CPC Plant Profile: Leedy's Roseroot
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Plant Profile

Leedy's Roseroot (Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. leedyi)

A close view of the red-orange flowers of this species. Photo Credit:
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • State: MN, NY
  • Nature Serve ID: 140095
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

This subspecies is a glacial relic of the Pleistocene that was widespread at the end of the last glaciation but has become extremely rare in the warmer temperatures of post-glaciation climates. Unfortunately, human activities have exacerbated this decline by disturbing the remaining habitat where this subspecies can still survive. Today it is found in a very unique system that experiences much cooler temperatures than surrounding areas due to cool air that rises through cracks from subterranean caves. This air is thought to create small areas where the temperature more closely resembles that of the Pleistocene Era. These small systems are extremely vulnerable to dumping in sinkholes, clearcutting of upland trees, and anything that alters the water quality and hydrology including development and the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. As relics, this subspecies is a living fossil that can provide us with a tremendous amount of information about the organisms that lived during the Pleistocene. If we lose this plant, we lose a vital clue to our own history as well as the history of the earth. Perennial plant with waxy leaves. Can tolerate period of water stress. Elongated leafy stem that can become limp in dry weather. Closely packed leaves arise from main stem. Leaves are irregularly toothed and sometimes not toothed at all. Male and female flowers born on separate plants. Flowers have 4-5 petals, and dense heads of flowers at the and of leafy stems. Blooms are dark red, and can be yellow or orange.

Participating Institutions
Updates
Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

There are only 5 confirmed, extant occurrences - 3 in southeastern Minnesota and 2 over 1300 km away in western New York. All the populations are narrowly restricted to specific habitat conditions created in places where ground water and cool air seep through rocks. Housing development is taking place in the immediate vicinity of some Minnesota sites, threatening to disrupt the subsurface water flow that creates the unusual unique habitat. Taxonomic distinctiveness of the subspecies generally accepted. This taxon is of conservation concern due to its very specific habitat requirements, disjunct occurrences, and small population sizes.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Increased runoff from disturbed land Lakeside residential development and concurrent tree clearing Ground water contamination Hydrologic changes (USFWS 1992)

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

There are two sites in upstate New York as described above. Watkins Glen only has one individual present although it is in good condition. Four populations are found in Minnesota with each containing several thousand plants. (USFWS 1992) Only the populations at Watkins Lake and Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, Minnesota are located on public land.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. leedyi
Authority (Rosend. & J.W. Moore) H. Ohba
Family Crassulaceae
CPC Number 7501
ITIS 894370
USDA RHINL
Common Names doseroot | leedy's roseroot | Leedy's stonecrop
Associated Scientific Names Sedum integrifolium ssp. leedyi | Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. leedyi | Sedum rosea var. leedy | Sedum roseum var. leedyi
Distribution Minnesota (Fillmore and Olmsted Co.) and upstate New York (Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen) (USFWS 1992)
State Rank
State State Rank
Minnesota S1
New York S1
Habitat

Likes cool cliffs. Lives on 'moderate' cliffs, which are cliffs where there are cracks in the rock that go to underground caves, so cold air can come up under the plant. Occasionally the underground caves connect aboveground and uphill from sinkholes. Generally lives on cool water-fed limestone cliffs. Lives on talus slopes or cliffs in which ground water maintains a cool, wet environment throughout the summer. (Sather 1996; USFWS 1992)

Ecological Relationships

This subspecies is generally associated with other species that are dependent on the unusual conditions of these cliff habitats including Whitlow grass and two rare snails of the genus Navisuccinea. (USFWS 1992)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Flies
Syrphid flies Syrphid flies Confirmed Pollinator Link
Other
insects Confirmed Pollinator Link

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