Plants and Animals

Zizia aptera Prairie golden alexanders

species photo
Susan R. Crispin
species photo
Merel Black
species photo
Robert W. Freckmann
species photo
Ryan P. O'Connor
species photo
Ryan P. O'Connor
species photo
Ryan P. O'Connor

Key Characteristics

Low forb of dry open hillsides; basal leaves broadly heart-shaped, stem leaves divided into three segments, all leaves finely toothed; tiny yellow flowers are borne terminally in flat-topped umbels, the central floret stalkless, with fruits that have pronounced ribs.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1S2 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from critically imperiled to imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Gogebic12009
Kent41985
Mackinac11986
Newaygo11988

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.

Habitat

Prairie golden alexanders occurs on steep, gravelly, west or south-facing hillsides dominated by oak and white pine.

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

Black oak, white oak, chinquapin oak, big and little bluestem, alum root, kitten-tails, black-eyed susan, shrubby cinquefoil, ox-eye daisy, self-heal, yarrow, Carex capillaris, C. castanea, harebell, Indian paintbrush, and wood lily.

Management Recommendations

This species benefits from maintenance of the savanna community. Brush removal and prescribed burns are recommended. Sites tend to heavily brush in without the natural disturbance regime. Most examples of these sites are small and becoming degraded through further landscape fragmentation and lack of management. Many sites have also been lost to development, as the hillsides are often prime real estate overlooking scenic vistas.

Survey Methods

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

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of June to fourth week of July

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Deam, C. C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Department of Conservation, Indianapolis. 1236pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. T.M. Barkley, Editor. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. 1392pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. 1986. Guide to the Vascular Flora of Illinois. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 507pp.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1985. Michigan Flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae-Cornaceae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 724pp.