Plants and Animals
Besseya bullii Kitten-tails
Small perennial forb (20-40 cm) of dry hillsides; prominent ovate basal leaves rounded at base; flowers yellow and small in a terminal spike.
Status and Rank
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled
|County||Number of Occurrences||Year Last Observed|
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.
Found exclusively on oak savanna remnants on steep hillsides, especially those adjacent to large rivers and lakes in southern Lower Michigan.
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.
Black oak, white oak, bastard toadflax, big and little bluestem, Eastern red cedar, side-oats grama grass, birdfoot violet, dwarf dandelion, alum root, hoary puccoon, beard-tongue, bush-clover, blazing star, downy phlox, hepatica, and pussy-toes.
The species requires the maintenance of the savanna community. Brush removal and prescribed burns are recommended, since sites tend to heavily brush in without natural disturbance regime. Most examples of these sites are small and becoming degraded through further landscape fragmentation and lack of management.
Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.
Survey Period: From second week of May to fourth week of June
- Survey Method Comment:
- Strongly associated with steep slopes above lakes and rivers
- 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.
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- 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.
- Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 622pp.