CPC Plant Profile: Texas Ayenia
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Plant Profile

Texas Ayenia (Ayenia limitaris)

Shaped like an inverted teardrop, the leaves of this species are hairy with toothed margins. Photo Credit: San Antonio Botanical Garden
Description
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Malvaceae
  • State: MX, TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 151636
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/05/1993

Ayenia limitaris is a 2-5 foot tall perennial herb/shrub with soft heart-shaped leaves. It belongs to the Sterculiaceae or Cacao family of plants. Cocoa and chocolate are derived from the seeds of the tropical American tree, Theobroma cacao L. (Correll and Johnston 1996). Like many of the South Texas endangered species, Ayenia limitaris' main threat is habitat destruction. This species once occurred in a subtropical riparian woodland that was found on the delta of the Rio Grande River. Today, less than 5% of this original habitat remains in small, isolated patches along fence rows, highway rights-of-way, canals, and ditch banks. Many activities have led to this, including conversion to agricultural fields, invasion of exotic grasses, herbicides, cattle grazing and stamping and over-collection are also many of this plants problems. (Correll and Johnston 1996; Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b).

Participating Institutions
CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.
Updates
  • 08/27/2020
  • Living Collection

At the San Antonio Botanical Garden plants are maintained and monitored in a cold frame and in test plots.

  • 08/27/2020
  • Propagation Research

The San Antonio Botanical Garden currently has plants in containers and in a test plot. Seed is being stored but comes from the plants in the test plot and is therefore not part of the core collection. Germination studies have been conducted but results were poor.

  • 08/27/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seeds need to be collected from the wild population and sent to the National Seed Storage Lab for long term storage. The San Antonio Botanical Garden currently has plants in containers and in a test plot. Seed is being stored but comes from the plants in the test plot and is therefore not part of the core collection.

  • 08/27/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seeds need to be collected from the wild population and sent to the National Seed Storage Lab for long term storage. The San Antonio Botanical Garden currently has plants in containers and in a test plot. Seed is being stored but comes from the plants in the test plot and is therefore not part of the core collection.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

There are few occurrences with few individuals - probably less than 1,000 in total. The species' global range is extreme southern Texas and a few reported localities in Coahuila and Tamaulipas, Mexico. There is an extremely limited amount of native habitat remaining in this range; most is now agricultural or urban. Chris Best, Lower Rio Grande NWR, knows of 6 extant populations: 4 in south Texas and 2 in Mexico, but suspects there are unknown populations. Rank of G2 suggested by Texas Heritage Program, May 2003.

Cindy Barrett
  • 01/01/2010

Agriculture Small genetic pool Habitat destruction due to development Introduction of non-native pasture grasses Herbicides used on pastures Irrigation, flood control, dam construction, water pollution, water quality degradation Human

Cindy Barrett
  • 01/01/2010

Exists in the United States in only one population containing approximately 20 individuals in Hidalgo county, Texas. Also found in the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. (Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b)

Cindy Barrett
  • 01/01/2010

The San Antonio Botanical Garden currently has plants in containers and in a test plot. Seed is being stored but comes from the plants in the test plot and is therefore not part of the core collection. Germination studies have been conducted but results were poor.

Cindy Barrett
  • 01/01/2010

At the San Antonio Botanical Garden plants are maintained and monitored in a cold frame and in test plots.

Cindy Barrett
  • 01/01/2010

Seed needs to be collected and germination studies performed.

Cindy Barrett
  • 01/01/2010

Seeds need to be collected from the wild population and sent to the National Seed Storage Lab for long term storage.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Ayenia limitaris
Authority Cristobal
Family Malvaceae
CPC Number 526
ITIS 21571
USDA AYLI
Common Names kidney petal | Texas ayenia | Rio Grande ayenia
Associated Scientific Names Ayenia limitaris | Nephropetalum pringlei
Distribution A small area in the Rio Grande Valley in Hidalgo County, Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico. (Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b)
State Rank
State State Rank
Mexico *FR85
Texas S1
Habitat

Found on terraces and floodplains in dense, subtropical woodlands in sandy, clay-loam soils of the Rio Grande Valley in the Brownsville area. (Correll and Johnston 1996; Texas Parks and Wildlife 2002b).

Ecological Relationships

Unknown.

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

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