Comments: There is some collecting in Missouri from roadsides for use in home landscaping, but no medicinal collecting (Tim Smith pers. comm.). It may be collected for use in prairie restoration, and for ornamental use (Mike Penskar pers. comm.). It is used ornamentally in gardens (Niering 1979). At least one wild population in Illinois has been damaged by direct collecting of whole plants. In other cases, where cultivated varieties don't represent local genotypes, there is a threat that genetic contamination of the wild populations is occurring, as the wild and cultivated populations intermix.
An individual familiar with the herbal medicinal commercial markets in the U.S. estimates that this plant receives minor to moderate usage which is not increasing, and states that the plant is not cultivated. It is the roots that are collected (McGuffin pers. comm.).
A. tuberosa may be poisonous to livestock (Great Plains Flora Association 1986). Though there are no known reports to this effect, it is possible that farmers andranchers try to diminish this species when it occurs on their land.
Many of the habitats reported for A. tuberosa are open or semi-open communities (prairies, fields, open woodlands, dry woods, savannas, barrens, shrublands, etc.). In recent years there has been an increasing awareness of the role of fires in maintaining such communities, and in the increasingly poor condition of these communities after decades of lowered fire frequency. In the Great Lakes region, for example, many oak-dominated barrens on sandy soils have reverted to structurally forested or thickety habitats in the absence of fire, and this is detrimental to A. tuberosa. Furthermore, many native prairie relicts within the range of A. tuberosa are legally protected but are suffering from lack of adequate management attention. In such cases the survival of A. tuberosa is probably not certain (though some regional floras describe A. tuberosa as somewhat weedy, and thus possibly tolerant of natural community deterioration, others do not (Swink and Wilhelm 1994)).
In Nebraska, this species is threatened by cattle grazing, annual midsummer haying, pesticide application, plowing of prairie, and exotic plant invasions (Gerry Steinauer pers. comm.). In Ontario, it is reportedly threatened by loss of prairie and savanna habitats due to lack of fire, invasions by exotics, overgrazing by deer, and conversion of habitat for agricultural uses (Mike Oldham pers. comm.). The primary threats in Kansas are from urban and agricultural developments, and overgrazing (Craig Freeman pers. comm.).
This species is included on the United Plant Savers "To Watch List" (United Plant Savers 2000).