Plants and Animals

Corispermum americanum American bugseed

Key Characteristics

Short, bushy annual plant of bare sandy soil; up to 50 cm tall and nearly as wide; many leaf-tips possessing dark, non-green points (i.e., mucros); inflorescence elongate-linear and loosely-flowered; fruits obovate, spotted, extending beyond thin perianth with conspicuous, papery, 0.25 to 0.60 mm wide wings. Specimens of C. americanum have historically been misapplied to the Eurasian species, C. hyssopifolium and C. nitidum. which differ primarily in lacking wings on fruits, and having rounder, non-spotted fruits, respectively.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5? - Secure (inexact)
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Berrien 2 2005
Cheboygan 1 1974
Marquette 2 2018
Ottawa 1 1900
Schoolcraft 1 1905
Van Buren 1 1951
Washtenaw 1 2011

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.


Primarily occurs on beaches and dunes of Lakes Michigan and Superior in areas with open, sandy soils. Occasionally found inland in disturbed, sandy or gravelly sites such as lawns and agricultural fields.

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

Wild wormwood (Artemisia campestris), seaside spurge (Euphorbia polygonifolia), fragrant cudweed (Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium), and Canada yew (Taxus canadensis).

Management Recommendations

This species likely requires regular soil disturbance. In open dune habitats, this species requires maintenance of natural dune processes (e.g. shoreline fluctuation, erosion, sand deposition, water level fluctuation, and sand movement) that create microsites for seedling recruitment. Protect occupied habitat and adjacent habitat, particularly to allow for temporal and spatial change in habitat with fluctuation of the Great Lakes. Avoid residential development and artificial dune stabilization in and adjacent to occupied habitat. Vulnerable to off-road vehicle damage and excessive foot traffic.

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 third week of August to second week of October


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

  • 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.
  • Mosyakin, S.L. 1995. New taxa of Corispermum L. (Chenopodiaceae), with preliminary comments on taxonomy of the genus in North America. Novon 5: 340–353.
  • Mosyakin, S.L. 2003. Corispermum. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 19+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 4, pp. 313–320. Available at:
  • Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.