Plants and Animals

Ruppia cirrhosa Widgeon grass

species photo
Robert W. Freckmann
species photo
Robert W. Freckmann
species photo
Robert W. Freckmann

Key Characteristics

Small grass-like aquatic of highly calcareous lakes; leaves submerged and thread-like, up to 30 cm long; fruits asymmetrical on short to long stalks.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Mackinac11980

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

This largely marine species, which inhabits a diversity of coastal and estuarine habitats, is known in Michigan only from Manistique Lake in the Upper Peninsula, where it occurs in up to 8 feet of water on a peaty substrate.

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

Few associate data are known, as most collections of this species were made from plants uprooted and washed ashore. It has been noted to occur with Chara, a green alga.

Management Recommendations

This species possibly occurs as a post-glacial relict. Its persistence may be dependent on maintaining lake hydrology and preventing water pollution and potential impacts from excessive recreational activities. This submersed aquatic may possibly occur in other northern Michigan lakes.

Survey Methods

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

  • Meander search

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

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

  • Crow, G.E. and C.B. Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. Volume 1. Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms: Dicotyledons. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 480pp.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2000. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 22: Magnoliaphyta: Alismatidae, Arecidae, Commelinidae (in part), and Zingiberidae. Oxford University Press, New York. 352pp.
  • 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.
  • Godfrey, R.K. and Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States. Dicotyledons. University of Georgia Press, Athens. 712pp.
  • 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.
  • 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. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 488pp.