Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Endemic to the Florida Keys, where extant on Big Pine Key (25.3 sq. km), and known historically from No Name Key, ramrod Key, and Cudjoe Key, all in Monroe County, Florida.
Flowers showy, 2 cm or more in diameter; leaflets 4-7 pairs; prostrate to ascending pilosulous perennial; Florida keys only.
Catalog Number: US 1582596
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): F. W. Pennell
Year Collected: 1917
Locality: Monroe, Big Pine Key, Florida, United States, North America
- Isotype: Pennell, F. W. 1917. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 44: 344.
Comments: In shallow soil overlying the coral base of the Keys, in open pine rocklands.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Comments: 2006: Populations extant on 3 keys. The majority of the EO's are on Big Pine Key but there are also 2 EO's outside Big Pine (U06IRC01FLUS, U06IRC02FLUS). Currently known from one island in the Florida Keys (Big Pine Key), where the species is found in undeveloped habitat in most of this area (USFWS, 2004).
Life History and Behavior
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: T2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to the Florida Keys, where currently known only from Big Pine Key in Monroe County, Florida. Threatened by habitat alteration, altered fire regime, development and non-native plants. The habitat of Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis is very uncommon; these plants occur only on the edges of rockland hammocks and pinelands in the pine rocklands. Given its narrow habitat range, and the small number of individuals that occur, Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis is vulnerable to extinction if these threats continue.
Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Comments: Pine rockland endemic. Very little pine rockland habitat remains in the Florida Keys or elsewhere.
Lead Region: Southeast Region (Region 4)
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Chamaecrista lineata keyensis, see its USFWS Species Profile
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: The acreage of pine rocklands on Big Pine Key was reduced from 1,049 ha (2,592 ac) in 1955 to 701 ha (1,732 ac) in 1989 (Folk 1991). This has resulted in a loss of approximately 33 percent of habitat (Halupa 2002). Based on the number of people moving to Florida, pressures from development are not expected to diminish in the years to come, especially throughout the range of Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis (Halupa 2002). However, most of current range is protected.
Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Comments: The species was known historically from four of the Florida Keys, but is currently known extant only on Big Pine Key (USFWS, 2004), a very significant range contraction. Plants on Big Pine Key are nominally protected within the National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge, but recieve no species-specific management. Long-term fire suppression, alteration of the fire regime, development pressures (<10% of the population not in the NWR), and sea-level rise could contribute to a decline. The magnitude of the predicted decline is unknown.
Degree of Threat: Very high - medium
Comments: Alteration of the fire regime is the single most important current threat (Liu, pers. comm). In the past, rampant development destroyed most of the available habitat in the Keys and fire suppression altered what was left. Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis is shade intolerant and requires periodic burning during the late summer (Liu, pers. comm.) to reduce competition from woody vegetation (Halupa 2002). Current fire management burns only in early summer/late winter as prescribed for management of Federally Endangered Key Deer. Non-native plants also threaten Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis (Halupa 2002). Invasive non-native species include Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis), natal grass (Rhynchelytrum repens), shrub verbena (Lantana camara), and tongue tree (Albezia lebbeck) (Halupa 2002). Some of these species are known to affect fire return interval because of their extreme flamibility. Based on the extremely narrow range, catastrophic events such as hurricanes and tropical storms may negatively affect Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis; either event could extirpate remaining populations, or possibly cause the extinction of the species (Halupa 2002).
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Synonym Cassia keyensis. Distinct, a variety of one of many species in this genus. Closely related to C. grammica of the Antilles.
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