Polytaenia nuttallii
Prairie parsley
Image of Polytaenia nuttallii

Photo by Robert W. Freckmann 

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Key Characteristics

Tall forb (50-100 cm) of dry prairies; alternate leaves twice-divided forming narrow (3-10 mm), toothed leaflets; tiny yellow flowers are borne in compound umbels, with very narrow bracts at the base of the large umbels and no bracts beneath the smaller umbellets.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Joseph11837
Distribution map for Polytaenia nuttallii

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


The single Michigan collection (1837) was collected from the mesic or dry-mesic Sturgis Prairie. In Illinois and Wisconsin, the species is known from dry to wet-mesic prairies, small openings, or on natural borders of dry to dry-mesic forest dominated by black and white oak on loamy sand.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Flowering spurge, Pennsylvania sedge, bush-clover, tick-trefoil, Ohio spiderwort, New Jersey tea, rockrose (Helianthemum spp.), and bracken fern.


This species likely requires management that maintains openings. Optimal management would include prescribed burns to perpetuate open prairie habitats and forest edges.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Aug 16, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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