Solidago houghtonii

(Houghton's goldenrod)

To The User-

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>== 0012 STEW-AB8-RESP









>== 0016 PREPARER




>== 0020 NAME










The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1987a) described Solidago houghtonii as follows:

"This large-headed goldenrod, 8-20 inches tall, is characterized by a highly developed fibrous root system. The stem is slender and smooth, with a few tiny hairs on the upper portions. Leaves are smooth and linear, are alternately arranged, and number 7 to 15. The basal and lower leaves are up to 8 inches long and 3/8 inch wide, tapering and partially clasping the stem. The upper leaves are similar but reduced upwards. All leaves are weakly triple veined, acute, and scabrous. Inflorescences, which appear from midsummer until fall, consist of a few somewhat flat-topped clusters of 5-15 heads containing relatively large flowers. The stems of the inflorescence are hairy.,,

solidago houghtonii is superficially similar to hybrids produced between Aster ptarmicoides and S. ohioensis (Morton 1979). Flowering individuals of this hybrid have pale yellow flowers, which is immediately distinguishable from the golden yellow of S. houghtonii flowers. For a detailed examination of the characters separating these two plants, see Morton (1979). Semple and Ringius (1983) have suggested that the origin of S. houghtonii may lie with S. ridellii.



>== 1000 HABITAT


Houghton's goldenrod occurs on,or near the north shores of Lakes Huron and Michigan (Crispin and Penskar 1990, Penskar 1989, USFWS 1988b, USFWS 1987a; Guire and Voss 1963) in Michigan and Ontario. Two disjunct inland populations (one along a Jeep trail and the other on a lake shore) are known from the sands in the vicinity of Howes Lake in Crawford County, Michigan (Penskar 1990, Guire and Voss 1963). From its center of distribution (the Straits of Mackinac), S. houghtonii ranges 160 km west to Delta County, Michigan, and 280 km east to the Bruce Peninsula of Ontario (Penskar 1989). Currently, the species is known from 52 sites in nine Michigan counties (eight counties along Lakes Huron and Michigan and one county inland) and from seven sites in neighboring Ontario.

A past report by Guire and Voss (1963) suggested that S. houghtonii occurred in the vicinity of Bergen Swamp in New York State. Morton (1979) however, disputed the records, identifying the plants as a hybrid produced by the crossing of Solidago ohioensis and Aster ptarmicoides. Although phenotypically very similar, they are not genotypically identical to S. houghtonii.

Solidago houghtonii appears to occupy two distinct habitat types. Habitats occupied by S. houghtonii in the western portion of its range differ greatly than those occupied in the east, particularly in Ontario. In either habitat type, however, plants are typically situated so that they benefit from the cool, moist lake winds (Randall 1978).

In most Michigan sites, plants typically grow in the sparsely vegetated habitat of moist, sandy, interdunal depressions (USFWS 1988b, USFWS 1987a, Morton 1979, Guire and Voss 1963), rocky and cobbly shores, beach flats and calcareous beach sands (Crispin and Penskar 1990, MI NFI 1990, Penskar 1989). In dune areas, plants are usually situated on the leeward side of low foredunes, on low stabilized dunes, and on saturated sandy margins of interdunal wetlands (Penskar 1989). These sands are typically circumneutral (7.0)) or slightly alkaline (8.0) in pH and may possess a thin covering of organic matter. The greatest concentrations of S. houghtonii in the state occur in Chippewa, western Mackinac, northern Emmet, Cheboygan and northern Presque Isle Counties (Crispin and Penskar 1990). Each of these areas possess populations that cover over 1 mile of shoreline.

In the east (particularly in Ontario), S. houghtonii is almost totally restricted to the seasonably-wet alvar communities within the northern Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island and other Georgian Bay islands (Semple and Ringius 1983, Morton 1979). Also occupied in Ontario, but less frequently so, are sand dune habitats (Semple and Ringius 1983).

Common associates of S. houghtonii throughout its range include Solidago ohioensis, S. graminifolia, S. spathulata, Tofieldia glutinosa, Parnassia glauca, Lobelia kalmii, Potentilla fruticosa, P. anserina, Gentiana procera, Gentiana crinata, Elymus canadensis, Ammophila breviligulata, Calamovilfa longifolia, Schizachyrium scoparium, Artemesia caudata, Equisetum laevigatum, Agalinis purpurea, Geocaulon lividum, Zigadenus glaucus, Lathyrus japonicus, Smilacina stellata, Carex crawei, C. garberi, C. viridula, Eleocharis pauciflora, E. elliptical Juncus balticus, J. canadensis, Spiranthes cernua, Triglochin maritima, Calamagrostis canadensis, Saturjea arkansana, Cladium mariscoides, Muhlenbergia glomerata and Myrica gale (Crispin and Penskar 1990, MI NFI 1990, Penskar 1989).

The majority of inhabited sites have been strongly correlated with the presence of dolomitic limestone within the Niagara Escarpment (Penskar 1989), suggesting that the species may be a calciphile. It is also known that Houghton's goldenrod occupies habitat that may, at times, become seasonably dry (eg., backsides of dunes, alvar communities).





Solidago houghtonii is a hexaploid species (2n = 54) (Semple and Ringius 1983). Plants apparently remain in a basal rosette stage for one to six years before bolting and flowering. In some instances plants may persist and continue to live after flowering had occurred (Penskar 1989), suggesting that the species may be a polycarpic perennial.

Flower buds begin to form on S. houghtonii plants in July. Plants begin flowering in mid-summer (late July and August) and continue (at times) until October (Crispin and Penskar 1990, Penskar 1989, Randall 1978). Fruiting and seed dispersal occur predominantly from August through October (Penskar 1989).

Solidago houghtonii is an insect-pollinated species. A number of potential pollinators include bees, wasps, flies, moths and butterflies. Apparently, S. houghtonii pollen is well adapted to insect dispersal due to its heavy, sticky nature (Semple and Ringius 1983). It is unknown if self-pollination occurs in this species (Penskar 1989).

Vegetative propagation is an important reproductive aspect of S. houghtonii, frequently occurring through the production of short rhizomes. Ultimately, small clones are produced (Crispin and,Penskar 1990). In a monitoring study of the species, Penskar (1989) found that S. houghtonii genets produced several (2-12) ramets. It is probable that some plants may have produced more than 12 ramets, but since the ramets have a tendency to fragment and establish themselves as individual plants, this could not be substantiated.

The dynamic processes of dune formation and movement have a strong impact on Solidago houghtonii individuals. Penskar (1989) observed that excavation and exposure of rootstocks was a common feature of plants growing on the windward slopes of the dunes. The elongation of rhizomes through accumulating sands was an observable feature of plants growing on the leeward sides of dunes. This feature may serve to keep young plants above the ever-accumulating sands. In addition, the partial burial of plants by sand is believed to account for the production of multi-headed inflorescences (sometimes having more than 200 flower heads).

Solidago houghtonii may require relatively high amounts of calcium and magnesium (and possibly sodium and potassium) as suggested by its close association with the dolomitic Niagara Escarpment (Penskar 1990). Also indicated by its habitat is the species apparent resistance to drought. Although occupying wet areas (eg., interdunal wetlands), S. houghtonii is also known to inhabit seasonably dry, xeric habitats (eg., alvar communities, backsides of dunes).



>== 2500 EO-QUAL-DET


This field is designed to help the field worker determine the overall quality (A=excellent, B=good, C=marginal, D=poor) of an occurrence of this element. These ranks (A-D) are based on size and productivity of the population, vitality and vigor of individuals within the population, and size and quality of the habitat in which the element occurs. Headings (Habitat, Population Size and Vigor) should be considered separately in determining the overall quality of the element occurrence.

A) Habitat: Large, undisturbed habitats (beach flats, rocky and cobbly shores, dunes, interdunal wetlands or alvar) with sufficient buffer to protect the integrity of the habitat; OR, habitats of similar size that have recovered from past disturbance. Species composition shows little departure from original structure and composition (except,in seral or disturbance-dependant communities).

Population Size and Vigor: A population consisting of 1000 or more individuals. Populations of this rank are stable or growing in size, large in number of individuals, show good reproduction, and exist in a natural, sustainable habitat.

B) Habitat: Moderate-sized habitats (beach flats, rocky and cobbly shores, dunes, interdunal wetlands or alvar) with sufficient buffer to protect the integrity of the habitat; OR, habitats of similar or larger sizes that are still recovering from early or recent light disturbance but eventually will reach an A-rank. Presence of exotic species (if only localized and/or a minor component of flora), recoverable departure from original structure and composition for the site (except in seral and disturbance-dependant communities) result in a 3-rank.

Population Size and Vigor: A population consisting of 100-999 individuals. Populations of this rank are stable and are of moderate size.

C) Habitat: Small-sized habitats (beach flats, rocky and cobbly shores, dunes, interdunal wetlands or alvar) with sufficient buffer to protect the integrity of the habitat; OR, larger habitat areas lacking sufficient buffer for habitat protection. Habitats of this rank are in the early stages of recovery from disturbance; Or, the structure and composition of the habitat has been altered such that the original vegetation of the site, will never rejuvenate, yet with management and time, partial restoration of the habitat is possible.

Population Size and Vigor: A population consisting of 10-99 individuals. Populations of this rank are small. All populations larger than 99 individuals that continually decline in number over a period of several years are of this rank.

D) Habitat: Habitats (beach flats, rocky and cobbly shores, dunes, interdunal wetlands or alvar) that are severely disturbed, their structure and composition having been greatly altered. Recovery of habitats of this rank to original conditions, despite management and time, essentially will not take place. Small habitats that lack sufficient buffer to protect the existing quality of the site are of this rank, for long-term survival is not likely.

Population Size and Vigor: A population consisting of 1-9 individuals. Populations of this size are very small, with a high likelihood of dying out or being destroyed. Populations smaller than 100 individuals that continually decline in number over a period of several years are of this rank.



>== 3000 THREATS


Solidago houghtonii is particularly susceptible to extirpation due to its narrow endemism of shoreline habitats. Currently, S. houghtonii faces threats from residential development, off-road vehicles and other human-related disturbances, as well as dune destabilization caused by fluctuating lake levels (Crispin and Penskar 1990, USFWS 1988b, USFWS 1987a). Approximately ten populations have been lost within the last decade (USFWS 1987a).

Submergence of plants by high lake levels may decimate populations at isolated sites (as evidenced at Grass Bay Preserve), but recolonization apparently occurs in subsequent low-water years (Penskar 1989). Disruption of this naturally-occurring cycle (through development of roads, retaining walls, etc.) may ultimately lead to the destruction of habitat, as new dune habitat would not be able to form.

Fragmentation of populations may be occurring through road construction and habitat destruction. Such activities may prevent the expansion and colonization capabilities of the species. At present, approximately 40'-. of all Michigan populations occur partially on highway rights-of-way (Penskat 1989). Pavement recycling, shoulder widening, herbicide application, shoulder grading, mowing, salting, etc., continue to threaten existing populations.

Herbivores do not appear to pose a threat to the species (Penskar 1989). Limited damage has been observed in the form of aphid infestations and direct consumption by larger animals.





In order to adequately protect occurrences of S. houghtonii, efforts must be centered around the protection of the habitat in which the species occurs (alvar or sand dune). Protection of the naturallyoccurring dynamic lakeshore which serves to create open sand dunes and interdunal wetlands is a must. Off-shore structures designed to reduce wave and wind erosion should not be installed. Sufficient habitat buffer should be secured so that outside influences will have little impact on the survival of the species.





Of the 52 known occurrences of this species in Michigan, 21 are at least partially contained within state or federal lands or nature preserves (Penskar 1989). Currently, two sites occur on public land, one within the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan and administered by the US Forest Service, and a second on an island in Chippewa County, Michigan, administered by the US Bureau of Land Management (USFWS 1988b). Roughly 17 additional sites in Michigan occur on State or Federal lands (Crispin and Penskar 1990). The Nature Conservancy protects a single population at its Grass Day Preserve (USFWS 1987b). Several additional sites lie in Michigan Department of Transportation rights-of-way which have been designated protected areas (Crispin and Penskar 1990).

Solidago houghtonii can apparently survive transplantation, as evidenced by the inland population established via this methodology @along a lake in Cheboygan County, Michigan (Penskar 1989). If adequate conditions exist, transplantation in order to enhance the survivability of the species may be warranted.





Monitoring should assess population stability over time as well as the species' response to fluctuating water levels (Ewert pers. comm.). Population re-establishment at newly forming lakeshore areas should also be monitored. Monitoring of the environmental parameters within all habitat types should also occur.

Monitoring of surrounding land use is a significant need for S. houghtonii. Impacts on lands adjacent to existing populations may significantly alter the habitat at extant sites by reducing recolonization capabilities, disturbing sand dune formation factors and introducing exotic species. Determinations of damage from natural or artificial disturbance regimes should be made (Penskar 1989).





Randomly-placed permanent plots should provide detailed life history information while tracking the status of S. houghtonii individuals. Mapping and marking of individuals within each plot will provide a means of detailing and tracking the survival of individual plants. Within each population undergoing monitoring, counts of total individuals, flowering individuals, rosette size, flowering stalks and habitat occupancy'may be made. Monitoring should be conducted at several sites in varying habitats (both alvar and sand dune).

monitoring of populations should occur on protected as well as unprotected sites if possible. Periodic, less-detailed surveys of existing populations should be undertaken in order to monitor protection efforts and elucidate threats and track the status of the populations. Contacts with landowners regarding the importance of the species should also be initiated and continued through time.





The Michigan Natural Features Inventory has been monitoring populations at two sites (Sturgeon Bay, Emmet County and Grass Bay Preserve, Cheboygan County) for the last eight years (Penskar pers. comm., Ewert pers. comm., Penskar 1989). Tagged individuals within permanent plots have been followed through time in order to accumulate information on the demographics of the species (Penskar pers. comm.).





Nearly all aspects of biology and autecology of S. houghtonii will require study as a prerequisite for ascertaining minimal viable population numbers (Penskar 1989). These include research on the demography, reproductive biology and genetic variability within the species. Basic life-history information pertaining to S. houghtonil should also be obtained through monitoring.

Detailed biosystematic and electrophoretic research on S. houghtonii needs to be conducted.on the species in order to determine the species, true origin and its closest affinities (Penskar 1989). In addition, this research should provide additional information concerning the level of genetic heterozygosity within the species.

Information pertaining to the breeding system of S. houghtonii is essential in maintaining viable populations (Penskar 1989). At present, very little information is known concerning the reproductive biology of the species. Research in this area should be centered around pollinator identification, the degree of selfing within the species, as well as the success of seed set and seed dispersal. The significance of reproduction via vegetative propagation, and the requirements for seed germination and establishment should also be studied (Penskar 1989).

Detailed, long-term monitoring studies are needed in order to elucidate the colonization requirements and population dynamics of S. houghtonii (Penskar 1989). The effects of competing species (native or exotic) on S. houghtonii should also be considered as a research need.

Detailed surveys of areas within the range of S. houghtonii (Ontario and Michigan) should be made (Penskar 1989). Aerial photography interpretation should be used to identify appropriate habitat. Field searches of potential habitat should be made in order to identify new populations. New occurrences should be mapped, with detailed site information recorded pertaining to habitat, aerial extent of the populations, specific locations and threats (Penskar 1989).





At present, outside of the demographic monitoring/research listed under MONIT-PROGS-COMM, no known research is being conducted on the species.





The primary management needs for S. houghtonii center around the protection of its habitat, pollinators and dispersal mechanisms. These efforts should act to restrict ORV access and trampling onto extant sites and natural areas, and restrict shoreline development and dune stabilization efforts (Ewert pers. comm., USFWS 1988).



>== 7400 MGMT-PROCS


Protection of the habitat should be foremost in the long-range recovery of S. houghtonii. Restriction of ORV vehicles may be improved through the posting of signs, improving barriers and increasing the monitoring of sites by law enforcement officials (Penskar 1989).

Means of protecting existing habitat from practices that would serve to destroy or alter the natural habitat or habitat-forming processes should also be developed. Off-shore structures designed to reduce erosion should not be installed. Artificial or dune-stabilization plantings should not be placed within suitable habitat. Sufficient buffer areas should be obtained to further protect extant sites. Preserve designs should also allow for migration and dispersal of plants as water levels,fluctuate over time (Ewert pers. comm.).





No active management is being conducted for this species in Michigan (Ewert pers. comm.). Existing trails, however, are generally away from populations of this species on TNC preserves.





Monitoring needs include the assessment of population stability over time, as well as the species, response to natural habitat changes. Surrounding land use practices as they pertain to existing habitat should also be monitored. Research should include basic life history information needs (pollinator identification, selfing rates, seed set success, vegetative reproduction success and requirements of seed germination and establishment). Biosystematic and electrophoretic research should be conducted to determine the true origin and closest affinities of S. houghtonii. Demography, reproductive biology and genetic variability needs to be research in order to determine minimum viable size estimates for extant populations. Effects of competing species on S. houghtonii should also be researched, and continued survey of potential habitat be made. Management needs center on the protection of the habitat, pollinators and dispersal mechanism of the species. Restrictions to ORV traffic, trampling and shoreline development should be set.





Crispin, S. and M. Penskar. 1990. Solidago houghtonii. Unpublished abstracts, Endangered Species Manual, Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2 pp.

Ewert, D. 1989. Director of Stewardship, Iowa Field office, The Nature Conservancy. Personal communication: ESA questionnaire for Solidago houghtonii. 3 pp.

Guire, K. E. and E. G. Voss. 1963. Distributions of distinctive shoreline plants in the Great Lakes region. Michigan Bot. 2: 99-114.

Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MI NFI). 1990a. Database records for Solidago houghtonii. 7 pp.

--------1989a. Element occurrence log sheet: Solidago houghtonii. 6 PP.

--------1989b. Protected areas by station: Solidago houghtonii. Unpublished report. 8 pp-

Morton, J. K. 1979. Observations on Houghton's goldenrod (Solidago houghtonii). Mich. Bot. 18: 31-35.

Penskar, M. R. 1990. Botanist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Personal communication: ESA questionnaire for Solidago houghtonii. 3 pp.

---------1989. Houghton's goldenrod (Solidago houghtonii) recovery plan - technical draft. Unpublished report to USFWS, Twin Cities, MN. 61 pp.

Randall, C. 1978. Four threatened plants of the Great Lakes shorelines. Michigan Department of Natural Resources report, Lansing. 6 pp-

Semple, J. C. and G. S. Ringius. 1983. Goldenrods of OntarioSolidago and Euthamnia. Univ. Waterloo Biol. Ser. 26: 70-72.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988a. Approved listing rules. End. Species. Tech. Bull. 13(8): 3.

---------------- 1988b. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: Determination of threatened status for Solidago houghtonii (Houghton's goldenrod). Federal Register 53(137): 27134-27137.

---------------- 1987a. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: Proposal to determine threatened status for Solidago houghtonii (Houghton's goldenrod). Federal Register 52(160): 31045-31047.

--------------- 1987b. Two plants and three animals proposed for listing. Endangered Species Tech. Bull. 12(9):1,8.

Voss, L. A. 195G. A history of the floristics in the Douglas Lake region (Emmet and Cheboygan Counties) Michigan, with an account of rejected records. J. Sci. Labs. Dennison Univ. 44: 16-75.



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