Plants and Animals

Empetrum nigrum Black crowberry

species photo
Vicky L. Dunneritz
species photo
Susan R. Crispin

Key Characteristics

Low evergreen mat-forming shrub of rocky shores and fens in the Upper Peninsula; leaves crowded, linear, very short (>1 cm), with strongly rolled-under margins; flowers inconspicuous; fruits black, berry-like, borne in upper leaf axils.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger52006
Keweenaw91994
Luce31974
Mackinac42016

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

Found on sandstone rock outcrops, in open, marly cedar or black spruce fens, and on exposed sandy bluffs and pine-dominated dune ridges. There is one historic record from an acidic peatland complex.

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

Sphagnum moss, sedges, leatherleaf, bog rosemary, wild calla, round-leaved sundew, cotton-grass, swamp-laurel, large cranberry, small cranberry, three-leaved false Solomon's-seal, yellow lady's-slipper, showy lady's-slipper, Labrador tea, heart-leaved twayblade, blunt-leaf orchid, marsh fern, pitcher-plant,and bog birch.

Management Recommendations

Primarily requires perpetuation of hydrological regime and protection of habitat. Protect from excessive foot traffic and ORVs.

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 fourth week of June to fourth week of August

      Survey Method Comment:
      On hummocks in northern fens

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

  • Coffin, B. and L. Pfannmuller, eds. 1988. Minnesota's Endangered Flora and Fauna. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 473pp.
  • 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.
  • Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the Grasses of the United States. Second ed. Revised by A. Chase. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publications 200. 1051pp.
  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978. The Flora of Canada. National Museum of Natural Science Publications Botany 4: 1711pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1985. Michigan Flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae-Cornaceae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 724pp.