Arnoglossum plantagineum    Raf.

Tuberous Indian Plantain 


MN Status:
threatened
Federal Status:
none
CITES:
none
USFS:
none

Group:
vascular plant
Class:
Dicotyledoneae
Order:
Asterales
Family:
Asteraceae
Life Form:
forb
Longevity:
perennial
Leaf Duration:
deciduous
Water Regime:
terrestrial
Soils:
loam
Light:
full sun
Habitats:

(Mouse over a habitat for definition)


Best time to see:

 Foliage Flower Fruit 
Janspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Febspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Marspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Aprspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Mayspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Junspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Julspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Augspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Sepspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Octspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Novspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Decspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacerspacer
spacer
spacer
Minnesota range map
Map Interpretation
North American range map
Map Interpretation

  Synonyms

Cacalia plantaginea, Cacalia tuberosa

  Basis for Listing

Historical records indicate that Arnoglossum plantagineum (tuberous Indian plantain) was not formerly rare in Minnesota but has suffered a recent decline paralleling the nearly total conversion of its prairie habitat. The once continuous population that apparently ranged throughout southern Minnesota (Minnesota River Prairie, Oak Savanna, The Blufflands, Rochester Plateau, St. Paul-Baldwin Plains and Moraines, and Big Woods subsections) has been greatly reduced. This pattern of habitat loss is repeated across the northern portion of its range and has caused concern for its survival in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. Compounding this problem are the natural demographics of the species. Arnoglossum plantagineum normally occurs in very low densities; most populations have less than five plants. Consequently, the small remnant habitats that survive today have preserved few individuals and may be incapable of supporting viable populations.

Most of the surviving habitats for A. plantagineum are remnant prairie strips on railroad rights-of-way. For decades these prairies have been unavailable for agricultural use and persisted as native prairie. Railroad companies have been abandoning many rail lines in recent decades and selling the rights-of-way to adjacent landowners. Once sold, the rights-of-way are typically converted to crop production, which further reduces habitat availability. Arnoglossum plantagineum was listed as a threatened species in Minnesota in 1984.

  Description

Flowering individuals of A. plantagineum are quite distinctive. They possess a branched, flat-topped flowering cluster that is whitish in appearance. The heads are typically 5-flowered, and each flower is tubular and has both male and female parts. Stems are angled in cross-section and longitudinally grooved. Sterile individuals can be identified by the somewhat oval basal leaves that have long stalks with 5-7 nearly parallel veins.

  Habitat

In Minnesota, this species is largely restricted to native, mesic prairies in the southern portion of the state. A few populations are found on bluff prairies where the soil is dry. Many of these habitats are found on old railroad rights-of-way. Arnoglossum plantagineum frequently occurs with other declining prairie species such as Asclepias sullivantii (Sullivant's milkweed) and Parthenium integrifolium (wild quinine).

  Biology / Life History

Arnoglossum plantagineum is a long-lived perennial that reproduces only by seeds. Flowers are pollinated by insects. A tuft of bristly hairs surrounds the ovoid, somewhat flattened seeds of A. plantagineum. As with many plants in the sunflower family, these bristles may be caught by the wind or latch onto passing animals, dispersing the seed to other locales (Voss 2012).

  Conservation / Management

The continuing loss of undisturbed native prairie is the greatest threat to this plant. Some sites that formerly harbored A. plantagineum have been plowed quite recently. Herbicide drift from neighboring farm fields is a potential threat. Prescribed fire may be beneficial but only if carefully timed; it should be confined to the dormant season in early spring. Increased herbicide use by railroads for right-of-way management is an emerging threat.

  Best Time to Search

The best time to search for Arnoglossum plantagineum is when flowering, from June through August.

  Conservation Efforts in Minnesota

Several populations of this species occur on public land and are adequately protected from land conversion. However, these populations need careful management to persist and could suffer if conditions within their habitats deteriorate.

  Authors/Revisions

Welby R. Smith (MNDNR), 2021

(Note: all content ©MNDNR)

  References and Additional Information

Anderson, L. C. 2006. Arnoglossum. Pages 622-625 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, editors. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Volume 20. Oxford University Press, New York, New York.

Voss, E. G., and A. A. Reznicek. 2012. Field manual of Michigan flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1008 pp.


Back to top