Caulophyllum giganteum - (Farw.) Loconte & Blackwell
Giant Blue Cohosh
Other Common Names: giant blue cohosh
Synonym(s): Caulophyllum thalictroides var. giganteum Farw.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Caulophyllum giganteum (Farw.) Loconte & Blackwell (TSN 501338)
French Common Names: caulophylle géant
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.149049
Element Code: PDBER03020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Barberry Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Berberidaceae Caulophyllum
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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: Caulophyllum giganteum
Taxonomic Comments: Kartesz (1999) treats Caulophyllum giganteum as distinct from C. thalictroides (Loconte and Blackwell 1984).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Jul2015
Global Status Last Changed: 31Jan2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Caulophyllum giganteum ranges form Ontario and Quebec east to Vermont and south through Tennessee and North Carolina and is not particularly common anywhere in its range. This species has been newly designated a full species and was formerly considered a subspecies of Caulophyllum thalictroides, a heavily traded and relatively more common medicinal plant that is wild-harvested. Despite similar morphological characteristics, the two species have distinct ranges and phenology, which can help reduce confusion by collectors. However, potential future interest in C. giganteum for medicinal use should be monitored.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5 (03Dec2017)

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 Indiana (S1), Kentucky (SNR), Massachusetts (S2S3), Michigan (SNR), New Hampshire (SH), New York (S3S5), North Carolina (S1), Pennsylvania (S3S4), Tennessee (S1), Vermont (S3S5), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S4)
Canada Ontario (S5), Quebec (S3S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Caulophyllum giganteum ranges from Tennessee to North Carolina north to Ontario and Quebec and east to Vermont.

Population Size Comments: Caulophyllum giganteum was formerly considered a variety of C. thalictroides. Its elevation to full species level is relatively recent, so reported abundance throughout its range may be an underestimate due to different taxonomic treatments by botanists. Overall, it is probably less common than C. thalictroides, which covers a more southern range. However, inventories conducted in the next few years using the new treatment may provide additional and more precise abundance information for this species. This species is found only in eastern Michigan, and is considered occasional state-wide (Reznicek, pers. comm., December 2000). There is a new record for Ohio cited by Kartesz (1999) from Cooper et al. al 1999, in press). Not documented, but likely in Maine (pers. comm. D. Cameron October, 2000). Considered rare in mountain regions of North Carolina and Virginia and significantly rare in North Carolina (Weakley 2000). Considered rare in Tennessee.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Caulophyllum giganteum and C. thalictroides are quite similar, differing primarily in size (Flora of North America 1997) and C. giganteum could be confused and "cross-collected" with C. thalictroides where they overlap in range. This could pose a threat to the former due to relatively high demand for C. thalictroides in the herbal industry. Despite similar morphological characteristics, the two species have distinct ranges and phenology, which can help reduce confusion by collectors. Therefore, threats to wild populations due to demand for this industry will probably only incidentally affect C. giganteum if and when the two species are misidentified (pers. comm. E. Fletcher, December 2000; pers. comm. M. McGuffin, December 2000). Estimated average annual use in medicinal industry ranges from 4,000-5,000 dry pounds and 85% of that total is collected from wild populations (pers. comm. E. Fletcher, December 2000).

Habitat loss threatens the long-term viability of species such as this one that are adapted to rich hardwoods, a habitat type that is generally diminishing due to development pressures.

Short-term Trend Comments: Throughout its range, Caulophyllum giganteum is apparently relatively stable; no reports of major decline.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Caulophyllum giganteum ranges from Tennessee to North Carolina north to Ontario and Quebec and east to Vermont.

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 IN, KY, MA, MI, NC, NH, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV
Canada ON, QC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
IN Martin (18101), Steuben (18151)
MA Berkshire (25003), Franklin (25011)
NC Alleghany (37005), Ashe (37009), Graham (37075)
TN Cannon (47015), DeKalb (47041), Greene (47059), Overton (47133), Sumner (47165), Unicoi (47171), Washington (47179)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Deerfield (01080203)+, Housatonic (01100005)+
04 St. Joseph (04100003)+
05 Upper New (05050001)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Obey (05130105)+, Caney (05130108)+, Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Diagnostic Characteristics: Caulophyllum giganteum has the potential to be confused with C. thalictroides and the two are considered to be sympatric species (Loconte and Blackwell 1987). The distinguishing factors are phenology and plant size. C. giganteum tends to flower approximately two weeks earlier than C. thalictroides and the former is larger in size, but has fewer flowers that are typically purple, whereas the other has yellow flowers (Loconte and Blackwell 1984).
Ecology Comments: Caulophyllum giganteum is self-sterile and requires outcrossed pollen to reproduce by seed.
Habitat Comments: This understory species grows in a variety of habitats including mixed deciduous forest, open oak-hickory-dogwood forest, and sugar maple forest (Uttal 1985).
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 25Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Kelly McConnell
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): KELLY MCCONNELL

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
  • Cooperrider, T.S., A.W. Cusick, and J.T. Kartesz, eds. 1999 (in press). Seventh catalogue of the vascular plants of Ohio. Ohio State University Press.

  • Dore, W.G. 1964. Two kinds of Blue Cohosh. Ontario Naturalist 2: 5-9.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Haines, Arthur. 2016. Tracheophyte Checklist of New England, maintained by Arthur Haines. Version dated 11/8/16.

  • 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. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Loconte, H. and W.H. Blackwell, Jr. 1984. Berberidaceae of Ohio. Castanea 49(1):39-43.

  • Loconte, H., and W.H. Blackwell. 1981. A new species of Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum, Berberidaceae) in eastern North America. Phytologia 49: 483.

  • Loconte, H., and W.H. Blackwell. 1985. Intrageneric taxonomy of Caulophyllum (Berberidaceae). Rhodora 87: 463-469.

  • Uttal, L. J. 1985. Virginia's two kinds of blue cohosh. Jeffersonian 16(2):20-27.

  • Weakley, A.S. 2000. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of May 15, 2000. Unpublished draft, The Nature Conservancy, Southern Resource Office.

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