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Published In: Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club 2(2): 42. 1890. (Mem. Torrey Bot. Club) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/8/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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1. Trautvetteria caroliniensis (Walter) Vail (false bugbane)

Pl. 516 j, k; Map 2390

Plants perennial herbs, with short, slender rhizomes. Basal leaves 2–5, well-developed and persistent at flowering, long-petiolate. Stems 50–150 cm long, erect or ascending, glabrous or nearly so. Stem leaves 1–3, alternate, sessile or short-petiolate. Blades of the basal leaves 7–14 cm long and 7–20 cm wide at flowering, becoming enlarged to 20–30 cm at fruiting, palmately deeply 5–9(–11)-lobed, kidney-shaped to nearly circular, wider than long to about as long as wide, the base truncate to deeply cordate but with a small tapered area along the tip of the petiole, the lobes oblong to oblong-elliptic or oblong-oblanceolate, angled or tapered to bluntly or sharply pointed tips, the margins otherwise sharply toothed (occasionally scalloped) and sometimes irregularly lobed, the surfaces glabrous or nearly so; blades of the stem leaves similar to those of the basal leaves but much smaller and usually somewhat less divided. Inflorescences dense, flat-topped panicles or large clusters of 10–20 (or more) flowers at the stem tips, the stalk 10–60 mm long, produced more or less after the leaves develop. Flowers actinomorphic, perfect, the stalks with dense, minute, hooked hairs. Sepals 3–5(–7), 3–6 mm long, broadly ovate to obovate, rounded at the tip, deeply cupped (concave), pale green to greenish white, shed as the flowers open. Petals absent. Stamens showy (to 7 mm long), forming a globose mass, the filaments flattened and broadened toward the tips (wider than the anthers), white, the anthers yellow. Staminodes absent. Pistils 10–15, each with 1 ovule, the style present, hooked. Fruits utricles in dense clusters, each 3–4 mm long, more or less semicircular to asymmetrically obovate in outline, 4-angled in cross-section, the outer layer thin, papery, brown, prominently veined on at least 2 of the faces, tipped with a beak, this 0.4–0.8 mm long, strongly curved or hooked. Seeds 1 per utricle, 1.5–2.5 mm long, narrowly ellipsoid, the surface smooth, olive green. Receptacle not enlarged at fruiting. 2n=16. June–August.

Uncommon, known thus far only from Shannon County (eastern and western U.S. [absent from the Great Plains region]; Canada, Asia). Bases and ledges of dolomite bluffs.

In Missouri, this species is restricted to a few north-facing bluffs along stretches of the Current and Jack’s Fork Rivers where cold-air drainage creates a microhabitat that preserves populations of several plant species with main ranges to the north of Missouri. Steyermark (1963) considered Trautvetteria and other species at these sites to represent glacial relicts. For further discussion, see the discussion on Affinities of the Flora in Volume 1 of the present series (Yatskievych 1999: 86–87).

Some botanists have treated the populations west of the Great Plains as var. borealis (H. Hara) T. Shimizu (var. occidentalis (A. Gray) C.L. Hitchc.) and the Asian plants as var. japonica (Siebold & Zucc.) T. Shimizu (Shimizu, 1981). The differences between plants from these geographically isolated areas do not appear to warrant formal taxonomic recognition (Parfitt, 1997).

Native Americans in the western United States applied a poultice derived from the rootstock of this species in the treatment of boils (Moerman, 1989).



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