CPC Plant Profile: Broom Crowberry
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Plant Profile

Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii)

A view of this evergreen shrub in fruit. Photo Credit: Jean Baxter
Description
  • Global Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Empetraceae
  • State: CAN, MA, ME, NB, NJ, NS, NY, PE, QC
  • Nature Serve ID: 156445
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Named after its discoverer, S. White Conrad (1779-1831), Corema conradii is one of the rarest plants in Massachusetts. It is a low, densely branched evergreen dioecious shrub with heath-like leaves and purplish flowers (Brown 1913, Norton 1913, Campbell and Hyland 1975). It belongs to a small genus distributed on both sides of the Atlantic and represented by only two species: one in Spain and Portugal, the other, C. conradii, on the Atlantic Coast of eastern North America (McEwen 1894, DiGregorio and Wallner 1989).

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 10/05/2020
  • Propagation Research

Individuals at the Botanic Garden of Smith College have studied germination of this species with only limited success. (2002) Propagation by seed: all treatments have shown low germination rates. Although seeds are abundant in nature, the natural mechanism that brings about germination is not yet known. Smoke treatment may bring about a higher germination rate. Propagation from hardwood cuttings: Oct-Jan in 50/50 sand-perlite under poly cover, with 2,500-500 ppm K-IBA treatment yields 80%+ rooting.

  • 10/05/2020
  • Reproductive Research

The reproductive investment of male and female plants has been studied by Rocheleau and Houle (2001)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Lack of frequent fire causing habitat succession Herbivory, especially deer browsing Shoreline or cliff erosion Human trampling Development in the form of quarrying, sand mining, housing or road construction

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Remaining sites and populations are largely unknown. The greatest abundance of C. conradii is known from New Jersey's Pinelands (Good et al. 1979). In 1983, populations were surveyed on the Provincetown Peninsula; occurrences were observed in relict dune ridges, pine barrens and along road embankments (LeBlond 1983).

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

The reproductive investment of male and female plants has been studied by Rocheleau and Houle (2001). Individuals at the Botanic Garden of Smith College have studied germination of this species with only limited success. (2002) Propagation by seed: all treatments have shown low germination rates. Although seeds are abundant in nature, the natural mechanism that brings about germination is not yet known. Smoke treatment may bring about a higher germination rate. Propagation from hardwood cuttings: Oct-Jan in 50/50 sand-perlite under poly cover, with 2,500-500 ppm K-IBA treatment yields 80%+ rooting.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

C. conradii is partially protected within state parks. For example, populations in the pine plains community in New Jersey and relict dune ridge areas in Provincetown are protected (Russel 1994, LeBlond 1983).

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

C. conradii needs to be consistently monitored and fire ecology in relation to all life history stages needs to be investigated (Mallik and Gimingham 1985, Fimbel and Kuser 1993).

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Corema conradii
Authority (Torr.) Torr. ex Loud.
Family Empetraceae
CPC Number 4461
ITIS 23750
USDA COCO9
Common Names broom crowberry | broom-crowberry | poverty grass | corème de Conrad | poverty-grass
Associated Scientific Names Corema conradii | Empetrum conradii | Colema arenaria | Endammia ericoides | Oakesia conradii | Tuckermania conradii
Distribution This species has a disjunct distribution (meaning a few, widely separated populations) occurring on sandy or rocky coasts from Nova Scotia to Massachusetts, in the New Jersey pine barrens, and in the
State Rank
State State Rank
Canada nothing
Massachusetts S3
Maine S3S4
New Brunswick S1
New Jersey S1
Nova Scotia S4
New York S1
Prince Edward Island S2
Quebec S3
Habitat

Corema is a plant of coastal plains. It grows on sandy soil, open sand, or siliceous rocky plateaus, ledges, and summits (Fernald 1921, Dunwiddie 1990, Dunwiddie et al. 1997). On open hilltops, it is found in pitch pine (Pinus rigida) stands, forming a springy carpet in pine barrens (Sorrie 1987). All of these habitats have relatively open light conditions, a requirement for the plant. This may be due to disturbance, often in the form of infrequent fire (Sorrie 1987).

Ecological Relationships

Fire directly kills adult plants but results in an abundant establishment of seedlings (Dunwiddie 1990). Plants can be extensively browsed by deer.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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