Plants and Animals

Gentiana alba White gentian

species photo
Brad Slaughter

Key Characteristics

Stout forb (50-90 cm) of dry-mesic and mesic prairies and savannas; leaves greenish-yellow, opposite, widest near the base; flowers creamy-white.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Cass21999
Kalamazoo21939
Kent11901
St. Clair11900
St. Joseph11838
Washtenaw51981

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 in dry or moist prairies and oak woodlands.

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

Big bluestem, little bluestem, cordgrass, prairie coreopsis, wild geranium, pale-leaved sunflower, false boneset, smooth sumac, rosin weed, yellow-pimpernel, hoary vervain, prairie violet, golden alexanders, black oak, white oak, pin oak, hickory, sassafras, service berry, New Jersey tea, beaked hazelnut.

Management Recommendations

Protect habitat and hydrological and natural disturbance regimes. This species likely requires natural disturbances associated with prairie habitat such as prescribed fire or brush removal to prevent woody plant succession. Significant increases in vegetative and reproductive vigor have been observed following early spring and late fall burns. Much of this habitat type has been lost or severely degraded. Many prairie remnants are vulnerable to common right-of-way maintenance activities such as mowing, herbiciding, and bulldozing.

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 August to third week of September

      Survey Method Comment:
      oak barrens and prairie remnants

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

  • Cooperrider, T.S. 1995. The Dicotyledonae of Ohio Part 2. Linaceae through Campanulaceae. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 656pp.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 622pp.