CPC Plant Profile: Crenulate Leadplant
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Plant Profile

Crenulate Leadplant (Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata)

This picture shows a single flower spike amongst small, dark green leaflets on reddish branches. Photo Credit: Jennifer Possley
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 136484
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

Amorpha crenulata, a semi-deciduous shrub, blooms with several flower spikes in the spring that range in color from white and orange to blue and purple. Numerous small, dark green leaflets grow on its reddish branches. The species' subpopulations is threatened by deforestation and fragmentation in order to accommodate Florida's growing population which accounts for 99% of loss, as well as heavy fire suppression and excessive drainage of its habitats' water supply. It is also pitted against invasive plant species such as Brazilian peppertrees, cane grass, purple orchid trees, and various grape vine species.

Participating Institutions
Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/17/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted the Fairchild Tropical Botanic 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.

  • 10/09/2020
  • Reproductive Research

Pollination, propagation and seed storage at Fairchild Tropical Gardens (Garvue 1988).

  • 10/09/2020
  • Propagation Research

Pollination, propagation and seed storage at Fairchild Tropical Gardens (Garvue 1988).

  • 10/09/2020
  • Reintroduction

There are two wild populations of Crenulate lead plant in Miami-Dade County totaling approximately 500 individuals. In addition, there are two populations reintroduced to protected areas, totaling approximately 250 individuals. One of these reintroduced populations has begun to produce recruits.

  • 10/09/2020
  • Living Collection

Fairchild maintains a small ex situ conservation collection of plants, both in the nursery and planted in the garden. Hundreds of seeds from multiple populations (including extirpated ones) have been banked at NLGRP and at Fairchild. Other local organizations, including some native plant nurseries, also maintain small ex situ collections.

  • 10/09/2020
  • Seed Collection

Fairchild maintains a small ex situ conservation collection of plants, both in the nursery and planted in the garden. Hundreds of seeds from multiple populations (including extirpated ones) have been banked at NLGRP and at Fairchild. Other local organizations, including some native plant nurseries, also maintain small ex situ collections.

  • 10/09/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Fairchild maintains a small ex situ conservation collection of plants, both in the nursery and planted in the garden. Hundreds of seeds from multiple populations (including extirpated ones) have been banked at NLGRP and at Fairchild. Other local organizations, including some native plant nurseries, also maintain small ex situ collections.

  • 10/09/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Fairchild maintains a small ex situ conservation collection of plants, both in the nursery and planted in the garden. Hundreds of seeds from multiple populations (including extirpated ones) have been banked at NLGRP and at Fairchild. Other local organizations, including some native plant nurseries, also maintain small ex situ collections.

  • 11/05/2017

The most critical action needed for the conservation of Crenulate lead plant is to conduct prescribed burns in the fire-adapted, urban habitats in which it grows.  Fairchild will continue with the important actions of population monitoring and seed banking indefinitely.  

J. Possley
  • 11/05/2017

Fairchild maintains a small ex situ conservation collection of plants, both in the nursery and planted in the garden.  Hundreds of seeds from multiple populations (including extirpated ones) have been banked at NLGRP and at Fairchild.  Other local organizations, including some native plant nurseries, also maintain small ex situ collections.  

J. Possley
  • 11/05/2017

There are two wild populations of Crenulate lead plant in Miami-Dade County totaling approximately 500 individuals.  In addition, there are two populations reintroduced to protected areas, totaling approximately 250 individuals.  One of these reintroduced populations has begun to produce recruits.  Several wild populations of Crenulate lead plant were destroyed or died out in the past two decades.  In 2002, the (at the time) largest population of several hundred plants was destroyed when it was sold to a developer, however many of these plants were rescued for ex situ collection or reintroductions.  Shortly thereafter, a population of <5 plants was lost due to fire suppression and invasive species encroachment, and a similar-sized population was again lost in 2015.  

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

There are 4 known populations of the taxon, all in Dade County, Florida. Its habitat is restricted and minimal due to encroaching residential and commercial development, fire suppression, and invasion by exotic plants.

Meghan Fellows
  • 01/01/2010

Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata is threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species (Schinus terebinthifolius, Neyraudia reynaudiana, Bauhina variegata, Vitis sp.), fire suppression and mowing (Garvue 1988).

Meghan Fellows
  • 01/01/2010

Current research summary includes investigating relationships with Mycorrhizae (Fisher 2000). Pollination, propagation and seed storage at Fairchild Tropical Gardens (Garvue 1988).

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata
Authority Isely
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 107
ITIS 182063
USDA AMHEC
Common Names Crenulate Lead-Plant | Clusterspike False Indigo
Associated Scientific Names Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata | Amorpha crenulata
Distribution This shrub is known from the Miami Rock Ridge Pinelands, an extremely rare and threatened ecosystem which contains over 40 endemic species. Historically, it was found in the pinelands of Dade County, but now occurs in the south Miami/Kendall area.
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1
Habitat

This lead plant can be found in several habitats: in pine rocklands, pinelands hammock edges, vacant lots, marl prairie, and fire-maintained areas. Historically, this species has also been seen in the edges of wet prairies as well as communities associated with seasonally hydrated soils and frequent burning. This species can tolerate varying light conditions, soil depth, and litter depth.

Ecological Relationships

Ecological associations include the following species: Florida slash pines, saw palmettos, cabbage palmettos, southern sumacs, Florida little bluestems, Carolina wild petunias, gulfdune paspalum, poisonwood, wax myrtles, and bupleurums. Pollinators include western honey bees, the metallic green Agapostemon splendens bee species, and Dianthieium curvatum floridiense, a native leaf-cutting bee found in Florida. Mycorrhizal dependence has been demonstrated.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Honey bees Apis mellifera Floral Visitor Link
Sweat bees Agapostemon splendens Floral Visitor Link
Leaf-cutting bees Dianthidium floridiense Floral Visitor Link
Flies
Diptera Floral Visitor Link

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