Scientific Name: Buchnera americana
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2011
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Image of Bluehearts
The Bluehearts is a perennial plant that reaches heights between 40 and 80 cm. The stem is unbranched and hairy with leaves that are opposite and sessile (without a stalk). The Bluehearts is generally parasitic, growing on the roots of a variety of trees, but it is not restricted to a parasitic lifestyle. In Ontario, the Bluehearts flowers from mid-July to early September. The flowers grow at the top of the plant and form a spike of deep purple, stemless flowers. Fruits are oblong in shape and about 7 mm long.
Distribution and Population
The Bluehearts is found in North America in 11 states from Ohio and Indiana to Georgia and Missouri, with the greatest numbers occurring in Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri. It is considered to be extirpated from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey and has a historical range throughout the district of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and New York. In six southern states, the status of this species is unknown. In Canada, the Bluehearts only occurs along a 10 km stretch of Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario. Its range has not changed since 1981. Currently, there are six extant (existing) populations of the Bluehearts found in Ontario. Based on the 1997 surveys, the number of plants in all extant populations totalled 553 individuals. The species has become extirpated from 2 previously known populations since 1981 due to housing developments in these areas.
The Bluehearts prefers moist sandy soils in open woods and prairies. In Ontario, the species can be found along the edges of wet depressions between sand dunes. Other species that thrive in these conditions and are often found in the same areas as the Bluehearts are: Butterfly Milkweed, Indian Grass, Little Bluestem, and Big Bluestem.
The Bluehearts is a hemiparasite, which means it is partially parasitic but is not restricted to this mode of life, and can mature without parasitic attachment. This species has been found growing on the roots of the Eastern White Pine, Green Ash, Cottonwood, White Oak and others. In large numbers, the Bluehearts has been known to damage small trees and during periods of stress such as drought conditions, the effects of this hemiparasite on its host are heightened. The small seeds of this species require light to germinate and are viable in soil for two to three years. It is unknown whether or not self-fertilization is possible to set seed.
Fluctuation of water levels plays an important role in the maintenance of the open habitat preferred by the Bluehearts. A major limiting factor to the continued existence of the species is the decrease in natural interdunal habitat due to development for housing and cottages. In addition, recreational activities pose an increasing threat to the survival of the species.
Federal ProtectionThe Bluehearts is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Bluehearts (Buchnera americana) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Bluehearts Recovery Team
Chris Risley - Chair/Contact - Government of Ontario
Phone: 705-755-1838 Fax: 705-755-1788 Send Email
Recovery Progress and Activities
Summary of Progress to Date Bluehearts populations at the Pinery, one of Ontario’s Provincial Parks, fluctuate widely in individual plant numbers from year to year. Based on annual monitoring, it appears that the numbers of Bluehearts within the park are decreasing. Recreational activities have been a documented threat to these plants and their habitat (i.e. wet meadow communities) for over two decades and continue to be a threat today. As well, succession by woody plants, particularly Eastern White Cedar, within the erected protection exclosures is a possible threat to Bluehearts and active management of the sites may be required. Increased monitoring of the Bluehearts populations within Pinery and the status of wet meadows is definitely required. Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities Within Pinery, Bluehearts populations are surveyed each year and have been since 1980. Individual plants are counted and GPS locations are taken for both individual plants that are isolated and numerous plants that are grouped together. Results from each year’s monitoring are documented and stored with results from previous years so that long term trends for Pinery’s population of Bluehearts may be observed. Summary of Recovery Activities Bluehearts at Pinery are protected from development, and two fenced exclosures were erected around the major populations in the 1980’s. One interpretive sign was designed and placed inside the exclosure to educate park visitors about the plant and its status. URLs Ontario Species at Risk: Blue Hearts:http://www.rom.on.ca/ontario/risk.php?doc_type=fact&id=51 Ontario Parks: The Pinery:http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/pine.html
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Exceptions (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
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