CPC Plant Profile: Tiny Tim
Search / Plant Profile / Geocarpon minimum
Plant Profile

Tiny Tim (Geocarpon minimum)

A closeup of this tiny herb with maturing fruit and magenta leaves. Photo Credit: Casey Galvin
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Caryophyllaceae
  • State: AR, LA, MO, TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 153730
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 05/28/1986

If you want to see Geocarpon minimum you'll need good eyes and good knees! That's because this plant is TINY, and to find it often requires getting down on hands and knees. Growing between one and four centimeters tall, G. minimum is the only member of its genus, making it a very unique member of the Caryophyllaceae (Carnation) family. Seeds of Geocarpon germinate in the winter and produce a small rosette. In spring the plant produces flowers and sets seed within about 4 weeks time. As the fruits mature, the plant turns from green to a striking magenta color.

Participating Institutions
CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.
Updates
Katie Heineman
  • 12/09/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas holds at least one seed accession (collected in 2019) of Geocarpon minimum in orthodox seed storage at their facility.

Katie Heineman
  • 12/09/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation holds a back up seed lot of the 2019 Parker County, Texas collection for safety duplication under the CPC Material Transfer Research Agreement.

Katie Heineman
  • 12/09/2021
  • Seed Collection

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas collected seed from three plants of Geocarpon minimum from a population in Parker, County Texas in April 2019. 

  • 09/12/2020
  • Reintroduction

MDC has worked for several years to relocate Geocarpon from an area of Collins Glade that was lost to expansion of HWY 13. Seeds of the destroyed site were transported to a protected area of Collins Glade. Monitoring of the project is done on an annual basis.

  • 09/12/2020
  • Demographic Research

The Nature Conservancy conducts an annual census of Geocarpon on its Corry Flatrocks Preserve in SW Missouri.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Extant at about 40 sites in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Some sites are protected and appear to have good viability. Total population size is difficult to estimate.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include destruction or adverse modification of the habitat, trampling and grazing by cattle, road expansions and improvements, overcrowding and shading by invading plants (USFWS 1993).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Known from approximately 27 sites in AR, LA, and MO. The majority of sites occur in Missouri (USFWS 1993). The number of individual plants at each site varies from year to year, ranging from 0 to hundreds or occasionally even a few thousand.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010
  • Genetic Research

The Missouri Botanical Garden is currently (year 2002) working to assess the genetic diversity and differentiation present within and among Geocarpon populations across its range. Given the disparate nature of the habitat occupied by Geocarpon in Missouri versus Arkansas and Louisiana, there is interest in determining if there are subspecific differences between the MO and the AR and LA populations. Knowledge of these differences will assist in potential future reintroduction work.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

The Nature Conservancy conducts an annual census of Geocarpon on its Corry Flatrocks Preserve in SW Missouri. The Missouri Dept. of Conservation (MDC) also monitors Geocarpon at several sites in SW Missouri. MDC has worked for several years to relocate Geocarpon from an area of Collins Glade that was lost to expansion of HWY 13. Seeds of the destroyed site were transported to a protected area of Collins Glade. Monitoring of the project is done on an annual basis.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Management needs include evaluating potential habitat and searching for additional populations and preserving genetic stock. Population monitoring should be continued. Research needs include determining the effects of disturbance factors (natural and man-made) and incorporating findings into management prescriptions, establishing experimental populations to determine the presence of habitat specific factors and understanding reproductive biology and ecology.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Establish reliable propagation protocols.

MORE

Be the first to post an update!

Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Geocarpon minimum
Authority Mackenzie
Family Caryophyllaceae
CPC Number 2010
ITIS 195411
USDA GEMI
Common Names earth fruit | geocarpon | tinytim
Associated Scientific Names Geocarpon minimum
Distribution Seven counties in SW Missouri, four counties in Arkansas (in NW and SE areas of the state), and one county in Northern Louisiana (USFWS 1993).
State Rank
State State Rank
Arkansas S2
Louisiana S2
Missouri S2
Texas S1
Habitat

In Missouri, Geocarpon minimum grows on moist, sandy soils on exposed sandstone outcrops. It is limited to shallow depressions in slightly tilted sandstone strata within sandstone glade plant communities (Shepard et al. 1991). In Arkansas and Louisiana, Geocarpon is restricted to saline soils in plant communities classified as """"saline soil prairies"""" (USFWS 1993).In Missouri, Geocarpon is strongly associated with the lichen, Xanthoparmelia sp. (USFWS 1993). Also likely to occur with Geocarpon: Talinum sp., and Polytrichum juniperinum.In Arkansas and Louisiana, associates include: Scirpus koilolepsis, Aristida longespica, and Anemone caroliniana (USFWS 1993).

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Other
Centipede Centipede Floral Visitor Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

CPC secures rare plants for future generations by coordinating on-the-ground conservation and training the next generation of plant conservation professionals. Donate today to help save rare plants from extinction.

Donate Today