CPC Plant Profile: Alabama Leatherflower
Search / Plant Profile / Clematis socialis
Plant Profile

Alabama Leatherflower (Clematis socialis)

This picture shows the bell-shaped blue flower of the Alabama leather flower. Photo Credit: Robert Kral
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • State: AL, GA
  • Nature Serve ID: 137478
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/09/1992

Alabama leather flower is an erect, non-viney perennial herb known from only five sites in northeast Alabama and one in northwest Georgia (USFWS 1989; NatureServe 2001). It was first discovered in St. Clair county Alabama in 1980 (USFWS 1989). It is found in silt-clay alluvial soils in full sun to part shade in grass-sedge-rush communities. These sites include highway rights-of-way, pasture land, and logged forests (USFWS 1989; NatureServe 2001). It blue-violet flowers emerge in late April through May and fruit development begins in June. Alabama leather flower also spreads vegetatively and its most distinctive feature is its rhizomatous habit and the formation of dense clones with erect stems reaching 18 to 30 cm. in height (Kral 1982).

Participating Institutions
Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/18/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted the Atlanta Botanical Garden to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

  • 10/13/2020
  • Demographic Research

Population dynamics, fire management and logging management studies are being conducted in Alabama (TNC and USFWS)

  • 10/13/2020
  • Cryo

A tissue culture propagation protocol and a shoot tip cryopreservation protocol for this species were developed at CREW. Tissue culture lines were used to provide shoot tips for long-term storage in liquid nitrogen in CREW's CryoBioBank.

  • 10/13/2020
  • Tissue Culture

A tissue culture propagation protocol and a shoot tip cryopreservation protocol for this species were developed at CREW. Tissue culture lines were used to provide shoot tips for long-term storage in liquid nitrogen in CREW's CryoBioBank.

  • 10/13/2020
  • Genetic Research

Genetic work on this species was also done at Auburn University (Trusty et al., 2009). Based on the genetics work done at Auburn University, it was recommended that "additional in vitro collections be made from each of the five extant populations and placed in cryostorage" (Trusty et al., 2009).

Valerie Pence
  • 01/08/2018

Based on the genetics work done at Auburn University, it was recommended that "additional in vitro collections be made from each of the five extant populations and placed in cryostorage" (Trusty et al., 2009).

Valerie Pence
  • 01/08/2018

A tissue culture propagation protocol and a shoot tip cryopreservation protocol for this species were developed at CREW.  Tissue culture lines were used to provide shoot tips for long-term storage in liquid nitrogen in CREW's CryoBioBank.  Genetic work on this species was also done at Auburn University (Trusty et al., 2009).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Only known from a few occurrences in northeastern Alabama and northwestern Georgia. Sexual reproduction is limited in this species, so there are probably few genetic individuals. Populations mostly occur in areas subject to right-of-way maintenance activities, such as along highways or pipelines. Highway crews are working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to find maintainance techniques that are compatible with the species.

  • 01/01/2010

The loss of habitat is the main threat to C. socialis. This includes overgrowth of hardwood canopy, competition from other plants, herbicide use, mowing, road maintenance, and logging.

  • 01/01/2010

6 extant populations, 5 in Alabama and 1 in Georgia (USFWS 1989).

  • 01/01/2010

Population dynamics, fire management and logging management studies are being conducted in Alabama (TNC and USFWS)

  • 01/01/2010

Active management is under way at one protected site in Alabama. This includes maintaining an open canopy and reducing competition from surrounding vegetation. Prescribed burns and selective logging have also been implemented at some sites as a management tools. All landowners and other involved parties have been notified in regards to the presence of this rare plant on their properties. Some monitoring is currently carried out by the USFWS.

  • 01/01/2010

Research: More extensive monitoring programs are needed as well as basic research on C. socialis reproduction biology and associated community structure. Land use history of the extant populations is also needed. Management: Land management that opens the canopy, such as prescribed burning and selective logging, is needed.

  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection from all populations not represented in collection.

MORE

Be the first to post an update!

Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Clematis socialis
Authority Kral
Family Ranunculaceae
CPC Number 1004
ITIS 195027
USDA CLSO3
Common Names Alabama leather flower
Associated Scientific Names Clematis socialis
Distribution Ridge and Valley physiographic region of northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia (USFWS 1989).
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S1
Georgia S1
Habitat

silt-clay alluvial soils in full sun to part shade in grass-sedge-rush communitieshighway rights-of-waypasture landlogged forests(USFWS 1989)

Ecological Relationships

C. socialis occurs in grass-sedge-rush communities, generally in full sun (USFWS 1989). Many of the sites where it is present are highway/utility rights-of-way. It is often found in association with many prairie indicator species . This suggests that natural openings present in the area prior to European settlement may have been its natural habitat (Kral 1982). There is very little sexual reproduction in the species, thus likely little genetic variability. However, the plants rhizomatous behavior has allowed it to expand into recently logged areas (USFWS 1989). It appears to grow most vigorously in areas with little competition and much bare ground, thus considered a poor competitor. It also may benefit from occasional disturbances that arrest succession (USFWS 1989)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

Fall fundraising drive has begun! We're looking for 2,500 people to protect our planet. With you by our side, we will build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Come help and become a CPC donor today.

Donate Today