Overview

Comprehensive Description

Chamaedaphne calyculata (L.) Moench

Distribution

Pine savannas.

Notes

Mar–Apr ; Jun–Oct . Not seen in Shaken Creek Preserve by the senior author. Specimens seen in the vicinity: Holly Shelter: Fox 158 (NCSC!); Sandy Run [Hancock]: Taggart SARU 15 (WNC!). [= Cassandra calyculata (L.) D. Don sensu RAB; = FNA, Weakley]

  • Thornhill, Robert, Krings, Alexander, Lindbo, David, Stucky, Jon (2014): Guide to the Vascular Flora of the Savannas and Flatwoods of Shaken Creek Preserve and Vicinity (Pender & Onslow Counties, North Carolina, U. S. A.). Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1099: 1099-1099, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1099
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Plazi

Source: Plazi.org

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Description

General: Heath family (Ericaceae). Native perennial, evergreen shrubs 0.3-1.5 meters tall, the stems covered with tiny brownish scales. Leaves are alternate, oblong to elliptic, 1.5-5 cm long, finely toothed, the lower surface covered with tiny brownish scales, becoming smaller and positioned to the upper side of the stem towards the branch tips. The flowers are white, urn-shaped, 6-7 mm long, hanging and arising from one side of the terminal inflorescence, solitary in the axils of the small leaves. Fruits are depressed-globose, woody, gray-brown capsules, persisting through the winter. Common name is in reference to the tough, evergreen leaf.

Variation within the species: several varieties have been recognized within leatherleaf in North America, based primarily on differences in leaf size and shape (see Fernald 1950). These taxa are currently regarded as within the limits of continuous variation of the species and are not formally recognized.

Distribution: Circumboreal; northern North America from Alaska and Yukon and all of Canada (except Franklin) to the easternmost provinces, in the US in the Great Lake states and the Northeast, disjunct and rare in Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

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USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Leatherleaf is circumboreal and is found throughout Alaska and Canada
[36]. Its distribution extends southward through the Lake States and
the northeastern United States [25,70].
  • 25. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 36. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 70. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]

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Occurrence in North America

AK CT IL IN IA ME MA MI MN NH
NJ NY NC ND OH RI VT WI AB BC
MB NB NF NT NS ON PE PQ SK YT

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Adaptation

Leatherleaf occurs in practically all boreal bogs as well as in swamps, lake and stream margins, sedge fens and meadows, black spruce muskegs, and vernal ponds and shrub swamps in pine barrens, usually growing on wet, strongly acidic sphagnum mats over water. It may form thickets as a dominant species in shrub associations in some bogs. It is found at elevations up to 1600 meters. Flowering: April-June from buds formed the previous season; fruiting: June-January.

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USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: rhizome, shrub

Leatherleaf is a native evergreen shrub that grows up to 4.9 feet (1.5
m) tall [25,43]. Its woody rhizome extends down an average of 12.6
inches (32 cm) into organic matter [27]. Leatherleaf has many branches
and forms dense thickets of up to 18.6 stems per square foot (200
stems/sq m) [10,33]. Average basal diameter of leatherleaf stems is
0.27 inch (0.68 cm) [21]. The one-sided racemes have 1 to 15 or more
flowers that form persistent, many-seeded capsules [10,43,65].
  • 25. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 10. Chapman, William K.; Bessette, Alan E. 1990. Trees and shrubs of the Adirondacks. Utica, NY: North Country Books, Inc. 131 p. [12766]
  • 21. Ehrenfeld, Joan G. 1986. Wetlands of the New Jersey Pine Barrens: the role of species composition in community function. American Midland Naturalist. 115(2): 301-313. [8650]
  • 27. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Pringle, Joan K. 1983. Heat tolerance of rhizomes of several understory species. Canadian Journal of Botany. 61: 452-457. [8444]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]
  • 43. Jones, R. Keith; Pierpoint, Geoffrey; Wickware, Gregory M.; [and others]
  • 65. Reader, R. J. 1977. Bog ericad flowers: self-compatibility and relative attractiveness to bees. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55(17): 2279-2287. [10089]

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Description

Shrubs erect, 0.3–1.5 m tall. Twigs fulvous, densely lepidote and pubescent. Leaf blade oblong or elliptic-oblong, 3–4 × 1–1.5 cm, both surfaces with brownish scales, especially abaxially, base cuneate to obtuse, margin entire or inconspicuously denticulate, apex obtuse, mucronulate; upper leaves gradually smaller. Racemes 4–12 cm. Pedicel ca. 2 mm, densely pubescent; bracteoles apical. Petiole 1.5–2.5 mm. Flowers pendent. Calyx lobes ovate, 1.5–3 mm, pubescent and lepidote. Corolla white, tubular-urceolate, 5–6 mm; lobes recurved, ovate. Filaments glabrous. Capsule depressed-globose, 3–4 mm in diam. Fl. Jun, fr. Jul. 2n = 22.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: bog, minerotrophic, peat

Leatherleaf is a true bog species and is found in practically all boreal
bogs [18]. It occurs in lowland sites, treed or treeless bogs,
peatlands, sedge fens and meadows, black spruce muskegs, and kettle pond
edges [2,19,55,59]. It is found at elevations up to 5,300 feet (1,615
m) [47].

Sites are often poorly drained or have standing water [48,63].
Leatherleaf is acid tolerant and usually occurs where the pH is less
than 5; it needs acidic conditions to become dominant [11,38,66]. It
commonly occurs in drier areas on sedge mats that may be floating or in
wet peat that is up to 43 feet (13 m) thick [12,16,38,55,83].
Leatherleaf is found on very moist ombrotrophic or minerotrophic sites
with low nutrients [3,4,7]. It occurs on substrates such as thin till
overlain with sandy loam or fine loamy clays with varying depths of
humus, or on entirely organic substrates [7,30,43]. Permafrost is often
discontinuous and can be shallow where leatherleaf grows [6,8,58].

Leatherleaf is found in maritime to continental climates with extreme
seasonal variations in temperature [8,34]. Leatherleaf grows poorly on
exposed sites with severe winters [16,33].
  • 3. Boelter, Don H.; Verry, Elon S. 1977. Peatland and water in the northern Lake States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-31. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agrciculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 22 p. [8168]
  • 2. Argus, George W. 1966. Botanical investigations in northeastern Saskatchewan: the subarctic Patterson-Hasbala Lakes region. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 80(3): 119-143. [8406]
  • 4. Brand, Gary J. 1985. Environmental indices for common Michigan trees and shrubs. Res. Pap. NC-261. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northcentral Forest Experiment Station. 5 p. [14465]
  • 6. Brown, K. R.; Zobel, D. B.; Zasada, J. C. 1988. Seed dispersal, seedling emegence, and early survival of Larix laricina (DuRoi) K. Koch in the Tanana Valley, Alaska. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 18: 306-314. [7220]
  • 7. Brumelis, G.; Carleton, T. J. 1989. The vegetation of post-logged black spruce lowlands in central Canada. II. Understory vegetation. Journal of Applied Ecology. 26: 321-339. [7864]
  • 8. Calmes, Mary A. 1976. Vegetation pattern of bottomland bogs in the Fairbanks area, Alaska. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska. 104 p. Thesis. [14785]
  • 11. Conway, Verona M. 1949. The bogs of central Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 19(2): 173-206. [16686]
  • 12. Cooper, William S. 1913. The climax forest of Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and its development. III. Botanical Gazette. 55(3): 189-235. [11539]
  • 16. Damman, Antoni W. H.; French, Thomas W. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: a community profile. Biological Report 85(7.16). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development, National Wetlands Research Center. 100 p. [9238]
  • 18. Dansereau, Pierre; Segadas-Vianna, Fernando. 1952. Ecological study of the peat bogs of eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Botany. 30(5): 490-520. [8869]
  • 19. Drury, William H., Jr. 1956. Bog flats and physiographic processes in the Upper Kuskokwim River region, Alaska. Contributions from the Gray Herbarium No. 178. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, The Gray Herbarium. 127 p. [12996]
  • 30. Ford, Mary S. (Jesse). 1990. A 10,000-yr history of natural ecosystem acidification. Ecological Monographs. 60(1): 57-89. [11411]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]
  • 34. Glaser, Paul H. 1992. Raised bogs in eastern North America--regional controls for species richness and floristic assemblages. Journal of Ecology. 80(3): 535-554. [18425]
  • 38. Heinselman, M. L. 1970. Landscape evolution, peatland types and the environment in the Lake Agassiz Peatlands Natural Area, Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 40(2): 235-261. [8378]
  • 43. Jones, R. Keith; Pierpoint, Geoffrey; Wickware, Gregory M.; [and others]
  • 47. Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p. [19376]
  • 48. Kurmis, Vilis; Webb, Sara L.; Merriam, Lawrence C., Jr. 1986. Plant communities of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Botany. 64: 531-540. [16088]
  • 55. Laderman, Aimlee D.; Golet, Francis C.; Sorrie, Bruce A.; Woolsey, Henry L. 1987. Atlantic white cedar in the glaciated Northeast. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 58. Maikawa, E.; Kershaw, K. A. 1976. Studies on lichen-dominated systems. XIX. The postfire recovery sequence of black spruce-lichen woodland in the Abitau Lake region, N.W.T. Canadian Journal of Botany. 54: 2679-2687. [7225]
  • 59. Maini, J. S. 1966. Pytoecological study of sylvotundra at Small Tree Lake, N.W.T. Arctic. 19: 220-243. [8259]
  • 63. Pearce, C. M.; McLennan, D.; Cordes, L. D. 1988. The evolution and maintenance of white spruce woodlands on the Mackenzie Delta, N. W. T., Canada. Holarctic Ecology. 11(4): 248-258. [10472]
  • 66. Santelmann, Mary V. 1991. Influences on the distribution of Carex exilis: an experimental approach. Ecology. 72(6): 2025-2037. [17244]
  • 83. Zoltai, S. C.; Tarnocai, C. 1971. Properties of a wooded palsa in northern Manitoba. Arctic and Alpine Research. 3(2): 115-129. [9778]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: bog, peat, peatland, shrub, shrubs

Leatherleaf is a dominant shrub in seral dwarf-shrub wetland communities
[15,16,48]. Leatherleaf occurs in pure stands on floating mats and in
mixed stands that are grounded [33]. Leatherleaf associations are the
most extensive communities in the bogs of the Lake States. Several
subtypes of leatherleaf associations have been described for New England
peatlands [20]. Sphagnum-leatherleaf community types have been
described for this region and Canada [17]. Leatherleaf is usually
present in the tall-shrub community types of bogs or heathlands [20,76].
In central and northern Canada, leatherleaf has been included in various
open black spruce (Picea mariana) vegetation types [17,43,49,73].

Leatherleaf is named as a dominant or indicator species in the following
classifications:

(1) Ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States:
A community profile [16]
(2) Community classification of the vascular vegetation of a New
Hampshire peatland [20]
(3) Plant communities of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. [48].

Species associated with leatherleaf that are not mentioned above are
codominant shrubs such as bog kalmia (Kalmia polifolia), sheep laurel
(K. angustifolia), bog labrador tea (Ledum groenlandica), blueleaf
bog-rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla), bog cranberry (Vaccinium
oxycoccos), and sweet gale (Myrica gale) [20,48,55,73,76]. Other
species occurring with leatherleaf are roundleaf sundew (Drosera
rotundifolia), pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea), and sedges (Carex
spp.) [16,17,39,48].
  • 15. Cronan, Christopher S.; DesMeules, Marc R. 1985. A comparison of vegetative cover and tree community structure in three forested Adirondack watersheds. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 15: 881-889. [7296]
  • 16. Damman, Antoni W. H.; French, Thomas W. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: a community profile. Biological Report 85(7.16). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development, National Wetlands Research Center. 100 p. [9238]
  • 17. Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ. Montreal. 147 p. [8925]
  • 20. Dunlop, D. A. 1987. Community classification of the vascular vegetation of a New Hampshire peatland. Rhodora. 89(860): 415-440. [20275]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]
  • 39. Hogg, Edward H.; Wein, Ross W. 1988. The contribution of Typha components to floating mat buoyancy. Ecology. 69(4): 1025-1031. [18405]
  • 43. Jones, R. Keith; Pierpoint, Geoffrey; Wickware, Gregory M.; [and others]
  • 48. Kurmis, Vilis; Webb, Sara L.; Merriam, Lawrence C., Jr. 1986. Plant communities of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Botany. 64: 531-540. [16088]
  • 49. Larsen, James A. 1971. Vegetational relationships with air mass frequencies: boreal forest and tundra. Arctic. 24: 177-194. [8258]
  • 55. Laderman, Aimlee D.; Golet, Francis C.; Sorrie, Bruce A.; Woolsey, Henry L. 1987. Atlantic white cedar in the glaciated Northeast. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 73. Stallard, Harvey. 1929. Secondary succession in the climax forest formations of northern Minnesota. Ecology. 10(4): 476-547. [3808]
  • 76. Strang, R. M. 1971. The ecology of the rocky heathlands of western Nova Scotia. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1970 August 20-21; Fredericton, NB. No. 10. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 287-292. [5466]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: bog

K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
K094 Conifer bog
K095 Great Lakes pine forest
K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest
K106 Northern hardwoods
K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest
K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest
K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES11 Spruce - fir
FRES19 Aspen - birch

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

1 Jack pine
5 Balsam fir
12 Black spruce
13 Black spruce - tamarack
19 Gray birch - red maple
21 Eastern white pine
37 Northern white-cedar
38 Tamarack
45 Pitch pine
97 Atlantic white-cedar
107 White spruce

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Habitat & Distribution

Coniferous forests, mossy moors; low elevations. Heilongjiang, Jilin, Nei Mongol [N Japan, Mongolia, Russia (Siberia); NE Europe, North America].
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Dispersal

Establishment

Leatherleaf reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes. Seed set is usually high (50-95%) when the flowers are open-pollinated but low (1-15%) when flowers are self-fertilized. After cold stratification to break dormancy, the seeds germinate on sphagnum or sedge mats. Moist sphagnum surrounding leatherleaf shoots, roots, and rhizomes causes vigorous vegetative growth.

Leatherleaf is the first shrub to enter a bog after sphagnum is established and it is a primary species in extending the bog mat. It remains characteristic of the mature and late stages of moss/low ericaceous shrub communities as open water disappears and may remain dominant for 50 years in some communities. Leatherleaf is shade intolerant and begins to thin as tall shrubs or bog forest species such as tamarack (Larix laricina) and/or black spruce (Picea mariana) establish.

Persistence of leatherleaf in bogs over long periods has been attributed to its regeneration following recurrent fire, which is a primary factor in maintaining early successional stages in these communities. Leatherleaf may show a strong increase in stem density following spring burning and may be only slightly injured by summer or autumn fires. Leatherleaf probably survives severe fires because rhizomes are deep in water-saturated substrates and its root crowns and stems are matted in debris.

Division is the most successful method of propagation for leatherleaf. Plants may be divided in early fall, planting each rooted clump as a new shrub. Transplanting in summer or autumn stimulated shoot production more than spring transplanting. The ends of shoots also may be bent down to the soil and layered. Young plants should be partially shaded.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Leatherleaf in Illinois

Chamaedaphne calyculata (Leatherleaf)
(bees suck nectar primarily, while flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; the flowers are pollinated primarily by bees; observations are from Small and Reader)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq (Rd); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus spp. sn fq (Rd), Bombus affinis (Rd), Bombus bimaculatus fq (Rd), Bombus impatiens (Sm, Rd), Bombus perplexus fq (Rd), Bombus sandersoni (Sm), Bombus ternarius (Sm, Rd), Bombus terricola fq (Rd)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella sp. (Rd), Lasioglossum sp. cp fq (Rd); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis sn fq (Sm, Rd); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena spp. sn cp fq (Rd), Andrena bradleyi sn fq (Sm), Andrena carlini sn fq (Sm), Andrena mandibularis sn (Sm), Andrena regularis sn (Sm), Andrena vicina sn fq (Sm, Rd)

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis sp. (Rd), Helophilus fasciatus (Sm), Melanostoma sp. (Sm), Sphaerophoria sp. (Sm), Volucella sp. (Rd); Bombyliidae: Bombylius sp. (Rd); Muscidae: Unidentified sp. (Rd), Spilogona fatima fq (Sm)

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: fuel, fuel loading, shrub

Leatherleaf is a flammable shrub; crowning or foliage scorch is common
with leatherleaf in the understory in the pine swamps or lowlands of New
Jersey [52]. Fuel loading that was predominantly leatherleaf and bog
labrador tea in cutover areas of black spruce was estimated at 15 to 25
tons per acre (33-56 t/ha) in the Blackduck Burns, Minnesota [40].
  • 40. Humrickhouse, A. Bruce. 1986. Aerial ignition for prescribed burning in Minnesota. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 138-145. [16281]
  • 52. Little, S. 1964. Fire ecology and forest management in the New Jersey pine region. In: Proceedings, 3rd annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1964 April 9-10; Tallahassee, FL. No. 3. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 35-59. [5893]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: density, frequency

Leatherleaf was only slightly injured by summer or autumn fires in New
Brunswick. Following spring burning, leatherleaf showed a strong
increase in stem density; apparently, it had not yet depleted its
reserves and was able to support new growth. Preburn and postburn
percent relative abundance (stem density) after spring, summer, and
autumn fires was as follows [26,29]:

Season of Postburn
burn Preburn 1 month 3 months 5 months
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Spring 28 42 13 --
Summer 30 29 29 17
Autumn 36 32 -- --

Ten years after a lightning fire in Alaska, leatherleaf was present in
low amounts on disturbed firelines and in one burned site [80]. It was
present at 0.7 percent frequency in burned and at 2 percent frequency in
unburned areas 20 to 24 years following fire in the Northwest
Territories [45]. In northern Quebec, leatherleaf occurred 30 years
after fire at 21 to 31 percent frequency in lowland boreal black spruce
forest and at 1 to 20 percent in forest-tundra sites [72]. Leatherleaf
had about 40 percent frequency 94 years following a high-severity fire
in central New York [50].
  • 26. Flinn, Marguerite Adele. 1980. Heat penetration and early postfire regeneration of some understory species in the Acadian forest. Halifax, NB: University of New Brunswick. 87 p. Thesis. [9876]
  • 29. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Wein, Ross W. 1988. Regrowth of forest understory species following seasonal burning. Canadian Journal of Botany. 66: 150-155. [3014]
  • 45. Kelsall, John P. 1957. Continued barren-ground caribou studies. Wildlife Management Bulletin Series 1: No. 12. Ottawa, Canada: Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, National Parks Branch, Canadian Wildlife Service. 148 p. [16597]
  • 50. LeBlanc, Cheryl M.; Leopold, Donald J. 1992. Demography and age structure of a central New York shrub-carr 94 years after fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 119(1): 50-64. [18208]
  • 72. Sirois, Luc; Payette, Serge. 1989. Postfire black spruce establishment in subarctic and boreal Quebec. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 19: 1571-1580. [10110]
  • 80. Viereck, Leslie A. 1982. Effects of fire and firelines on active layer thickness and soil temperatures in interior Alaska. In: Proceedings, 4th Canadian permafrost conference; 1981 March 2-6; Calgary, AB. The Roger J.E. Brown Memorial Volume. Ottawa, ON: National Research Council of Canada: 123-135. [7303]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Fire top-kills leatherleaf. Leatherleaf probably survives severe fires
because rhizomes are deep in water-saturated substrates and its stems
are matted in debris [28,33]. Surviving root crowns and rhizomes
sprout.
  • 28. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Wein, Ross W. 1977. Depth of underground plant organs and theoretical survival during fire. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55: 2550-2554. [6362]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: rhizome, root crown, secondary colonizer, shrub

Rhizomatous low woody plant, rhizome in organic mantle
Surface rhizome/chamaephytic root crown
Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: bog, peat, succession, tree

Leatherleaf's persistence in communities over long periods of time has
been attributed to its regeneration following fire [17]. Its rhizomes
are buried deep in the mineral soil and survive all but the most severe
fires [26]. Depth of rhizomes and season of fire affect leatherleaf
shoot growth and recovery. Leatherleaf rhizomes were collected in
spring, summer, and autumn and subjected to wet heat treatments from 113
to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (45-60 deg C). All autumn-collected rhizomes
died after treatment. Summer-collected rhizomes produced fewer shoots
than spring-collected; both had significantly (p less than 0.05) fewer shoots than
the controls [27].

Bogs are usually too wet to burn except during drought [56]. Fire is a
primary factor disrupting boreal treed bog succession; leatherleaf
invades after fires remove the tree associations [9,22,28,33].
Recurrent fires at approximately 50-year intervals in New England
leatherleaf bogs or on peat surfaces controls tree invasion [53]. Fire
recurrence in a New Brunswick bog was 370 years [28].
  • 17. Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ. Montreal. 147 p. [8925]
  • 22. Elliott-Fisk, Deborah L. 1988. The boreal forest. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 33-62. [13878]
  • 26. Flinn, Marguerite Adele. 1980. Heat penetration and early postfire regeneration of some understory species in the Acadian forest. Halifax, NB: University of New Brunswick. 87 p. Thesis. [9876]
  • 27. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Pringle, Joan K. 1983. Heat tolerance of rhizomes of several understory species. Canadian Journal of Botany. 61: 452-457. [8444]
  • 28. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Wein, Ross W. 1977. Depth of underground plant organs and theoretical survival during fire. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55: 2550-2554. [6362]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]
  • 53. Little, Silas. 1974. Effects of fire on temperate forests: northeastern United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 225-250. [9859]
  • 9. Chandler, Craig; Cheney, Phillip; Thomas, Philip; [and others}. 1983. Fire in forestry: Vol. I. Forest fire behavior and effects. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 450 p. [12241]
  • 56. Loope, Walter L. 1991. Interrelationships of fire history, land use history, and landscape pattern within Pictured Rocks National Seashore, Michigan. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 105(1): 18-28. [5950]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: bog, sere, shrub, shrubs

Facultative Seral Species

Although leatherleaf is not a pioneer mat former, it is a primary
species in extending the bog mat [11,16,22,62]. It is the first shrub
to enter a bog community after sphagnum is established [11,53].
Leatherleaf is characteristic of the mature and late stages of moss-low
ericaceous shrub communities as open water in a bog sere disappears. It
may dominate for 50 years in some communities [11,18,31].

Leatherleaf is shade intolerant [53,77]. Leathleaf stands begin to thin
as tall shrubs or bog forest species such as tamarack (Larix laricina)
and/or black spruce establish [11,33,35,63,73].
  • 11. Conway, Verona M. 1949. The bogs of central Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 19(2): 173-206. [16686]
  • 16. Damman, Antoni W. H.; French, Thomas W. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: a community profile. Biological Report 85(7.16). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development, National Wetlands Research Center. 100 p. [9238]
  • 18. Dansereau, Pierre; Segadas-Vianna, Fernando. 1952. Ecological study of the peat bogs of eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Botany. 30(5): 490-520. [8869]
  • 22. Elliott-Fisk, Deborah L. 1988. The boreal forest. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 33-62. [13878]
  • 31. Frolik, A. L. 1941. Vegetation on the peat lands of Dane County, Wisconsin. Ecological Monographs. 11(1): 117-140. [16805]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]
  • 35. Glaser, Paul H.; Janssens, Jan A.; Siegel, Donald I. 1990. The response of vegetation to chemical and hydrological gradients in the Lost River peatland, northern Minnesota. Journal of Ecology. 78: 1021-1048. [14341]
  • 53. Little, Silas. 1974. Effects of fire on temperate forests: northeastern United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 225-250. [9859]
  • 62. Motzkin, Glenn H.; Patterson, William A., III. 1991. Vegetation patterns and basin morphometry of a New England moat bog. Rhodora. 93(876): 307-321. [17360]
  • 63. Pearce, C. M.; McLennan, D.; Cordes, L. D. 1988. The evolution and maintenance of white spruce woodlands on the Mackenzie Delta, N. W. T., Canada. Holarctic Ecology. 11(4): 248-258. [10472]
  • 73. Stallard, Harvey. 1929. Secondary succession in the climax forest formations of northern Minnesota. Ecology. 10(4): 476-547. [3808]
  • 77. Taft, John B.; Solecki, Mary Kay. 1990. Vascular flora of the wetland and prairie communities of Gavin Bog and Prairie Nature Preserve, Lake County, Illinois. Rhodora. 92(871): 142-165. [14522]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: shrubs

Moist sphagnum surrounding leatherleaf shoots, roots, and rhizomes
causes vigorous vegetative growth [5,26]. Sphagnum grows on leatherleaf
stems and branches but does not inhibit growth [12,18]. Ice will break
up leatherleaf shrubs, resulting in rapid expansion of colonies [33].
Leatherleaf establishes in windfall areas [18].

Leatherleaf seed set is usually high (50 to 95 percent). Seed set
decreased when insects such as bombus bees were excluded from flowers.
When self-fertilized, leatherleaf has low seed set (1 to 15 percent)
[65]. Leatherleaf seeds germinate on sphagnum or sedge mats [12].
  • 5. Bray, William L. 1920. The history of forest development on an undrained sand plain in the Adirondacks. Syracuse, NY: New York State College of Forestry. 47 p. [21340]
  • 12. Cooper, William S. 1913. The climax forest of Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and its development. III. Botanical Gazette. 55(3): 189-235. [11539]
  • 18. Dansereau, Pierre; Segadas-Vianna, Fernando. 1952. Ecological study of the peat bogs of eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Botany. 30(5): 490-520. [8869]
  • 26. Flinn, Marguerite Adele. 1980. Heat penetration and early postfire regeneration of some understory species in the Acadian forest. Halifax, NB: University of New Brunswick. 87 p. Thesis. [9876]
  • 33. Gates, Frank C. 1942. The bogs of northern lower Michigan. Ecological Monographs. 12(3): 213-254. [10728]
  • 65. Reader, R. J. 1977. Bog ericad flowers: self-compatibility and relative attractiveness to bees. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55(17): 2279-2287. [10089]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: geophyte, phanerophyte

Phanerophyte
Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Leatherleaf flowers from March to July from buds formed the previous
growing season [10,25,47,75]. Fruits develop in late summer and fall
[10,47,75].
  • 25. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 10. Chapman, William K.; Bessette, Alan E. 1990. Trees and shrubs of the Adirondacks. Utica, NY: North Country Books, Inc. 131 p. [12766]
  • 47. Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p. [19376]
  • 75. Stone, W. 1973. The plants of southern New Jersey. Boston, MA: Qarterman Publications, Inc. 892 p. [21089]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Chamaedaphne calyculata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chamaedaphne calyculata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Leatherleaf was listed as threatened in Illinois in 1989 by the Illinois
Endangered Species Protection Board [77].
  • 77. Taft, John B.; Solecki, Mary Kay. 1990. Vascular flora of the wetland and prairie communities of Gavin Bog and Prairie Nature Preserve, Lake County, Illinois. Rhodora. 92(871): 142-165. [14522]

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: bog, density, shrub, shrubs

Leatherleaf greatly increases following clearcutting; leatherleaf and
other shrubs can suppress black spruce on medium to poor sites [42]. In
Minnesota, leatherleaf and other shrubs rapidly increased after tree
harvest; however, restocking was not affected by shrub density 4 to 6
years after harvest [37]. Despite dense leatherleaf in a black spruce
swamp in Ontario, relative regeneration rates of black spruce were high
[41]. There was no difference in stocking rates on nine burned and
unburned cutover black spruce sites in northern Minnesota; seedbed cover
by leatherleaf and bog labrador tea was at acceptable levels [1].

Control of leatherleaf by herbicides has been discussed [60].

Aboveground biomass of leatherleaf was estimated at 136.7 pounds per
acre (122 kg/ha) for wildlife browse and ground fuels in open black
spruce bogs in Nova Scotia [78].

Transplanting leatherleaf in summer or autumn stimulated shoot
production more than spring transplanting [26].
  • 1. Aksamit, Scott E.; Irving, Frank D. 1984. Prescribed burning for lowland black spruce regeneration in northern Minnesota. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 14: 107-113. [7298]
  • 26. Flinn, Marguerite Adele. 1980. Heat penetration and early postfire regeneration of some understory species in the Acadian forest. Halifax, NB: University of New Brunswick. 87 p. Thesis. [9876]
  • 37. Heinselman, M. L. 1959. Natural regeneration of swamp black spruce in Minnesota under various cutting systems. Production Res. Rep. No. 32. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 22 p. [14735]
  • 41. Jeglum, J. K. 1975. Classification of swamp for forestry problems. In: Fraser, J. W.; Jeglum, J. K.; Ketcheson, D. E.; Robinson, F. C.; Van Bers, H. P. G.; McLain, K. M.; Auld, J. M., technical coordinators. Black Spruce Symposium; 1975 September 23-25; Thunder Bay, ON. Symposium Proceedings 0-P-4. Sault Ste. Marie, ON: Department of the Environment, Canadian Forestry Service, Great Lakes Forest Research Centre: 227-241. [8837]
  • 42. Johnston, William F. 1977. Manager's handbook for black spruce in the North Central States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-34. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 18 p. [8684]
  • 60. Martin, Alex C.; Erickson, Ray C.; Steenis, John H. 1957. Improving duck marshes by weed control. Circular 19 (Revised). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. 60 p. [16324]
  • 78. Telfer, E. S. 1972. Understory biomass in five forest types in southwestern Nova Scotia. Canadian Journal of Botany. 50: 1263-1267. [13933]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Leatherleaf greatly increases following clearcutting. Although leatherleaf and other shrubs can suppress black spruce on medium to poor sites, restocking and regeneration of trees may not affected by shrub density after harvest on other sites. Stocking rates were about the same on burned and unburned cut-over black spruce sites in northern Minnesota.

When used for rehabilitation or revegetation, natural growth of leatherleaf can be aided by transplants of sphagnum mats containing live plants.

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USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: bog, frequency, peat, shrubs

Leatherleaf reclaimed large areas in raised bogs in the eastern United
States that had been denuded by commercial peat removal over the past 4
to 92 years [24]. Seven years after powerline construction in a treed
bog in northern Manitoba, leatherleaf had two times more biomass than
other shrubs present. It had a frequency of 78 percent in disturbed
areas and 94 percent in the control [71]. In the Pinhook Bog of
Indiana, sphagnum mats containing leatherleaf were successfully
transplanted to other bog areas that had been killed by runoff from
stockpiled road salt [82].
  • 24. Famous, Norman C.; Spencer, M. 1989. Revegetation patterns in mined peatlands in central and eastern North America studied. Restoration and Management Notes. 7(2): 95-96. [10171]
  • 71. Sims, R. A.; Stewart, J. M. 1981. Aerial biomass distribution in an undisturbed and disturbed subarctic bog. Canadian Journal of Botany. 59: 782-786. [8414]
  • 82. Wilcox, Douglas A.; Ray, Gary. 1989. Using "living mat" transplants to restore a salt-impacted bog (Indiana). Restoration and Management Notes. 7(1): 39. [8063]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

Leatherleaf is browsed and used for nesting by wildlife. It was a minor
part of white-tailed deer winter browse in New Jersey [54]. Leatherleaf
was consumed in small amounts by caribou in Michigan and northern Canada
[14,61,67,69]. Sharp-tailed grouse browsed leatherleaf twigs during the
winter in Wisconsin [68]. Moose occasionally browsed leatherleaf from
June to November on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska [51]. Mallards nest in
leatherleaf in North Dakota [13]. Leatherleaf occurred in cover types
used year-round by ruffed grouse [57].
  • 13. Cowardin, Lewis M.; Gilmer, David S.; Shaiffer, Charles W. 1985. Mallard recruitment in the agricultural environment of North Dakota. Wildlife Monographs No. 92. Washington, DC: The Wildlife Society. 37 p. [18150]
  • 14. Cringan, Alexander Thom. 1957. History, food habits and range requirements of the woodland caribou of continental North America. Transactions, North American Wildlife Conference. 22: 485-501. [15651]
  • 51. LeResche, Robert E.; Davis, James L. 1973. Importance of nonbrowse foods to moose on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Journal of Wildlife Management. 37(3): 279-287. [13123]
  • 54. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681]
  • 57. Magnus, Lester T. 1949. Cover type use of the ruffed grouse in relation to forest management on the Cloquet Forest Experiment Station. Flicker. 21(2): 29-44. [16207]
  • 61. Miller, Donald R. 1976. Taiga winter range relationships and diet. Canadian Wildlife Service Rep. Series No. 36. Ottawa, ON: Environment Canada, Wildlife Service. 42 p. (Biology of the Kaminuriak population of barren-ground caribou; pt 3). [13007]
  • 67. Schaefer, James A.; Pruitt, William O., Jr. 1991. Fire and woodland caribou in southeastern Manitoba. Wildlife Monograph No. 116. Washington, DC: The Wildlife Society, Inc. 39 p. [15247]
  • 68. Schmidt, F. J. W. 1936. Winter food of the sharp-tailed grouse and pinnated grouse in Wisconsin. Wilson Bulletin. September: 186-203. [16729]
  • 69. Scotter, George W. 1967. The winter diet of barren-ground caribou in northern Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 81: 33-39. [16672]

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Nutritional Value

Current year's growth of leatherleaf that was collected in July and
August in southeastern Manitoba had 7.5 percent crude protein, 48.1
percent acid detergent fiber, and 49.3 percent dry matter digestibility.
One-year-old leaves had slightly more crude protein (8.0 percent) and
less acid detergent fiber (33.4 percent) and dry matter digestibility
(44.3 percent) [67].
  • 67. Schaefer, James A.; Pruitt, William O., Jr. 1991. Fire and woodland caribou in southeastern Manitoba. Wildlife Monograph No. 116. Washington, DC: The Wildlife Society, Inc. 39 p. [15247]

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Uses

Leatherleaf reclaimed large areas in raised bogs in the eastern United States that had been denuded by commercial peat removal. The species is used for nesting and cover by wildlife, including mallards and ruffed grouse. It is a part of browse for sharp-tailed grouse, white-tailed deer, caribou, and moose.

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Wikipedia

Chamaedaphne

Chamaedaphne calyculata, leatherleaf, is a shrub in the plant family Ericaceae and the only species in the genus Chamaedaphne. It has a wide distribution throughout the cool temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

It is a low-growing shrub up to 1.5 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged on the branch and elliptical to oblong shaped, 3–4 cm long, thick and leathery, with minute scales and lighter coloration on the underside, and an entire or irregularly toothed margin. They are evergreen but often turn red-brown in winter. The flowers are small (5–6 mm long), white, and bell-like, produced in panicles up to 12 cm long. The species site is restricted to bogs, where they naturally form large clonal colonies.

The name Chamaedaphne comes from the Greek for "ground laurel"; the common name comes from its tough, leather-like leaf.

Leatherleaf is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora ledi.

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: The genus name Chamaedaphne has been nomenclaturally conserved; the genus containing these plants has sometimes been called Cassandra instead.

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More info for the term: fern

The currently accepted scientific name of leatherleaf is Chamaedaphne
calyculata (L.) Moench. It is in the heather family (Ericaceae)
[25,36,44]. Recognized varieties are [25]:

C. c. var. calyculata
C. c. var. angustifolia (Ait.) Rehd.
C. c. var. latifolia (Ait.) Fern.
  • 25. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 36. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 44. Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p. [6954]

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Common Names

leatherleaf
Cassandra

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Synonyms

Cassandra calyculata (L.) D. Don.

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