Solidago spithamaea (Blue Ridge goldenrod). Federal Register 50(60): 12306-12309.

  • Weakley, A. S. 2008. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, northern Florida, and surrounding areas. Working Draft of 7 April 2008. University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU), North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Online. Available: http://herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm (Accessed 2008).

  • Weakley, A.S. 1996. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of 23 May 1996. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Dept., Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Unpaginated.

  • Wiser, S. K., R. K. Peet, and P. S. White. 1998. Prediction of rare-plant occurrence: A southern Appalachian example. Ecological Applications 8: 909-920.

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