Plants and Animals

Thaspium chapmanii Meadow-parsnip

Key Characteristics

Perennial forb of dry oak woods, savannas, and roadsides; up to 1 m tall; basal leaves twice- (occasionally thrice-) compound; leaflets with 3 to 5, or up to 7 coarse and irregular teeth or ovate-lanceolate lobes on a side; nodes pubescent with short stiff hairs; central flower of all umbellets staminate and pedicelled; petals yellow-cream; fruit with several distinct thin wings on each side, with granular-pubescence between the wings and no ribs present. Resembles T. trifoliatium, which differs by having simple or trifoliolate basal leafs, and finely-toothed leaflets.

Status and Rank

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


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Berrien 1 1932
Hillsdale 4 2014
Jackson 2 1948
Lenawee 1 1986
Monroe 2 1925

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.


The few reports of this more southern species in Michigan are from open oak-hickory woods and former savannas, including railroad rights-of-way and roadsides passing through former savannas. Found in dry to moist, generally sandy soil.

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

Limited data on associates from Michigan include poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), lopseed (Phryma leptostachya), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum). In the Chicago Region, associated with red maple (Acer rubrum), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), gray dogwood (Cornus foemina), hazelnut (Corylus americana), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum), white oak (Quercus alba), poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans),common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima), and riverbank grape (Vitis riparia).

Management Recommendations

This species most likely requires an open understory. Prevent woody plant encroachment by using prescribed fire or manual brush removal. Much of this habitat has been lost and degraded via conversion to agriculture, development, and fire suppression.

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 June to fourth week of August


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.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.