Spiranthes brevilabris 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Orchidaceae

Scientific Name: Spiranthes brevilabris Lindl.
Common Name(s):
English Texas Ladies'-tresses
Taxonomic Notes: Spiranthes brevilabris var. floridana was elevated to the species rank, therefore Spiranthes brevilabris reviewed here excludes S. floridana.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(ii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-08-19
Assessor(s): Treher, A., Sharma, J., Frances, A. & Poff, K.
Reviewer(s): Rankou, H.
Spiranthes brevilabris is listed as Endangered because the species has an area of occupancy (AOO) of 40 km2. Historically, Spiranthes brevilabris occurred along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain from Texas east to Florida but it is now extant only in Texas and Florida, resulting in extremely fragmented locations. One historical subpopulation is known in Georgia (last seen early 1900s) (J.G. Chafin pers. comm. 2009). The total number of historical or extirpated subpopulations is unknown but it includes at least one each in Georgia and Louisiana, at least three in Texas, a few in Florida, and possibly one in each of Alabama and Mississippi. This indicates a decline in both area of occupancy and number of locations. Recent discoveries (Sharma 2013) expanded the species range in Texas, increasing the handful of previously known subpopulations to between 10 and 25. Subpopulations occur in a county-maintained roadside ditch, National Park land, and on private lands.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is thought to have occurred on the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain from Texas east to Florida. The only known extant subpopulations are in Texas and Florida. The largest remaining subpopulation is in Levy County, Florida.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Alabama - Possibly Extinct, Florida, Georgia - Possibly Extinct, Louisiana - Possibly Extinct, Mississippi - Possibly Extinct, Texas)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:40Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:70000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:Unknown
Upper elevation limit (metres):100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Currently, 10 to 25 subpopulations of Spiranthes brevilabris are believed to be extant. As of 2000, just a single extant subpopulation of this taxon was known, in Levy County, Florida (FNA 2002). In 2007, another extant subpopulation was discovered in Walker County, Texas (Keith 2007). Keith's report (2007) of this discovery notes that "only two other extant sites are known for the species, both occurring in Florida," so it is possible that there is also a second, as-yet unmapped extant subpopulation in Florida. Since 2009, new subpopulations were discovered in San Jacinto, Walker, and Polk Counties in Texas.

One historical subpopulation is known in Georgia (last seen early 1900s) (L.G. Chafin, personal communication). The total number of historical or extirpated subpopulations is unknown but it includes at least three other sites in Texas (Keith 2007), some in Florida, at least one in Louisiana (Kartesz 1999), and possibly one in each of Alabama and Mississippi (FNA 2002).

Plant counts at the Florida subpopulation were between 38-127 plants between 1998 and 2002; however, in 2003, another 1,000 plants appeared at the site due to "improvements in mowing schedule."  In 2007, 22 plants were counted at a subpopulation in Walker County, Texas (Keith 2007) and 25 plants were counted at the San Jacinto County, Texas site in 2009 (J. Singhurst, personal communication). A subpopulation discovered in Texas in 2013 had thousands of individuals.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Spiranthes brevilabris occurs in sandy soil in moist prairies including blackland/Fleming prairies in Texas (calcareous prairie pockets surrounded by pines). It is also known from pine-hardwood forest, open pinelands, wetland pine savannahs/flatwoods, and dry to moist fields, meadows and roadsides. It occurs from zero to 100 m asl (FNA 2002).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not documented in the horticulture trade but it might be wild collected, illegally, for the niche or specialty market or private collections.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Very little information is available on threats for this species. Habitat loss and degradation through development and agriculture are the primary threats. Habitat conversion has also led to changes in land management including changes in disturbance regimes including fire and agricultural practices such as mowing and herbicide use. The species may be wild collected for specialty markets or private collections.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

General conservation actions currently in place across the species range include surveying potential habitat for new subpopulations and monitoring known subpopulations for status of threats, site condition and abundance of plants. One site in Florida has responded well to a planned mowing schedule that works with the life cycle of the plant. Replicating this management plan at other sites might be beneficial if that is a threat. Exposure to herbicides should be eliminated, especially at roadside sites.

Some subpopulations occur on National Forest Land. This species is listed on CITES Appendix II (CITES 2015).

Citation: Treher, A., Sharma, J., Frances, A. & Poff, K. 2015. Spiranthes brevilabris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T64176923A64176934. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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