CPC Plant Profile: Streak-sorus Fern
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Plant Profile

Streak-sorus Fern (Thelypteris pilosa var. alabamensis)

Image of Thelypteris burksiorum Photo Credit: Wayne Barger, Ph.D.
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Pteridophyta
  • State: AL
  • Nature Serve ID: 159675
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 12/01/2021

Alabama streak-sorus fern is a small evergreen fern named for its arrangement of sori in streaks (spore-producing sacs on the leafs under surface). After the only known locality in Winston County, Alabama was destroyed by bridge construction in 1960 (Dean 1969), the fern was eventually rediscovered in 1975 (Short and Freeman 1978). The fern is currently known to occur along four miles of the Sipsey Fork (Gunn 1991, 1994) and largely falls within William Bankhead National Forest.

Updates
  • 09/30/2020
  • Genetic Research

Enzyme analysis showed low genetic variation among different locations of Alabama streak-sorus fern (Watkins and Farrar 2005).

  • 09/30/2020
  • Propagation Research

Watkins and Farrar (2005) self-fertilized Alabama streak-sorus ferns and produced a small number of adult plants, however, cross-fertilizations resulted in no adult plants.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Currently, the known range of this species is limited to a 4 mile stretch along a single river tributary in Winston County, Alabama. It is locally abundant there, with at least 2 extensive populations. Threats include development, upslope forest loss, recreational use, and raising of water levels.

Anna W. Strong and Alfred Schotz
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat destruction caused by development (USFWS 1996). Logging could lead to changes in habitat hydrology and solar radiation (USFWS 1996). Recreational user impacts (USFWS 1996).

Anna W. Strong and Alfred Schotz
  • 01/01/2010

17 occurrences along a 4 mile stretch of the Sipsey Fork (Gunn 1991, 1994).

Anna W. Strong and Alfred Schotz
  • 01/01/2010

Frond and spore morphology and gametophyte and molecular biology were examined by Watkins and Farrar (2002, 2005). Watkins and Farrar (2005) self-fertilized Alabama streak-sorus ferns and produced a small number of adult plants, however, cross-fertilizations resulted in no adult plants. Enzyme analysis showed low genetic variation among different locations of Alabama streak-sorus fern (Watkins and Farrar 2005).

Anna W. Strong and Alfred Schotz
  • 01/01/2010

The U.S. Forest Service conducts periodic status surveys to monitor the population.

Anna W. Strong and Alfred Schotz
  • 01/01/2010

A long-term assessment as to how the species reacts to droughts and the larger problem of climate change. In the larger populations, it would be beneficial to incorporate demographic monitoring so general trends could be tracked.

Anna W. Strong and Alfred Schotz
  • 01/01/2010

More extensive germinations/propagations are needed to establish official protocols. Seed banking the spores would ensure future ability to maintain the population against catastrophic events along the Sipsey Fork.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Thelypteris pilosa var. alabamensis
Authority Crawford
Family Pteridophyta
CPC Number 4283
ITIS 194766
USDA THPIA
Common Names Alabama streak-sorus fern | Alabama maiden fern
Associated Scientific Names Thelypteris pilosa var. alabamensis | Leptogramma pilosa var. alabamensis | Leptogramma pilosa | Stegnogramma pilosa var. alabamensis
Distribution Winston County, Alabama
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S1
Habitat

In sandstone rockhouses and exposed cliff faces on the Sipsey Fork, a tributary of the Black Warrior River. The rockhouses create a microclimate with constant moisture and temperature that allows for a unique association of temperate plants.

Ecological Relationships

Endemic to cool, humid microclimates of sandstone rockhouses.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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