Upland Pine, Blackwater River State Forest. Photo by Gary Knight

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Species in Focus: Fringed Campion

Fringed campion (Silene polypetala).  Photo by Gary Knight.

Beautiful, rare, and flowering now, fringed campion (Silene polypetala) is a small herb (~12 inches tall) with showy lavender-colored, fringed flowers found in upland hardwood forests.  The species is known only from a small area of Florida and Georgia.  It is listed as endangered by Florida and Georgia, as well as the USFWS at the federal level.  FNAI ranks the species G2/S1.  The flowering period runs from March through May.

A status survey for Silene polypetala was conducted by FNAI in Gadsden and Jackson Counties during April and May of 2006.  Plants were relocated at all seven previously documented locations in the FNAI database.  Three new sub-populations were documented, including a location one mile south of the previous range limit.  No new populations were documented on the west side of the Apalachicola River despite searches in six potential areas, nor were any new populations documented on publicly-owned conservation lands.  A total population size of approximately 1500-2000 plants was estimated in 10 element occurrences—approximately half being found on not yet acquired portions of the Apalachicola River Florida Forever project (see the project boundary in the FNAI Conservation Lands map viewer).

Heritage Global Rank:    G2 (globally imperiled)
Heritage State Rank:       S1 (critically imperiled in Florida)
Federal/State Listing:     Both Federal and State Listed as Endangered
Element Occurrences:   10 (documented sub-populations)

Silene polypetala is one of 493 plants currently tracked by FNAI.

Note:  wild populations of this species are protected by state and federal law.  Cultivated plants are available from native plant nurseries for those interested in growing it.

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