December 2009: Two Grasses new to the flora of Wisconsin
Annual rabbit’s-foot grass (Polypogon
Perennial quaking-grass (Briza
Steve Garske of the Great Lake Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) has been one of the most productive Wisconsin botanists in the last decade. His collections are outstanding for the rarity of his finds (including native and introduced species) as well as for their quality and comprehensive label data. His latest discovery is perennial quaking-grass (Briza media), which is apparently sparingly established at a site in Ashland County. It is a European species previously known in the Midwest from only a few collections in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Sept. 2006 Flattened oatgrass (Danthonia compressa Austin), new to Wisconsin. Flattened oatgrass (Danthonia compressa Austin) is an eastern North American species that was previously known to occur west to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where it is known from all four counties adjoining the northern Wisconsin border. On August 9, 2006, U.S. Forest Service botanist Steven R. Janke collected the first Wisconsin record of this species from Forest County, in the large Headwaters Wilderness Area. Steve found this grass growing along an old roadbed (now a hiking trail) in partial shade near where the trail approaches a wetland edge; the substrate is well drained but near the watertable, and the overstory has balsam fir, black spruce, alder, paper birch, and aspen. Flattened oatgrass differs from much commoner poverty oatgrass (Danthonia spicata) in its non-curling basal leaves, more open panicle with divergent lower branches, and lemmas with much longer teeth (2-4 mm), each tooth ending in a 6-10 mm long awn.
Apr. 2006 - Paradise bush, Mezereon (Daphne mezereum L.), a new exotic shrub for Wisconsin. This plant has been found extensively in the woods of Vilas County. It is an escape from cultivation and is very toxic especially the berries and twigs. It can also cause a choking sensation or an exzema type rash.
Nov. 2005 - We've added a new point distribution maps based on latitude and longitude. With this map, one can zoom in and out, overlay a satellite view of the terrain and link directly to the underlying specimens by clicking on a point. Most of the specimen data for Wisconsin uses the town/range/section grid developed in the mid 1800's. This data has been converted to latitude and longitude for mapping purposes but the accuracy is still only to, at best, 1/8 mile. In the case where only a location name was used the accuracy reduces to within 5-6 miles. If the specimen contains latitude and longitude data that was obtained either with a GPS unit or from computer software, the point is as accurate as that reading. The code following the specimen number indicates the approximate level of accuracy. To view the map for a specific plant, click on the link below the thumbnail map on the plant's detailed page (top right corner). The original Town Range distribution map will give a larger set of specimens per "dot" then the new point map. Sample for Abies balsamea - with link to point map.
Nov. 2005 - Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium now with about 200,000 specimens. The Robert W. Freckmann herbarium accessioned its 140,000 vascular plant specimen on October 20, 2006. The collection of Monotrops hypopithys was made by UWSP alumnus (and Bob Freckmann student, and current editor of the Botanical Club of Wisconsin newletter) Patrick Goggin in Forest County in 2002. It was mounted by student worker Anna DeMers. Including bryophytes, lichens, and fleshy fungi, the herbarium now has about 200,000 specimens
Oct. 2005 - Horsetail spikerush (Eleocharis equisetoides) re-discovered in Wisconsin after 112 years. Most spikerushes (Eleocharis in the Cyperaceae or sedge family) are inconspicuous grasslike plants of shallow water and mud flats. However, the horsetail spikerush (Eleocharis equisetoides) is exceptional in its relatively large size and jointed stems – like a species of horsetail (Equisetum). The only known Wisconsin population, collected in a fen at a lake in Madison, Dane County, in 1893, has not been relocated since that time. It was a great surprise, then, when Kelly Wagner collected this species in a lake in Waushara County on 7 September 2005. The specimen was relayed by Dr. Susan Knight to Dr. Bob Freckmann of the UW-Stevens Point herbarium, who confirmed the identification. Horsetail spikerush is a regionally rare plant. There are no collections from Minnesota and Iowa, the lone Illinois population from Cook County has not been seen since 1890, and there are only a handful of sites from the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Sep. 2005 - Running strawberry bush (Euonymus obovatus), a new native shrub for Wisconsin. In September 2005, UW-Stevens Point student John G. Zaborsky discovered a healthy population of running strawberry bush (Euonymus obovatus) in a second-growth sugar maple – basswood woodlot in Outagamie County north of Appleton. A low, sprawling shrub, strawberry bush was previously known from the southern half of the lower peninsula of Michigan and throughout Illinois up to the counties bordering Wisconsin -- but has never been found in Wisconsin until now. John reports that the under story of the woodlot had native mesophytic species, few exotics, and that the long-time owners of the tract report that the strawberry bush was not a relict of cultivation. This represents a range extension of 125 miles north of the nearest occurrence of Euonymus obovatus in Lake County, Illinois.
Aug. 2005 - 4 new additions to the Wisconsin flora including one Rare Fern Ally. Drs. Michael Vincent (Miami University, Ohio) and Thomas Lammers (UW-Oshkosh) announced their findings in The Michigan Botanist 44:1-7. Cardimine flexulosa With. (bending bitter-cress), Chamaesyce hirta (L.) Millsp. (pillpod sandmat), Cucurbita pepo L. (field pumpkin), and the native and rare Lycopodiella margueritae J.G. Bruce, W.H. Wagner & Beitel (northern prostrate club-moss). This paper also lists many other new county records for our state. The first three non-native species are considered recent escapes from cultivation, the first two as weeds from greenhouses. The native club-moss is a recently named taxa (Michigan Bot. 30: 9. 1991) that is listed as rare in the few locations it has been found, one in neighboring Michigan.
Aug. 2005 - Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris). The first Wisconsin record of butterwort outside of the Apostle Islands was discovered by Joshua Horky (with a little assistance from Derek Anderson), two UW-Superior students. In late July, Josh found one small colony growing among breakwater rocks of Lake Superior in Douglas County; it appeared that one of the rosettes did produce a flower earlier in the summer. The origins of this population are a bit of a mystery to them, as the breakwater is not a natural feature. Dr. Emmet Judziewicz confirmed the find from photos taken by Josh and noted that it shows that the species can colonize long distances, possibly from seeds sloshing around the big lake; there is a (native) record from the Minnesota shoreline not far away. This is yet another surprise from the area; several years ago a plant of dune thistle (Cirsium pitcheri) was found there, far disjunct from its range in the eastern part of Lake Superior and beyond.
July 2005 - Keys to the Compositae of Wisconsin - by Dr. Robert Kowal. Dr. Kowal, emeritus professor of Botany- UW-Madison, has assembled an interactive key to the Wisconsin Aster Family. The nomenclature reflects the changes that will be seen in the new Flora of North America due to be published in the near future. This work makes identifying Wisconsin species within this difficult family more manageable. We thank Dr. Kowal for this contribution.
May 2005- Garlic Mustard Bio-Control. -Kelly Kearns, WDNR
Folks - Before garlic mustard biocontrol agents are ready for release we need to have related species tested to see if the insects feed on them. Please see Luke's note below and help him get some plants if you can. Click for more information on Alliaria petiolata including where populations have been found in the past.
Currently 2 of the insects being tested are in a containment facility at UMN.
Several other insects that seem like good biocontrol agents are not yet in the
country and need to be brought in and tested on other host plants. After host
test studies are done, UMN and Cornell will be applying for a permit to
release the insects. That permit application goes through a fairly extensive
review process by a team of representatives of several federal agencies. Once
approved, the insects can be released at pilot test sites. The earliest this
could happen for the 2 insects already in the country is 2007. It will take
longer for the insects not yet in the country. For more details on all of
The earliest releases will be done at sites where pre-release data has been collected for at least one year prior to release. See the attached site for details about sites selection and monitoring protocol. If you feel you have found a good site for long-term monitoring and want to start monitoring, let me know about it. These sites should be large infestations in areas where no other control for garlic mustard will be occurring over the next 10 years. So good natural areas that you really want cleared of garlic mustard are NOT good candidates, unless you are certain there is no way any other control efforts will be made.
Please do NOT put off controlling garlic mustard on important sites in hope for insects to come eat it up! Large scale production and release of the insects is several years off, and we have no guarentee that it will be successful. If in doubt - pull, spray and burn now!
Subject: Need for Addition test plants for Garlic Mustard biocontrol
Luke Skinner, Invasive Species Program, Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources
Hello Everyone, just putting out a notice that we need additional test plants for the garlic mustard biocontrol development. We are looking for volunteers to collect and ship 20 plants of each species to us. I can provide pre-paid shipping containers if you have access to one of these species. This is a great time of the year to get the plants before they bloom (if possible). We prefer early season collections, but will take what we can get.
The plant species we are looking for are:
Draba reptans (Carolina whitlow grass) - S. WI
Rorippa palustris (common yellow cress)- all over WI
Descurainia pinnata (tansy mustard) - subsp. brachycarpa - S. WI
Thlaspi alliaceum (roadside pennycress)- eastern midwest, not WI
Dentaria heterophylla - eastern midwest, not WI
NOTE FOR WI FOLKS: In addition to the plants Luke is wanting, we would also like to get some of the rare brassicas in WI tested. If you are in the vicinity of the locations mentioned for any of the plants below and would like to help with collecting them, please contact Brock Woods or Kelly Kearns for details on where to find the plants and getting the appropriate permits.
Draba lanceolata (endangered)- one location in Door Co.
Arabis missouriensis (special concern) - good location in Oconto Co, several others in NE WI
Arabis shortii (special concern) - one location in Green Co. near the Sugar River/Pine Bluff
Draba arabisans (special concern) - several locations in Dodge, Fond du Lac and Door Co.
Cardamine maxima (special concern)- one old record in Ashland Co.
Cardamine pratensis (special concern) - Several locations in NE WI, esp. Door Co + Sapa Bog, Ozaukee Co.
November 2004. Two new taxa added to the Wisconsin Flora. Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Siebold & Zucc.) Planch. (Boston Ivy) and Cornus drummondii C.A.Mey. (Drummond's dogwood, rough-leaved dogwood). Ted Cochrane, UW-Madison Herbarium curator, recently collected specimens of both of these plants in the Madison area. The ivy was an obvious escape from cultivation. The dogwood, whose status was listed as "introduced", was at first also thought to be an escape since no other specimen was known for this species. However upon closer examination, 2 specimens were found to reside at the Gray Herbarium at Harvard. Cochrane wrote "Cornus drummondii we're apparently going to have to list as native, because there are two old collections from WI in the Gray Herbarium, one each by Lapham and Hale." The other evidence he noted was that "Cornus drummondii is listed specifically for WI in Gleason & Cronquist's Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada and Fernald's update of Gray's New Manual of Botany." If, upon re-examination, the 2 older collections in the UW-Platteville's herbarium for this Cornus prove to be this taxon, then the status of "native" will be reinforced.
This is an example of the difficulty in determining the native or non-native status of the more than 3000 taxa occurring in Wisconsin.
October 2004. Coreopsis tripteris L. is now confirmed in Wisconsin. Once thought to be an excluded species even though there were several visual reports of this plant growing wild in Wisconsin, no specimen collection had ever been made to verify its existence. Now Patrick Robinson, Northeast Region Ecologist for the Bureau of Endangered Resources of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Green Bay, has found a population of about 20 stems in Winnebago County in a roadside prairie remnant associated with big bluestem, switch grass, yellow coneflower, and rough blazing star.
Ted Cochrane, herbarium curator for UW-Madison, explains his rationale for this plants new status. "Pat's pictures show a tangled, weedy-looking patch of vegetation - which may be the plant's preferred natural habitat vis-a-vis unadulterated prairie - and coreopsis plants close to the road surface. Its presence on a highway roadside in a populous part of the state arouses suspicion. There is no reason why these plants could not have escaped from cultivation or been introduced somehow from farther south. If native, why wasn't Coreopteris tripteris identified as a member of the WI flora by local botanists long ago (it was by botanists in the East, A. Gray having listed it for our state as early as 1887)? There are very rare native plants in the eastern part of the state, of course, but they were found, and often before 1900 (e.g., Sisyrinchium angustifolium, Erigenia bulbosa, Valerianella chenopodifolia) by people like Lapham and Oppel and Shinners. Has the coreopsis been in the spot where Pat found it all along, or has it always been in the area but very rare, hanging on in some out-of-the-way place, from which it dispersed naturally in recent years to the newly discovered site? In either case the population would, of course, qualify as "native" even though native plants are usually defined narrowly, that is, as those assumed to have been present in some part of WI prior to European settlement. In that sense Coreopsis tripteris would not be native if it arrived here later unless we are willing to expand the definition of native to include plants thought to have arrived in recent years via natural migration from adjoining out-of-state areas in which they are undisputedly native"
September 2004 -Another new species reported for Wisconsin! Gary Fewless, curator of the herbarium at UW-Green Bay, discovered a population of strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum L.) in Brown and Kewaunee Counties. The first population was found in 2002 but has spread and persisted. He has listed this information in more detail on their website.
September 2004 -First Wisconsin location found for Six-angled spurge (Euphorbia hexagona Nutt.). On September 9, 2004, Marcie O’Connor, an amateur botanist from St. Paul, Minnesota, discovered the first Wisconsin site for six-angled spurge (Euphorbia hexagona Nutt.). She found it growing in a roadside sand prairie in Pierce County, near the Mississippi River (specimen deposited at UWSP). There are five known collections from adjacent Goodhue County, Minnesota. As a native plant, six-angled spurge ranges from Montana to the Dakotas, south to New Mexico and Missouri. It slightly resembles our common flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata) but is a more slender annual with small, linear, pointed leaves and inflorescences lacking white, petaloid involucral bracts. Whether the species is native or introduced at this site is uncertain; the sand prairie had both natives and exotics.
August 2004: Wisconsin Invasive Plants Reporting &
Prevention Project. An Early Detection and Strategic Response Initiative
co-sponsored by the Wisconsin DNR and the Wisconsin State Herbarium, and with
the cooperation of many organizations and individuals.
The goals are :
Identify and report populations of target invasive weed species
Eliminate or contain those populations before they spread
Coordinate long-term monitoring of occurrence sites
May 2004 -Second known Wisconsin location found for Smith's melic grass (Melica smithii). Eric Kroening, a student at UW-Stevens Point working in the Penokee Range in the Iron County Forest in 2003, discovered only the second known site for Smith's melic grass (Melica smithii). He found it growing in a rich hardwood forest on a steep, east-facing slope near the village of Iron Belt, and deposited a collection at the UWSP herbaium. The only other collection of the species in Wisconsin was made in 1971 near Mellen, Ashland County, by Robert R. Kowal. Eric also discovered several new sites for the following rare pteridophytes: Braun's holly fern (Polystichum braunii), maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes), and fragrant fern (Dryopteris fragrans). He was on the lookout for nothern holly fern (Polystichum lonchitis), a species found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but not yet in Wisconsin, but did not find it... but maybe this year, as he will be doing field work there again.
May 2004- Changes in Wisconsin nomenclature and flora in part
as reflected in the recently published volumes (4, 22, 23, 25, 26) of The Flora of North
Major changes were made to families: Chenopodiaceae, Cyperaceae, Liliaceae, and Poaceae.
Minor changes were made to the families: Agavaceae, Alismataceae , Amaranthaceae, Cactaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Fabaceae, Fagaceae, Iridaceae, Juglandaceae, Juncaceae, Nyctaginaceae, Orchidaceae, Phytolaccaceae, Polygonaceae, Pontederiaceae, Portulacaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, Scrophulariaceae, and Smilacaceae.
View complete list.
Nov. 2003- New taxon for Wisconsin: Well, tucked away in a small herbarium at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville was a rare variety of the Wisconsin endangered chestnut sedge Fimbristylis puberula (Michx.) Vahl. Previously, chestnut sedge had been known only from var. puberula from Chiwaukee Prairie in Kenosha County in the southeastern corner of the state. Now a collection from southwestern Wisconsin, made in Grant County in 1941, has been determined by UW-Madison botanist Ted Cochrane to be a second variety: Fimbristylis puberula (Michx.) Vahl var. interior (Britton) Kral. Wisconsin is, or was, home to this Great Plains taxon. That is why herbaria are so important in documenting our flora; the specimen documenting this record was saved and only recognized 62 years later. What other treasures may be found in the state's many collections of plants?
Oct. 2003- Rediscovery of Eleocharis quadrangulata in the state, first collection since 1932.
This summer, aquatic biologists Crystal Olson, Mary Gansberg, and Scott Koehnke re-discovered a historical population of the endangered square-stem spikerush Eleocharis quadrangulata in the shallow water in sand of Lake Shawano in Shawano County. This is no wimpy little sedge but a robust aquatic emergent with square stems (unusual in a monocot). Much of Lake Shawano's bottom was exposed this year because of a major precipitation shortfall. This apparently represents the first record of square-stem spikerush in the state since a 1932 Adams County collection. Ted Cochrane, curator of UW-Madison's herbarium, verified the identification.
Sept. 2003- Prenanthes crepidinea blooms again. Mark Mittelstadt, an Iowa County landowner and consulting forester, reported that his rare population of great white lettuce has bloomed for the first time since 1998! In his account of the history of his plants, he states that the plants are usually just basal leaves which die back in mid-summer without blooming. This year 2 of the plants started to put up the tall flowering stem in June and then opened in September. His property is being managed for restoration of several rare plants along with timber production and farming.
Plants of Wisconsin
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