Scientific Name: Braya fernaldii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Newfoundland and Labrador
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2012
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Image of Fernald's Braya
The plant is an erect perennial with long, fleshy basal leaves. It has a green to purplish scape (stalk growing directly from ground) covered in soft down which reaches a height of 1-7 cm or more. A deep taproot anchors the plant and reaches adequate moisture. Leaves are glaucous (greyish-green to blue) and spatula-shaped with pointed ends; they measure 1-4 cm in length and 1-3 mm in width. Clusters of small white flowers with petals 2-4 mm long and 1-1.3 mm wide are held within four oval, green to purple-tinged sepals, and are connected individually to a stalk. The septum margins are broadly expanded at the base, forming a sack-like pouch which is covered in soft down. A single row of 10-16 seeds is situated at the bottom of the pouch. As with all members of the mustard family, the flowers have four tall and two short stamens (male fertilizing organs). This species is similar to Long's braya in general appearance, but it has smaller petals, smaller and more purplish sepals, and a pubescent (as opposed to hairless) pouch.
Distribution and Population
Fernald's braya is endemic to Newfoundland. It has been reported in up to 15 isolated locations, although population sizes (from one to more than 200 plants) were known for only four sites. According to estimates from the summer of 2000, there are approximately 3500 plants in 14 sites, and populations appear to be stable.The plant has been located in the northern half of Great Northern Peninsula as far south as Point Riche, and as far north as Burnt Cape. Nine of the 15 known sites were documented in 1925, when the plant was common in the Straits region, but six of these nine sites have not been located since, due to their small size or destruction of the habitat. Seven of the 15 sites have been subjected to natural disturbances, which suggests that disturbances may be beneficial.
The plant favours limestone barrens characterized by tundra-like vegetation and shallow calcareous soils, including areas with loose limestone gravels. Such gravels are found on abandoned roadbed and quarry sites. These sites are often windswept in winter, exposing the plants to extreme winter cold and scouring winds. Since frost prevents other plants from establishing in these sites, Fernald's braya has an ecological advantage in disturbed areas.
The plant is self-pollinating, and has a highly successful seed set. It dies back to crown in winter and regrows each spring. The life span is only several years. Wind is the main means of seed dispersal, but seeds are usually only carried a short distance. This factor explains why a population can't establish itself in a new area once its site is destroyed.
The population is easily maintained in areas with continued natural disturbances provided it has an appropriate habitat and seed source, although the extraction of resources and uncontrolled development do present a threat to the species. Man-made locations have provided suitable habitat, but too much traffic or quarrying can destroy a site. Road construction has destroyed a large percentage of coastal limestone barrens in Newfoundland during the past 20 years. Local construction has tapped limestone barrens. When the population size is low, predation by moth larvae becomes a limiting factor. All-terrain vehicles and other vehicle traffic also threaten small populations. Recently, the newly established threat of mortality due to a non-native insect is being investigated; at this point, the effects of the insect on the recovery of the plant cannot be determined.
Federal ProtectionThe Fernald's Braya 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.
Fernald's Braya occurs on Coast Guard property, which is federal land protected under SARA. It also occurs within Port au Choix National Historic Site, where it is protected under the Canada National Parks Act. In addition, it is protected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, trade, or possess members of this species. It occurs within Watt's Point and Burnt Cape ecological reserves.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Long’s Braya (Braya longii) and the Fernald’s Braya (Braya fernaldii) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Limestone Barrens Species at Risk Recovery Team, NL
Susan Squires - Chair/Contact - Government of NL
Phone: 709-637-2963 Fax: 709-637-2080 Send Email
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.
7 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Residence Description (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
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