Trillium rugelii - Rendle
Southern Nodding Trillium
Other English Common Names: Ill-scented Wakerobin
Other Common Names: illscented wakerobin
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Trillium rugelii Rendle (TSN 43087)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.156994
Element Code: PMLIL20130
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Lily Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Liliales Liliaceae Trillium
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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: Trillium rugelii
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Nov1994
Global Status Last Changed: 10Jun1993
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Locally abundant in parts of Georgia, but rare elsewhere in its small range.
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 (S2?), Georgia (S3), North Carolina (S3), South Carolina (S2), Tennessee (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Trillium rugelii is found in mesic forests of the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina and Tennessee, south to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats at each occurrence should be identified and evaluated. Ranking the stresses and sources may be helpful in developing a preserve design or in developing management plans for the site. Some possible threats to Trillium rugelii are noted below.

Trillium rugelii populations are currently threatened by habitat alteration resulting mainly from silvicultural practices, commercial and residential development, and other construction projects. Collections and trampling are other areas of concern.

Populations of T. rugelii occur on National Forest lands and private forests. The silvicultural practices in these areas should include precautions for these sites. Logging in areas occupied by the species is a significant threat as are utility rights-of-way. Increased sunlight from opening of the canopy and the subsequent drying of the soil has been noted to lead to the decrease in some populations of T. discolor (P. Shatley, pers. comm.). Trillium rugelii may respond favorably to increased sunlight in the short term, but increased soil drying will eventually reduce the habitat and the population. Increased sunlight, heavy erosion and sedimentation may preclude all but selective logging and care should be given to sedimentation control and avoidance of plants during logging.

The role that fire plays with this species is unknown. Given the normally moist conditions, fire is thought to be a rare occurrence, which would likely have a negative impact on this species. Conversion to monoculture (mainly pine) would have a negative impact on the species. Agricultural herbicide runoff should be avoided with proper conservation zones.

Land-use change to commercial and residential development is present in some potential habitat areas for T. rugelii. Although this pressure is presently not a severe threat in most areas, it will increase as rural areas continue to become more developed.

Trillium rugelii sites may be lost to other land-use changes including roadway construction and inundation from dam construction. These low lying habitat areas may have been severely impacted by inundation from hydroelectric projects (TVA dams). Along smaller tributaries, beaver dams may also cause flooding which could threaten some populations.

Taking for commercial trade is not currently a significant threat, although taking for personal collections is a high potential threat. Collection for garden exhibits should be discouraged as it may create a demand and market for the species. Collection for scientific and educational purposes is sporadic and constitutes a low threat. Collections should be gathered from large populations as opposed to smaller ones. Whole plants should not be collected. All collecting should be monitored. Investigator impact on these plants include the possibility of increased herbivory from native fauna attracted to the plant by salt deposits left after handling plants as noted with Isotria medeoloidies (Rawinski 1987). Trampling is a concern with collecting and with some populations occurring near trails which receive heavy use. Relocation of the trail or placement of screening vegetation (native) may be needed if off trail use threatens or endangers the occurence.

The extent of threats from exotic species is undocumented. Threats from aggressive ground covering plant species such as Hedera helix, Lonicera japonica, and Peuraria lobata are of concern in some areas and may require manual removal. Herbicides should not be used.

The impact of grazing by native fauna may be severe at some locations (T. Patrick pers.comm.). Deer tend to graze on the leaves and flowers. Predation may not have serious impacts on large populations but could severely impact smaller ones, although larger populations may attract predation. Opening sites to livestock grazing would have a serious negative impact on the species and its habitat. Grazing would impact the plants by both destruction of plants and disturbance to the soil and the nutrient input. Grazing may also promote the introduction of exotic species.

Short-term Trend Comments: A general trend for the species is unknown. Specific sites are under pressure and have potential threats which may reduce the population size. Otherwise, the species appears to be stable and could be considered threatened as opposed to endangered.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Trillium rugelii is found in mesic forests of the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina and Tennessee, south to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

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, GA, NC, SC, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Clay (01027), Shelby (01117)
SC Abbeville (45001), Anderson (45007)*, Edgefield (45037)*, Lancaster (45057), Laurens (45059), McCormick (45065)*, Oconee (45073), Pickens (45077), York (45091)
TN Blount (47009)*, Carter (47019)*, Cocke (47029), Hamilton (47065)*, Polk (47139), Sevier (47155), Unicoi (47171)*, Washington (47179)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower Catawba (03050103)+, Enoree (03050108)+, Saluda (03050109)+, Seneca (03060101)+, Tugaloo (03060102)+, Upper Savannah (03060103)+, Stevens (03060107)+*, Middle Coosa (03150106)+, Lower Coosa (03150107)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+*, Pigeon (06010106)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+*, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+*, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+*, Ocoee (06020003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Perennial herb with erect stem from a short, horizontal rhizome, terminating with a whorl of three leaves and a solitary pale yellow or cream flower. Leaves solid green; pale yellow or cream flower on pedicel; petals ovate to elliptic, much broader than sepals, relatively thick in texture, straight-margined, maroon or white, rarely yellow or green (if white, turning brown with age); stigmas thicker at base, tapering gradually toward tip, distinct; ovary purple-black, maroon, pink, or white; anthers 7.0 mm or greater in length, longer than filaments. (Weakley, In Progress)
Diagnostic Characteristics: A nodding Trillium with cream to pale yellow flowers and petals much broader than sepals. Anthers longer than filaments and 7.0 mm or greater in length. Considered by some to be conspecific with T. cernuum (A. Weakley pers. comm.). In the Southeast region, intermediate forms of T. rugelii are often frequent.
Reproduction Comments: There is very little specific information on the reproductive biology of this species. The general life cycle is similar to that of most Trillium species. Flowers appear in the early spring (April - May) and an oval-shaped berry-like capsule fruit matures in the early to mid summer. After the fruit matures, the plant then perenates to its rhizome. Plant dormancy may also play a factor in the life cycle of this species (R. Sutter pers. comm.).

The fruits do not appear adapted for long distance dispersal and most likely fall near the parent plant. Chances for extrapopulation dispersal are poor. Capsules could be transported by water, animals, or insects. Seed morphology may be conducive to myrmecochory. Seed dispersal by ants, observed with T. petiolatum, may occur with Trillium rugelii.

Habitat Comments: Rich woodlands and forest over mafic or calcareous rocks (Weakley, In Progress), often found near (downslope) Rhododendron catawbiense (Wofford 1989). The general habitat is moist, but well drained. Trillium rugelii is found at lower slope elevations, over limestone, dolomite, or marble. Forest vegetation is dominated by closed or nearly closed canopy of mesophytic trees including calciphilic or basophilic species (Schafale and Weakley 1990). Some typical canopy species in this community include Quercus muehlenbergii, Juglans nigra, and Fraxinus americana (Schafale and Weakley 1990).
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Trillium rugelii populations are currently threatened by habitat alteration resulting mainly from silvicultural practices, commercial and residential development, and other construction projects.

Logging in areas occupied by the species is a significant threat as are utility and power line rights-of-way. Increased sunlight from opening of the canopy and subsequent drying of the soil has been noted to lead to the decrease in some populations of T. discolor (P. Shatley, pers. comm.). The effects of conversion to a monoculture (pine) is unknown but presumed to be negative. Trampling of plants and compaction of soil are also of concern.

The role that fire plays with this species is unknown. Given the normally moist conditions, fire is thought to be a rare occurrence, which would likely have a negative impact on this species.

Land-use change to commercial and residential development is present in some potential habitat areas for T. rugelii. Although this pressure is presently not a severe threat, in some areas it will increase as rural areas continue to become more developed.

Taking for commercial trade is currently not a significant threat, although taking for personal collections/horticulture is a high potential threat. Scientific and educational collection is sporadic and constitutes a low threat, but should be monitored. Trampling is a concern, with some populations occurring near trails which receive heavy use.

The extent of threats from exotic species is undocumented. However, threats from aggressive ground covering species such as Hedera helix, Lonicera japonica, and Peuraria lobata are of concern and may require manual removal.

The impact of grazing by native fauna may be severe at some locations. Deer tend to graze on the leaves and flowers, particularly those of sessile flower trilliums (T. Patrick pers.comm.). While predation may not have serious impacts on large populations, it could severely impact smaller ones, although large population may invite predation. Opening sites to livestock grazing would have a serious negative impact on both the species and its habitat. Grazing would impact the plants by both destruction of plants and disturbance to the soil and the nutrient input. Grazing may also promote introduction of exotic species.

Monitoring of populations and individuals is required to determine the current status (overall and by site) and define population trends.

Species Impacts: Trillium rugelii has no known impacts on other species.
Restoration Potential: The restoration potential for this species is unknown. Too little information exists on the life history, abiotic and biotic conditions of T. rugelii to justify attempts to create artificially established populations. A portion of a population in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been transplanted (1994) across a parking lot with some short-term success, but no monitoring has occurred to measure the level of success (J. Rock pers. comm.). Trillium species in general are difficult to cultivate and transplant as they are easily damaged and slow growing. Timing is very important for transplanting. Plants should be collected during the dormant period in early spring. Propagation for seed is difficult as the seed must be planted soon after ripening. The ripening window is very small (1-2 days) for individual plants, and presents some difficulties in seed collections (R. Gardner pers. comm.). The seed dormancy period for T. rugelii is unknown. Trillium seeds may sprout in the following year or lay dormant for two or more winters.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: GOALS: Preserve design considerations should be based on the site conservation goals for the specific site. These goals may focus on the T. rugelii population, the vegetation community, or the ecosystem, and should be clear and concise with measurable results.

ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION: The best available ecological and biological information should be used in decision making. A decision on what constitutes a viable population needs to be determined on a site-by-site basis. The total number of occurrences, and their relative conditions should also be considered.

Monitoring may reveal the appropriate level of the various age classes needed to provide for the continual existence of the population. Age class data from A (or B) ranked occurrences of this community may be used to give an idea of the desirable distribution of individuals within those age classes. Monitoring should be used to indicate the extent of threats from exotics. Investigation into immigration/emigration of the species should be included in monitoring. For the community, selected members (often dominant) may be targeted for monitoring or management activities.

Development of a model that represents stages (life cycle), processes (succession, disturbance), and threats to T. rugelii or its associated community will help in producing a comprehensive site design. Constructing a model may be useful for understanding the threats and population conditions. The combination of a model and threats analysis set the stage for conservation strategies.

CONSERVATION ZONES: Conservation zones include all processes needed to protect a population over the long-term.

THREATS: Threats must be assessed at each occurrence (see GTHREATCOM section of this ESA). One goal of any site conservation plan is to eliminate or mitigate threats. Threats may come from any source and may be environmental (process related) or demographic. Site design considerations should include hydrologic, sedimentation, and natural and unnatural disturbance parameters.

Trillium rugelii occurrence sites are heavily influenced by water and sedimentation from upslope areas. Plant habitat/occurrence areas, upslope lands need to be protected by adequate conservation zones to ensure water drainage processes are maintained and excess sedimentation prevented. Trilliums are very susceptible to physical damage, so fencing or some other form of exclusion may be necessary.

The appropriate level of the various age classes needed to provide for the continual existence of the population may be revealed by monitoring A (or B) ranked occurrences. Monitoring should be used to indicate the extent of threats from exotics.

MEASURES of SUCCESS: A method for determination of the level of success should be developed in order to determine if goals and objectives were met, to evaluate the conservation strategies used, and to determine directions for future conservation actions.

Management Requirements: Too little is known of the conditions necessary for reproduction, dispersion, establishment and maintenance of T. rugelii to assess potential management plans. Disturbance of soils producing heavy sedimentation needs to be avoided. Changes in the site hydrology are a major concern as drying and flooding may negatively impact the habitat. Changes in canopy should be monitored as well as humidity. If competition from an exotic species is leading to a decline in habitat, manual removal of the exotic may be required.

Although T. rugelii is globally rare, it can be locally abundant. This local abundance is often misleading in the perception of its rarity and may lead to decisions based only on a local scale. This local abundance may allow for limited experimentation of different management practices on larger occurrences. Management might otherwise focus on maintaining the canopy composition and community structure.

Monitoring Requirements: Determination of the monitoring protocol will be defined by the monitoring objective on a site-by-site basis. The best method of monitoring the population is determined by 1) what information is required to adequately address the management objective for a particular site, and 2) on the time and resources available for monitoring. Monitoring may be on one of three levels of monitoring of a combination of any level.

Level I: Qualitative or semi-quantitative information

Abundance information: presence/absence, location making, number estimate, permanent photo-points.

In large and small Trillium populations the boundaries could be mapped. Either quadrants or the entire population could be mapped, and new plants recorded.

Level II

Quantitative measures of population/community: number of individuals or stage class, density, percent cover, frequency, permanent or non-permanent transects.

Life cycle status should be observed during flowering and fruiting periods. In-depth monitoring would track seedlings and mature plants, and sources of mortality.

Level III

Quantitative age or stage class analysis: various measures of marked individuals.

A technique for monitoring T. rugelii would be to permanently identify individual plants and follow their life cycles over a period of several years. This method could be suitable for small populations and subsets of larger populations. Care should be taken not to damage the rhizome of the plants when placing stakes.


Management Programs: Presently no known management programs exist for T. rugelii. Until more is known about the habitat requirements and dynamics of the species, management of T. rugelii should focus on maintaining the current canopy composition and community structure. Actions to reduce or eliminate identified stresses should proceed.
Monitoring Programs: This species requires monitoring to determine its current status and direction. No monitoring programs currently exist for this species. The best method of monitoring needs to be determined see MONIT.REQS).
Management Research Programs: There is no current research on management programs for this species.
Management Research Needs: Basic biological information on T. rugelii is currently inadequate for long-term management of this species.
Additional topics: Individuals knowledgeable of this species include:

Thomas Patrick, Senior Botanist, Georgia Natural Heritage Program,

2117 U.S. Highway 278 S.E., Social Circle, GA 30279

(770) 918-6411

Janet Rock, Botanist, Great Smokey Mountains National Park

1314 Cherokee Orchard Road, Twin Creeks Natural Resource Center, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(423) 436-1264

Albert Pittman, Botanist, South Carolina Heritage Trust,

P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202

(803) 734-3883

Rob Gardner,North Carolina Botanical Garden

P.O. Box 3375, Totten Center

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

(919) 962-0522

L.L. Gaddy, Botanist

245 The Wildwood Way

Walhalla SC 29691

(864) 638-7687

Perry Shatley

Andrew Pickens RD, Stumphouse Ranger Station

Star Route, Walhalla, SC 29691

(803) 638-9569
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: 01Oct1996
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Crowell, Jr., W. L.; orig. T. Patrick
Management Information Edition Date: 01Oct1996
Management Information Edition Author: CROWELL, JR., W. L.
Management Information Acknowledgments: U. S. Forest Service Challenge Cost-share grants from the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests, the South Carolina Field Office of The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Science Department at the Southeast Regional Office provided funding for the development of this ESA.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Oct1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): CROWELL, JR., W. L.

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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  • 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.

  • Moye, William S. 2006. Highly Ranked Plants of the South Mountain Region. Unpublished notes sent via email to Misty Franklin in February 2006.

  • Rawinski, T. 1987. Isotria medeoloides, Element Stewardship Abstract. The Nature Conservancy.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina: Third approximation. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh, North Carolina. 325pp.

  • 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.

  • Wofford, B.E. 1989. Guide to vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. University of Georgia Press. Athens, Georgia.

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