CPC Plant Profile: Cumberland False Rosemary
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Plant Profile

Cumberland False Rosemary (Conradina verticillata)

This shot of Cumberland rosemary shows the tightly bunched leaves and the clustered purple/lavender flowers. Photo Credit: Rob Nicholson
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • State: KY, SC, TN
  • Nature Serve ID: 148865
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

While this species may closely resemble common rosemary to many people, it is an old species native to the southeastern United States. It is increasingly endanger of damage from nature lovers unintentionally causing damage to the few remaining populations. Several populations are located in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area which has seen an explosion in attendance over the past two decades. (USFWS 2011) Fortunately, it is an easy plant to cultivate and is currently sold for use in rock gardens in local nurseries and over the Internet. If the stream banks this species depends on can be preserved and restored, this species stands a good chance at reaching numbers that allow it to be delisted (USFWS 1996). This perennial mint shrub has zygomorphic, or bilaterally symmetric flowers with petals that form a tube-like structure atop its branches. The flowers produced range in color from pink to purple and have "nectar guides" for potential pollinators (Roulston 1994).

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the upper Cumberland Plateau in northcentral Tennessee and adjacent southeastern Kentucky and restricted there to flood plain habitats. As of 1996, 91 occurrences were believed to be extant, most of them very small and isolated from other occurrences. (Fewer than 4000 total individuals were estimated at the known locations.) This species' abundance and distribution has probably been reduced by dam construction and by water pollution from nearby coal mining. Habitat destruction due to intensive recreational use also poses a threat.

  • 01/01/2010

Dam construction Waste discharges into streams Coal mining Pollution Trampling by hikers, campers, white-water enthusiasts, and off-road vehicles (ORV's) Collecting for commercial trade (USFWS 1991)

  • 01/01/2010

There are forty-four sites in Tennessee and four in Kentucky. They are all located closely enough to allow for free gene flow between colonies causing some to argue that all forty-nine sites are a single population. (USFWS 1991)

  • 01/01/2010

T'ai Honda Roulston, a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, studied the reproductive ecology of this species for a Masters Degree in 1994. (Roulston 1994)

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

Determine the relative importance of all known populations Provide the protection needed to ensure survival of populations determined to be essential to recovery of species Determine the habitat requirements for this species Determine the biology and life history of this species Determine the appropriate means of maintaining this species' habitat in a manner conducive to its survival Develop techniques needed to reestablish the species at sites from which it has been extirpated

  • 01/01/2010

Enforce laws prohibiting inappropriate trade and taking Protect genetic material through cultivation and seed banks


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Taxon Conradina verticillata
Authority Jennison
Family Lamiaceae
CPC Number 1040
ITIS 32481
Common Names Cumberland Rosemary | Cumberland False Rosemary | Upland Rabbitbane
Associated Scientific Names Conradina montana
Distribution C. verticillata is endemic to Kentucky and Tennessee and it can be observed growing along the South Fork Cumberland River and its tributaries in Morgan, Scott, Fentress counties (TN) and McCreary county (KY); along the Caney Fork River in Cumberland and White counties (TN); and along the Obed River in Morgan and Cumberland counties (TN) (USFWS 2011).
State Rank
State State Rank
Kentucky S1
South Carolina SNR
Tennessee S3

This endangered taxon prefers habitats with boulder bars, sand bars, gravel bars, terraces of sand on gradually sloping river banks and islands and pockets of sand between large boulders on islands and stream banks that are open to slightly shaded. Soil must be moderately deep and well-drained with no visible organic material, and experience periodic flooding as a disturbance (with plants protected from scouring by floods by local topography) (USFWS 1991).

Ecological Relationships

Associates include: Alnus spp., Cephalanthus spp., Chionanthus spp., Cornus spp., Hamamelis spp., Itea spp., Kalmia spp., Lyonia spp., Rhododendron spp., Viburnum spp., Calamovilfa arcuata, Marshallia grandiflora, Andropogon gerardii, Elumnus virginicus, Sorghastrum nutans, Aster linariifolius, Coreopsis pubescens, Hypericum spp., Liatris microcephala, Phlox glaberrima, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Silphium trifoliatum, Thalictrium revolutium, and Veronicastrum virginicum (USFWS 1996).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Anthophorine bees Anthophora abrupta Confirmed Pollinator Link
Honey bees Apis mellifera Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Augochlorella aurata Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Sweat bees Augochlorella mettallica Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Sweat bees Augochlora pura pura Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Sweat bees Augochlora radiatus Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Sweat bees Augochlora striata Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Bumble bees Bombus bimaculatus Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bombus impatiens Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bombus pennsylvanicus Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bombus vegans Confirmed Pollinator Link
Centris bees Ceratina calcarata Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Dialectus halictid Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Evylaeus cinctipes Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Sweat bees Lasioglossum Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Lasioglossum Confirmed Pollinator Link
Leaf-cutting bees Megachile mendica Confirmed Pollinator Link
Leaf-cutting bees Osmia atriventris Confirmed Pollinator Link
Leaf-cutting bees Osmia pumila Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Sphecodes Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Long-horned bees Synhalonia rosae Confirmed Pollinator Link
Carpenter bees Xylocopa virginica Nectar Robber Link
Butterflies & Moths
Skippers Hesperiidae Floral Visitor Link
Syrphid flies Syrphid flies Floral Visitor Link
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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