Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: This species is primarily endemic to the southern and central Appalachian region, from northern Georgia to western Pennsylvania (Weakley 1996), and a disjunction to southern Illinois (USDA-NRCS 1999). There are also a few disjunct occurrences in some of the diabase outcrops in the piedmont of South Carolina (Pittman pers. comm.). It is known from one county in the Allegheny Plateau of Maryland (Frye pers. comm.).

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Ga., Ill., Ky., Md., N.C., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Stems 60-250 cm, usually glabrous, rarely sparsely pubescent. Leaves: petiole rounded abaxially, 8-16 cm, broadly and shallowly grooved adaxially, glabrous, rarely with a few lax hairs in groove. Leaf blade (2-)3-ternately compound; leaflets 32-100; terminal leaflet of central segment ovate to oblong, incisely 3-lobed, 6-15 × 4-14 cm, with 3 veins arising basally, base cuneate to somewhat cordate, margins dentate to serrate, apex acute to acuminate, surfaces glabrous or glabrate; other leaflets 3-15 × 3-10 cm. Inflorescences ± lax panicles of 3-10 racemelike branches, 10-50 cm, densely short-pubescent and granular; bract 1, subtending pedicel, broadly triangular, acute, 1-3 mm; pedicel to 20 mm, granular, bracteoles present along most of pedicel, narrowly triangular, acute. Flowers: sepals 5, 3 outer white tinged red, 2 inner yellowish green; petals usually 2, rarely more, sessile, body yellowish with white lobes, ovate, 3-6 mm; nectary basal; stamens 40-70; filaments 6-10 mm; pistils 3-8, short-stipitate, body glabrous, stipe granular; style subulate, often curved; stigma minute, 0.2 mm wide. Follicles 2-4, stipitate, obovate, laterally compressed, 8-17 mm, membranous walled, glabrous. Seeds pale brown, lenticular, ca. 3.5 mm, covered with whitish, broad, lacerate scales but not apprearing cylindric.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cimicifuga cordifolia Pursh; C. racemosa (Linnaeus) Nuttall var. cordifolia (Pursh) A. Gray
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Type Information

Isolectotype for Actaea cordifolia DC.
Catalog Number: US 313296
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Ruth
Year Collected: 1897
Locality: Knoxville., Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Isolectotype: Kearney, T. H. 1897. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 24: 561.; Compton, J. A., et al. 1998. Taxon. 47: 618.
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Lectotype for Actaea cordifolia DC.
Catalog Number: US 781407
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Ruth
Year Collected: 1897
Locality: Knoxville., Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Lectotype: Kearney, T. H. 1897. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 24: 561.; Compton, J. A., et al. 1998. Taxon. 47: 618.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: This species is found in rich coves and rich northern hardwoods forests. It is restricted to elevations above approximately 2500 ft toward the southern end of its range (Dellinger pers. comm., Pittillo pers. comm.). In the northern portion of its range, it is found in cool, moist areas with northern hardwoods, occasionally with hemlock, typically on north-facing slopes or in wooded stream corridors (Kunsman pers. comm.). Outlying populations in the piedmont of South Carolina are in association with steep coves among diabase rock outcrops (Pittman pers. comm.).

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Moist, rich, rocky and boulder-strewn, wooded slopes and coves; 300-2000m.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Rangewide, there are estimated to be fewer than 500 extant populations. Maryland: 10; North Carolina: 100 (Kauffman pers. comm.); South Carolina: 12; Tennessee: 50-100+ (Brumback and Mehrhoff 1996, APSU 1999).

Better recognition of this species is turning up additional occurrences formerly confused with C. racemosa, especially near the edge of the range of this species (Kunsman pers. comm., Pittman pers. comm.). But estimation of population numbers is made more difficult by the possibility of co-occurrence with the more common and widespread C. racemosa (Kauffman pers. comm.).

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General Ecology

Transplanted individuals have been reported to survive a couple of decades (Pittillo pers. comm.).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering summer-fall (Aug-Oct).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: This species is a broad endemic to the southern and central Appalachians, known from a few hundred populations. Although no information was found regarding its targeted collection from wild populations, it seems to be facing incidental collection and subsequent decline due to its resemblance to the widely collected C. racemosa (Blakley pers. comm., Kauffman pers. comm., Suggs pers. comm.). It also appears to be facing specific habitat development pressure in mountainous areas (Dellinger pers. comm.).

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Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Comments: The plant is speculated to be declining globally, considering the likelihood of impact from recent collection pressures (Kauffman pers. comm., Suggs pers. comm.) and the development of mountainous areas in portions of its range (Dellinger pers. comm.). Monitoring would be necessary in order to determine whether species is stable or declining.

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Threats

Comments: There is hearsay that, especially in western North Carolina, plants are wild-collected for the plant trade. Collection of this species is likely given the potential for confusion with C. racemosa (Blakley pers. comm., Suggs pers. comm.). No evidence was found of targeted collection of this species, though Kauffman (pers. comm.) indicated that an unknown proportion of the permitted harvest of C. racemosa in the Black Mountains on North Carolina is probably incidentally-collected C. americana.

The following information is for "black cohosh", Cimicifuga racemosa; however it is very likely given the location of collections that some of this material is in fact C. americana: USDA Forest Service collection permits, per Kauffman (pers. comm.): 1997 - 2200 lbs. (dry); 1998 - 12,000 lbs. (dry); 1999 - 2150 lbs. (dry); a recent case was made where a poacher was caught with approximately 500 lbs. (dry) on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina (Corbin pers. comm.).

Habitat conversion and development are significant direct threats (Dellinger pers. comm., Kauffman pers. comm., Kunsman pers. comm., Pittman pers. comm.). Equally significant threats include habitat fragmentation, and to a lesser degree displacement by exotic species.

Given its more specific siting requirements, this species may prove more difficult to cultivate than C. racemosa (Suggs pers. comm.).

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Better identification and delineation of habitat requirements, perhaps through habitat modeling research, would be an important part of identifying potential sites and guiding searches for this species. Further work on the demography of this species is needed to determine minimum viable population sizes. A better understanding of the natural history, breeding systems, and genetic variation both within and between populations is also desirable (Kauffman pers. comm.).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

Production Methods: Wild-harvested

Comments: It is not known whether this species has similar bioactive compounds to C. racemosa (Blakley pers. comm., Suggs pers. comm.).

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Wikipedia

Actaea podocarpa

Actaea podocarpa (Mountain Black-cohosh) is a species of flowering plant in the Buttercup family. It is native to the Appalachian Mountains, with a single outlying population in northern Illinois. It is found in rich, mesic forests often in boulder-strewn coves. [1]

A. podocarpa is a large perennial herb. It is one of the later flowering of the eastern Actaea, producing white flowers in summer through fall.

References[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Much confusion has developed over the name Cimicifuga cordifolia Pursh. Although F. Pursh (1814, vol. 2, pp. 372-373) considered it synonymous with C . americana , several other authors have variously misapplied the name C . cordifolia to C . racemosa and C . rubifolia .
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Species generally known by the name Cimicifuga americana. Kartesz (1999) moves this species to the genus Actaea, and uses the name Actaea podocarpa.

Can be distinguished from Cimicifuga (Actaea) racemosa by the presence of a deep, broad groove on the upper side of lowest petiole (leaf stem) of this species.

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