Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Southeast Great Plains, in narrow band through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Missouri and Arkansas reports are erroneous, according to Kartesz (1/98). Kartesz is correct (K. McKeown, 9/99).
Comments: Rocky prairies and tall grass hay fields. Also occurs in prairie remnants along roadsides. Full sun.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Comments: Estimated present occurrences are fewer than historic. Species is difficult to find except on private lands (hay fields). Confidence in this estimate: high. Searched for EO's in the state of Oklahoma with aid of McGregor Herbarium location information: only 2 roadside populations found, each less than 50 individuals (EO rank C).
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This is a regional endemic of the southern Great Plains (Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas), under the general threat of Echinacea collecting. Difficult to find in the field except on private lands, where hay harvest often destroys seeds and seedlings. Its native habitat, the tall grass prairie, is much reduced from the historical range of the species. Status of reproductive ability in the wild is unknown.
Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Comments: Permanence of populations in private hayfields is not secure because of annual loss of seed/offspring with haying. Digging from public lands is a potential problem. Urbanization (road construction, development, conversion of prairie to pasture) may be other factors contributing to decline.
Comments: Human actual threat: all wild plants in the genus Echinacea are subject to wild harvesting for commercial sale. E. atrorubens root tends to be larger than that of other species of the genus and is therefore more valuable to diggers. One commercial source has confided that wild harvesting of this species does occur (K. McKeown, pers. obs.). Annual loss of seeds and offspring occurs in private hayfields. Human potential threat: urbanization leading to loss of habitat, and continued wild harvesting.
Biological Research Needs: Reproductive biology, ecology.
Echinacea atrorubens - Topeka Purple Coneflower is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from 50 to 90 cm tall from elongate-turbinate roots that are sometimes branched. The stems and foliage are usually hairy with appressed to ascending hairs 1.2 mm long (strigose), rarely some plants are glabrous. Stems light green or tan mottled in color. The basal leaves have petioles 0–12(–20) cm long and leaf blades typically 3 or 5-nerved, usually linear or lanceolate, rarely ovate, 5–30 cm long and 0.5–3 cm wide, the margins are normally entire. The flowering stems or peduncles are 20–50 cm long ending with one flower head typically. The flowering "cones" with paleae 9–15 mm long, with the ends red to orange-tipped, usually straight, and prickly-pointed. Ray flower corollas purple colored or rarely pink or white. Discs or cones are ovoid to conic in shape and 25–35 wide and 20–40 mm tall. Disc corollas 4.5–5.5 mm long with lobes greenish to pink or purple. Seed cypselae tan in color and 4–5 mm long with faces finely tuberculate, glabrous. This species has 11 chromosomes.
Flowering occurs in late spring. Native to Kansas, Oklahoma and parts of Texas were it is found growing in dry soils around limestone or sandstone outcroppings and prairies.
Synonyms: Rudbeckia atrorubens Nuttall, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 7: 80. 1834
- Echinacea atrorubens in Flora of North America @ efloras.org
- Distribution Map of Echinacea atrorubens
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Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Described in monograph by R. L. McGregor, 1968; generally accepted (e.g., Kartesz, 1994 and 1999).
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