CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Hedyotis purpurea var. montana

Photographer:
Nora Murdock

Heading for profile page
CPC Home Join now
About CPC
CPC National Collection
Conservation Directory Resources
Invasive Plant Species Plant News
Plant Links Participating Institutions
Contribute
Search CPC
Search    Alphabetical List    Reference Finder    CPC Home


CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Hedyotis purpurea var. montana


Family: 
Rubiaceae  
Common Names: 
mountain bluet, Roan Mountain bluet
Author: 
(Small) Fosberg
Growth Habit: 
Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
2175

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


Profile Links
 ITIS
 Tropicos
 PLANTS
 Fish & WildLife
 Forest Service

Hedyotis purpurea var. montanaenlarge
Photographer: Nora Murdock


Hedyotis purpurea var. montana is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Michael Kunz contributed to this Plant Profile.
The initial writing of this profile was funded by the U.S. Forest Service

 
Hedyotis purpurea var. montana


Roan Mountain bluet is a rare endemic found on a few mountains in the Southern Appalachians. A member of the coffee family (Rubiaceae), Roan Mountain bluet produces heterostylus flowers (two different length styles). This species is a compact clump forming perennial herb and produces flat top clusters of one to four deep red-purple flowers from May to September. The flower color helps distinguish H. purpurea var. montana from the more common H. purpurea var. purpurea with flowers of blue-purple to white.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recognize Roan Mountain bluet as a restricted variety of Hedyotis purpurea. While its morphological distinctness is clear, the taxonomic position is disputed (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996). Roan Mountain bluet is also known as Houstonia montana. Noted by Asa Gray in 1841 as a dwarf form and described by J.K. Small in 1903 as Houstonia montana, taxonomic differences have ensued over the generic placement, altering between Hedyotis and Houstonia, and recognition at the varietal level or designation of full species rank. See Terrell (1959), Yelton (1974) and Terrell (1978) for more taxonomic information. The current opinion places Roan Mountain bluet as Houstonia montana (US Fish and Wildlife 1996, Weakley in preparation 2008).


Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  North Carolina
Tennessee
Virginia
State Range of  Hedyotis purpurea var. montana
Habitat
  Roan Mountain bluet grows at high elevation (above 4,200 ft) in the shallow soils and crevices of cliffs and outcrops and on thin rocky soils of grassy balds. This species is associated acidic soils and with Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) and red spruce (Picea rubens) forests. Roan Mountain bluet is typically found with five co-occurring species, Saxifraga michauxii, Athyrium filix-femina spp. asplenioides, Paronychia argycoma, Heuchera villosa and Carex misera, seventy-five percent of the time (US Fish and Wildlife 1996).

Distribution
  Roan Mountain bluet is found on scattered mountains along the NC and TN boarder.

Number Left
  Roan Mountain bluet is known from twelve populations with all but one subpopulation located in NC (Euliss et al. 2007).

Protection

Global Rank:  
G5T2
 
5/14/2004
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
4/5/1990
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
5/13/1996

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  NC S2 E 07/01/2006  
  TN S1 E  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Roan Mountain bluet may function on a metapopulation level, whereby several su-populations are linked by occasional gene flow. The dynamics of talus slopes are a key component in population status, which create areas of bare soil combined with frost heave events that bury and expose seed that eventually establish new clumps of individuals (US Fish and Wildlife 1996).

Roan Mountain bluet is a poor competitor for light and unlikely to grow with other vegetation taller than 50cm (Wiser et al. 1998).

The ability of Roan Mountain bluet to survive on grassy slopes is dependant on rapid early season growth, which also suggests the importance of genetic variation among populations (Euliss et al. 2007).

Threats
  Trampling by hiker and climbers.
Development.
Succession and other vegetation changes.
Possibly air pollution and exotic insects change the surrounding spruce-fir forests.

Current Research Summary
  Dalenia S. Medford, a graduate student at East Tennessee State University, completed a Masters Thesis on this species in August 2001. (Medford 2001) This study investigated population level variation in this and another rare species across a time span of 150 years. Euliss et al. studied the growth of Houstonia montana in contrasting habitats (2007). And Kelsey Glennon (George Washington University) is studying the genetic variation and potential hybridization of Roan Mountain bluet (2008).

Current Management Summary
  Survey suitable habitat for additional populations.
Protect populations on private land.
Reducing visitor access to sites to limit trampling.

Research Management Needs
  The red spruce forests controlled by the U.S. Forest Service are regularly sprayed with an insecticide, Lindane. A study is needed to determine if there are short-term and/or long-term effects of this practice on this species (Morgan 1980). There is also a continued need to limit visitor access to reduce trampling and protect the species habitat as well as a need to continue searching for additional populations. Detailed research on demographics, biotic and abiotic requirements, pollination biology, seed bank dynamics, metapopulation dynamics and the role of changing natural conditions in population viability should also be done.

Monitoring Efforts
  There are currently efforts to survey known populations on a regular basis and to establish formal monitoring protocol (but no commitments to date).

Ex Situ Needs
  Maintain and expand ex situ (whole plant and seed) holdings of Roan Mountain bluet, as well as understanding germination and propagation protocol for future research. There is also a need for public education to raise awareness of the species and reduce the negative recreational effects.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Chester, E.W.; Wofford, B.E.; Kral, R.; DeSelm, H.R.; Evans, A.M. 1993. Atlas of Tennessee vascular plants. Clarksville, Tennessee: Austin Peay State University.

Electronic Sources

NatureServe. (2002). Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project. 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 spe. [MS Access Database]. .. Accessed: 2002.

USFWS. (1990). Endangered and Threatened Species Accounts. [Web page] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Endangered Species. http://ecos.fws.gov/servlet/TESSSpeciesQuery. Accessed: 2002.

Weakley, A.S. (2008). Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, and surrounding areas.. [pdf]. http://herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm. Accessed: 2008.

Journal Articles

Euliss, A.C.; Fisk, C.F.; McCleneghan, S.C.; Neufeld, H.S. 2007. Growth of the rare southern Appalachian endemic plant Houstonia montana (Rubiaceae) in contrasting habitat types.. Journal of the Torrey botanical Society. 134, 2: 177-187.

Terrell, E. E. 1959. A revision of the Houstoniapurpurea group (Rubiaceae).. Rhodora. 61: 157-182, 188-207.

Terrell, E. E. 1978. Taxonomic notes on Houstoniapurpurea var. montana(Rubiaceae).. Castanea. 43: 25-29.

USFWS. 1989. Proposed Endangered Status for Geum radiatum and Hedyotis purpurea var. montana. Federal Register. 54, 139: 30572-30576.

USFWS. 1990. Determination of Endangered Status for Geum radiatum and Hedyotis purpurea var. montana. Federal Register. 55, 66: 12793-12797.

Wiser, S.K.; Peet, R.K.; White, P.S. 1998. Prediction of rare-plant occurrence: a Southern Appalachian example.. Ecological Applications. 8: 909-920.

Yelton, J.D. 1974. Houstonia montana, a species, not an ecological variety.. Castanea. 39: 149-155.

Reports

USFWS. 1996. Roan Mountain bluet (Hedyotis purpurea var. montana) recovery plan. Atlanta, GA: Southeast Region, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.46.

Theses

Medford, D. 2001. The Detection of Morphological Variation Across Time in Two Roan Mountain Endemics: Geum radiatum and Houstonia montana. [M.S. Thesis]: East Tennessee State University. Johnson City.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
California
Oregon
Washington
Idaho
Nevada
Arizona
Utah
Montana
Wyoming
Colorado
New Mexico
North Dakota
South Dakota
Nebraska
Kansas
Oklahoma
Texas
Minnesota
Iowa
Missouri
Arkansas
Louisiana
Wisconsin
Illinois
Michigan
Michigan
Indiana
Ohio
Kentucky
Tennessee
Mississippi
Alabama
Florida
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina
Virginia
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
Delaware
Maryland
New Jersey
Connecticut
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
Vermont
New Hampshire
Maine
New York
New York
Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii