CPC Plant Profile: Pickering's Morning-glory
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Plant Profile

Pickering's Morning-glory (Stylisma pickeringii var. pickeringii)

A closeup of this species in flower. Photo Credit: North Carolina Natural Heritage Program
  • Global Rank: T3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Convolvulaceae
  • State: AL, GA, NC, NJ, SC
  • Nature Serve ID: 152853
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

Pickerings dawnflower is a spreading, herbaceous, perennial vine that forms large mats and clumps primarily in the sandhills and sandy woods of the Southeast. It is usually found in the driest, most barren, deep-sand areas and occasionally colonizing roadsides and other disturbed areas (TNC 1993). It produces small white and sometimes pink morning glory like flowers from June through September. This taxon is easy to recognize by its growth form, with numerous stems arching from a central point, then trailing radically away, forming a mound 1-2 m in diameter. There are 43 known populations, many of which are vulnerable to habitat destruction.

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

There are 43 known extant occurrences, many of which are vulnerable to habitat destruction.

  • 01/01/2010

Loss of habitat through development, trampling, fire suppression.

  • 01/01/2010

43 known extant occurrences (NatureServe 2001). New populations have been found in NC and recorded from seven counties in Georgia.

  • 01/01/2010

North Carolina Botanical Garden has had some success with seed germination, but it has been sporadic and seedlings have been extremely slow growing. Stylisma pickeringii var. pattersonii is a rare species in Illinois. Extensive research has been performed on this species by individuals from Eastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Donnelly et al. 2001; Heisler et al. 2000, 1999; Kerber 2000; Sojka et al. 1999; Todd et al. 2000, 2001a, 2001b, 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

Many populations occur in managed sandhills that presently receive regular prescribed burns. However, there are a significant number of roadside and other populations that lack a current management strategy (Bert Pittman, SC Natural Heritage Trust Program, pers. comm.). Researchers in NJ report that prescribed burns destroyed populations in their state (TNC 1993).

  • 01/01/2010

Roadside population management, pollination and germination biology, population genetic work, specific habitat requirements, importance of fire and disturbance (in terms of season, intensity, and frequency), biological monitoring program, surveys and inventories of existing populations (TNC 1993).

  • 01/01/2010

Germplasm collection from populations not represented in collection and further propagation work.


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Taxon Stylisma pickeringii var. pickeringii
Authority (Torr. ex M.A. Curtis) A. Gray
Family Convolvulaceae
CPC Number 4157
ITIS 530591
Common Names Pickering's dawnflower | Pickering's morning-glory
Associated Scientific Names Stylisma pickeringii var. pickeringii | Bonamia pickeringii | Breweria pickeringii | Breweria pickeringii var. caesariensis
Distribution North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, New Jersey. (NatureServe 2001)
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S1
Georgia S2
North Carolina S3
New Jersey S1
South Carolina S2

dry to xeric, nutrient poor, well-drained, coarse sandy soils with little to no competing vegetation or litter (TNC 1993)

Ecological Relationships

There is slight morphological variation between the disjunct populations (Fernald and Schubert 1949). S. pickeringii appears to be a primary successional species and cannot invade or colonize new areas without some sort of disturbance, whether fire or mechanical. In fact, spread of the dawnflower is greatest just following a spring or summer burn, where new shoots can colonize, flower, and set seed on newly cleared soil (TNC 1993). The optimal fire intensity, however, is unknown. Some plants that occur along xeric river terraces may depend upon the scouring effects of flooding for colonization and seed dispersal. Many of the dawnflower's seeds germinate right after falling from the plant, and consequently the importance of seedbank recruitment and seed dormancy to population dynamics is unclear (TNC 1993).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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