In September (2021) NCBG staff journeyed through the inner coastal plain of South Carolina to collect seeds of Oxypolis canbyi (Canby's dropwort). With the help of the SC Natural Heritage Program, we found a healthy population in a wetland embedded in a recently burned long leaf pine savanna. While collecting we noticed many of the seeds were empty, easily being crushed and falling apart as we collected. We continued to collect, hoping for the best, but ultimately found only 7 filled seeds in the collection. The habitat was extremely dry as the area experienced little rainfall in the month preceding collection. It is possible the dry conditions affected seed maturation. We will attempt again in 2022.
In 2021, CPC contracted North Carolina 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.
Oxypolis canbyi is native to the Coastal Plain from southwestern Georgia through South Carolina to southeastern North Carolina, and from eastern MD to (historically) Delaware. Approximately 40 occurrences are believed extant, mostly in South Carolina and Georgia, with an additional 16 occurrences considered historical or of unknown status. There are likely over 10,000 total plants, as at least three Georgia occurrences have ""thousands"" of plants, and at least four South Carolina occurrences are described as ""very large."" Other sites have fewer plants. This species' herbaceous wetland habitats - characterized by long periods of inundation and little canopy cover - have declined significantly from historical levels due to drainage and conversion to pasture, farmland, and pine plantations. This threat continues to some extent presently. Habitat degradation is the other major threat to this species, primarily resulting from hydrological alterations and/or fire suppression, both of which can alter successional patterns to the detriment of this species. Water table-lowering activities in the general vicinity of sites can still constitute significant hydrological alteration, such that protecting the sites themselves may be insufficient to ensure persistence. A significant proportion of known occurrences are described as declining in habitat quality and/or population size; many require active management.
Alteration of wetland habitat (drainage and development)
Predation from black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars (USFWS 1986)
53 total populations, with 1 in Maryland, one in North Carolina, 28 in South Carolina, and 23 in Georgia. (USFWS 1986)
North Carolina Plant Conservation Program has permanent monitoring plots in the only North Carolina population
Habitat protection where known populations occur. Active management procedures are at present unclear.
Competition and other community-level interactions
Underground biotic/abiotic dynamics
Response to fire
Collection from all populations
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