CPC Plant Profile: Mohr's Barbara's-buttons
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Plant Profile

Mohr's Barbara's-buttons (Marshallia mohrii)

Description
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: AL, FL, GA
  • Nature Serve ID: 134344
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/06/1993

Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia mohrii Beadle & F. E. Boynton [ITIS 2018]) is a perennial forb in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) that was discovered in 1882 by Dr. Charles Mohr and is currently known to consist of 28 extant populations in Alabama and Georgia (USFWS 1991; USFWS 2016). Stems are 3 - 7 dm tall and branched distally. Leaves are alternate and petiolate, mostly basal and distally reduced. Blades are 3-nerved and narrowly elliptic to spatulate. Flowers are produced in several heads per plant, and heads are roughly 2.5 cm in diameter. Corollas are composed of disc flowers, which are pink to white with 5-7 lobes (Channell 1957; USFWS 2016). Plants flower between May and the end of June, setting fruit in July and August. Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons appears to be adapted to disturbance and is often found growing in open to semi-shaded graminoid-dominated habitats in the Ridge and Valley and Cumberland Plateau physiological regions of Alabama and Georgia. Habitats include somewhat moist areas in open woodlands, calcareous prairies and barrens, and anthropogenic habitats such as roadsides and utility right-of-way corridors. Primary threats include land conversion due to agriculture or development, recreational use (primarily by ATVs), road construction and right-of-way maintenance, logging, and fire suppression (USFWS 2016; Schotz 2014; Kral 1983) – though Duncan (2008) showed that Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons were neither positively nor negatively affected by prescribed burns. The species, a tetroploid, is closely related to M. trinerva of which it may be an allopolyploid hybrid between M. trinerva and M. grandiflora or another unknown diploid species (Watson et al. 1991, Hansen and Goertzen 2014). M. mohrii was often misidentified as M. trinerva prior to its description in 1901, and the two do look very similar (Channell 1957).

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Updates
  • 10/06/2020
  • Propagation Research

Matthew Albrecht is currently working on a manuscript for a series of seed germination experiments in which it was shown that M. mohrii achieves optimal germination at mid- to late-spring temperatures and that 12 weeks of cold stratification increases the rate at which germination occurs and also widens the temperature range at which seeds germinate effectively.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Demographic Research

In a recent status survey of 47 occurrences of Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons, 34 occurrences were relocated, only one was designated as being of excellent quality and only seven were designated as being of good quality, with the remaining populations being listed as marginal or worse (Schotz 2014). Schotz (2014) also found that most occurrences are small, with 79% of sampled populations having fewer than 200 individuals. Thus the species is expected to decline between 10 - 30 % in the short term, and long-term viability is relatively uncertain, especially considering the growing threats of land conversion and associated recreational impacts (Natureserve 2018). No work has been done on the conservation genetics of this species.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Missouri Botanical Garden currently maintains seed accessions of Marshallia mohrii consisting of 149 individuals from 6 occurrences in its seed bank freezer.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Seed Collection

Missouri Botanical Garden currently maintains seed accessions of Marshallia mohrii consisting of 149 individuals from 6 occurrences in its seed bank freezer.

Matthew Albrecht
  • 11/13/2018

The latest 5-year species review (USFWS 2016) indicates that the recommended future actions are:

  • The permanent protection and management of existing habitats and populations by federal and state governments, non-governmental organizations, and private entities.
  • To conduct studies which determine the number and distribution of populations which preserves genetic diversity.
  • To investigate the species’ metapopulation structure and dynamics.
  • To study the species’ life history, biology, and ecology.
  • To investigate the species’ response to habitat management techniques and update monitoring and management methods accordingly.
  • To update the species’ recovery plan in light of new information.

Matthew Albrecht
  • 11/13/2018

The primary threats to this species are land use conversion due to expansion of agriculture or development, recreation (primarily due to ATVs), woody plant encroachment, invasive species, and road and right-of-way maintenance, such as mowing at improper times and herbicide use (USFWS 2016; Schotz 2014; Kral 1983). It is unclear how this species will be affected by other long-term threats, like climate change.
 

Matthew Albrecht
  • 11/13/2018

Matthew Albrecht is currently working on a manuscript for a series of seed germination experiments in which it was shown that M. mohrii achieves optimal germination at mid- to late-spring temperatures and that 12 weeks of cold stratification increases the rate at which germination occurs and also widens the temperature range at which seeds germinate effectively.

Matthew Albrecht
  • 11/13/2018

In a recent status survey of 47 occurrences of Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons, 34 occurrences were relocated, only one was designated as being of excellent quality and only seven were designated as being of good quality, with the remaining populations being listed as marginal or worse (Schotz 2014). Schotz (2014) also found that most occurrences are small, with 79% of sampled populations having fewer than 200 individuals. Thus the species is expected to decline between 10 - 30 % in the short term, and long-term viability is relatively uncertain, especially considering the growing threats of land conversion and associated recreational impacts (Natureserve 2018). No work has been done on the conservation genetics of this species.
 

Matthew Albrecht
  • 11/13/2018

While Marshallia mohrii occurs on lands that are managed by public and private entities, there appears to be little species-specific management at any of the extant populations (USFWS 2016).

Matthew Albrecht
  • 11/13/2018

Missouri Botanical Garden currently maintains seed accessions of Marshallia mohrii consisting of 149 individuals from 6 occurrences in its seed bank freezer.

  • 01/01/2010

herbicides future road expansion installation of utility lines (water and sewer lines) woody succession sustained significant habitat loss due to fire suppression and to conversion of its habitat to agricultural land or to pine plantation

  • 01/01/2010

14 known populations 15 known locations in AL 7 known locations in GA (discovered in 1991) recorded from one county in Georgia

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Nomenclature
Taxon Marshallia mohrii
Authority Beadle & F.E. Boynt.
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 2806
ITIS 38068
USDA MAMO3
Common Names Mohr's Barbara's-buttons | Mohr's Barbara's buttons
Associated Scientific Names Marshallia mohrii
Distribution This species is known from 28 populations (and a total of 68 occurrences), in Alabama and Georgia. Of these 28 populations, 19 are considered to be extant, 8 are considered to be historical, and 1 is considered to be extirpated (USFWS 2016). By state, 22 populations are in Alabama, five are in Georgia, and one population is found in parts of both states. Relatively few populations exist on protected land, with five populations occurring fully on protected land, and three populations that occur on both protected and unprotected land. Across its range, there are an estimated 6,740 - 10,000 plants, though differences in estimates may be due to the method of estimation (USFSW 2016; Schotz 2014).
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S3
Florida SH
Georgia S2
Habitat

Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons is found in moist, open habitats with full sun to partial shade, often on calcareous substrates. These habitats primarily include prairies, open woodlands, and barrens, but the species can also be found on roadsides and in utility right-of-way openings. The species is characteristic of at least two unique plant community types – The Ketona Dolomite Glades in Bibb County Alabama and the Coosa Valley Prairies in Floyd County, Georgia – both of which contain most occurrences of Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons and are host to numerous species of rare and endemic plants (Allison and Stevens 2001; Schotz 2014). While Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons is often found on glades, it is considered to be a plant of wetter habitats, and tends to occupy marginal habitats with slightly more shade and deeper soil. It can often be found co-occurring with other rare or locally uncommon species, like Prenanthes barbatus, Rhynchospora thornei, Silene regia, and Xyris tennesseensis (USFWS 2016). Associated species that are common species are Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana, Asplenium platyneuron, Andropogon virginicus, Sorghastrum nutans, Asclepias verticillata, Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium, Symphyotrichum patens, and Helianthus divaricatus (Schotz 2014).

Ecological Relationships

Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons is considered to be a facultative wetland species, which means it is usually found in wet habitats, but occasionally in drier upland habitats where the soil is deeper (USDA 2018). The identity of pollinators is currently unknown. In a study that evaluated the effects of a single-prescribed burn on plant communities of Ketona Dolomite glades, Duncan et al (2008) showed that stems densities of Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons did not not differ between unburned or burned plots over a two-year period. As the species is negatively affected by woody species encroachment, it is likely positively and indirectly affected by fire as a stand-opening disturbance which increases access to sunlight.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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