CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Buckleya distichophylla

Photographer:
Tom Ward

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Buckleya distichophylla


Family: 
Santalaceae  
Common Name: 
piratebush
Author: 
(Nutt.) Torr.
Growth Habit: 
Shrub
CPC Number: 
642

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Buckleya distichophyllaenlarge
Photographer: Tom Ward
tomward[at]arnarb.harvard.edu


Buckleya distichophylla is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Irina Kadis contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Buckleya distichophylla


The American Buckleya, a rare shrub of the Santalaceae family, has a very limited distribution (Sutter et al. 1987). Trees and herbs in this family are usually found in the tropics and are often parasitic or semi-parasitic (Harper 1947). Buckleya distichophylla has dioecious flowers and is semi-parasitic on hemlock roots (Musselman 1982). In addition to the American buckleya, a few more Buckleya species exist in China and Japan.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  North Carolina
Tennessee
Virginia
State Range of  Buckleya distichophylla
Habitat
  B. distichophylla inhabits mountain woods at river banks (low elevations). Locations with periodic wildfires appear to have the healthiest populations of this species (VANHP 2000).

Distribution
  Found only at a few locations in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia (Howard 1977, Mowbray 1985, Ramakrishnan 1999).
Eastern Tennessee: the type locality at Paint Rock (near North Carolina line); two more findings in the same area, down the French Broad River, along its left bank.
North Carolina: along the Pigeon River, Haywood Co.;
Virginia: Bland Co.;
along the line between Roanoke and Craig Co. (C. C. Wood 1959)(Wood 1965);
east of US Highway 11, in Salem (T. G. Scott, Jr.)

Number Left
  Current populations are unknown.

Protection

Global Rank:  
G3
 
2/6/2006
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
SC
 
1/19/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  North Carolina ? E 12/5/2001  
  Tennessee S2 T 4/1/2001  
  Virginia S2 E 3/1/2001  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  B. distichophylla has been long known to be semi-parasitic on hemlock roots. In Biltmore Herbarium, there exist specimens (collected as long ago as 1897) that demonstrate the haustorial connection with Tsuga canadensis. Since the ranges of B. distichophylla and Tsuga caroliniana overlap, Buckleya is assumed to live on Carolina hemlock, too. Indeed, some botanists consider the Carolina hemlock to be the original host plant.

During the 80's, Buckleya was reported to also have association with a number of pines, broad-leaf trees, forbs, grasses, and ferns. It is not known precisely at what stage of development, for how long, and to what degree Buckleya is dependent on its host plant.

The Japanese botanist S. Kusano provided information on Buckleya hosts as early as 1902. According to Kusano, the haustorial connections had been found with species of Cryptomeria, Abies, and Chamaecyparis, as well as 9 genera of dicotyledonous trees and shrubs. He was also able to establish Pinus and Torreya species as Buckleya host plants during his experiments.

Seedlings grown in 1962 in the Arnold Arboretum flourished in their containers without Tsuga or any other host plant. More than 30 were planted in 1963 on Hemlock Hill, in the natural hemlock grove on the grounds, but all perished by the next year.

Threats
  Urban development
Road construction
Over-collection
Lack of frequent fire causing habitat succession
Bankline erosion
Falling limbs from the upper canopy

Current Research Summary
  B. distichophylla was reported to also have an association with a number of pines, broad-leaf trees, forbs, grasses, and ferns. It is not known precisely at what stage of development, for how long, and to what degree this species is dependent on its host plant (Musselman and Mann 1979, Mowbray 1985).

Current Management Summary
  An intensive monitoring and inventory project at Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve includes permanent sampling plots for Buckleya distichophylla. One intended outcome of the project is to delineate management units for future stewardship efforts. (VANHP 2000)

Research Management Needs
  A management plan needs to be designed and implemented. Further research in B. distichophylla's parasitic biology and how it relates to the plant's various life stages. Fire ecology may play an important role in population stability and need to be investigated (Mowbray 1985). Identifying and monitoring populations would be useful in devising a protection plan.

Ex Situ Needs
  Vegetative propagation: Sargent (1890) reported no success; Fordham (Arnold Arboretum) managed to obtain rooted cuttings by treating them with Amchem (5,000 ppm).

Seed propagation: Fordham (Arnold Arboretum) successfully grew seedlings from seeds (over 50% germination after 2 or 3 months of cold stratification at 40F; no germination if started immediately).

References

Books (Single Authors)

Gleason, H.A. 1952. The New Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York, NY: Hafner Press. 1732p.

Gleason, H.A.; Cronquist, A. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Bronx: The New York Botanical Garden.

Gray, A.; Fernald, M.L. 1987. Gray's manual of botany: a handbook of the flowering plants and ferns of the central and northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Portland, Or.: Dioscorides Press. 1632p.

Radford, A.E.; Ahles, H.E.; Bell, C.R. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 1183p.

Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. New York, NY: Hafner Publishing Company. 1505p.

Weakley, A.S. 2002. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia, Working Draft. Unpublished--available on-line.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Conference Proceedings

Jianhua, L.; Bouffourd, D.E.; Donoghue, M.J. Phylogenetics of Buckleya (Santalaceae) based on ITS sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA--Abstract. Botany 2000!; 6-10 August, 2000; Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR. 2000.

Electronic Sources

(2002). Parasitic Plant Connection - Santalaceae. [Web site] Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. http://www.science.siu.edu/parasitic-plants/Santalaceae/. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Carvell, W.N.; Eshbaugh, W.H. 1982. A systematic study of the genus buckleya santalaceae. Castanea. 47, 1: 17-37.

Harper, R.M. 1947. Preliminary List of Southern Appalachian Endemics. Castanea. 12, 3: 107.

Howard, R.A. 1977. Buckleya--The Oldest Cultivated Plant in the The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Arnoldia. 37, 3: 151-155.

Li J.; Boufford, D.E.; Donoghue, M.J. 2001. Phylogenetics of Buckleya (Santalaceae) based on its sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA. Rhodora. 103, 914: 137-150.

Musselman, L.J. 1982. The Santalaceae of Virginia. Castanea. 47, 3: 276-283.

Musselman, L.J.; Mann, W.F., Jr. 1979. Notes on seed germination and parasitism of seedlings of Buckleya distichophylla (Santalaceae). Castanea. 44: 108-113.

Nickrent, D.L.; Franchina, C.R. 1990. Phylogenetic relationships of the Santalales and relatives. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 31: 294-301.

Nuttley, T. 1818. The Genera of North American Plants. 2: 232.

Piehl, M.A. 1965. Abstract: Observations on the Parasitic Behavior of Buckleya distichophylla (Santalaceae). American Journal of Botany. 52: 626.

Torrey. 1843. American Journal of Science, and Arts. 45, 1: 170.

Reports

Mowbray, T.B. 1985. Final status report on Buckleya distichophylla. Asheville, NC: Report submitted to U.S. Department of the Interior, Endangered Species Office.

Sutter, R.D.; Frantz, V.; McCarthy, K.A. 1987. Atlas of rare and endangered plant species in North Carolina. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Dept. Agriculture, Plant Protection Section, Conservation Program. p.174.

VANHP. 2000. Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve. Roanoke County, Virginia: Virginia Natural Heritage E-News. Department of Conservation and Recreation. p.1.

Theses

Naisbitt, Gary Hunter. 1987. Studies of Pyrularia thionin and Purification of Peptides from Pumpkin and Buckleya. [Ph.D. Thesis]: Brigham Young University. 116p.

Ramakrishnan, Sapna. 1997. Conservation studies on the hemi-parasite Buckleya distichophylla (Nutt.) Torr. (Santalaceae) at the George Landis Arboretum. [M.A. Thesis]: Boston University. 92p.


  This profile was updated on 9/28/2010
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