Source: Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United
States (The Red Book) FWS Region 4 -- As of
TENNESSEE PURPLE CONEFLOWER
STATUS: Endangered, Federal Register, June 6, 1979
DESCRIPTION AND REPRODUCTION: The Tennessee coneflower is a perennial,
hirsute herb, 1.4 decimeters high,
consisting of a large fusiform rootstock with up to four usually unbranched stems from its apex. The leaves are crowded in the
lower stem becoming more distant upwards, narrow, O.5 to 1.75 decimeters long, and attached alternate to each other.
Flowers are pink to purplish-pink usually appearing in mid-June to September. These are ray flowers 12 to 17 per head, 2 to 3
centimeters long, spreading, two cleft at the apex. The disk corollas are 5.5 to 6.5 millimeters long. This plant's fruits, achenes,
are four-sided; the pappus consists of a low crown of teeth at the apex of the achene with a prominent tooth projecting at each
Sexual reproduction appears to be the normal method with individual
heads being sterile. Flower buds appear as early as late
April with flowering occurring from mid-May to October. Flowering typically reaches its peak during June and July. Ineffective
seed dispersal mechanisms apparently limit the plant's ability to colonize new areas.
RANGE AND POPULATION LEVEL: The species occurs only in north central
Tennessee in the following Counties:
Davidson (two sites); Rutherford (one site); and Wilson (two sites). Historically, there was at least one, and possibly two
additional sites represented for Rutherford County. The Davidson County sites are located near Mt. View; the extant
population in Rutherford County is found within a small area of about 5O feet by 1OO feet on a lot owned by a private
corporation; the Wilson County sites occur on private land and within the adjoining Cedars of Lebanon State Forest. All
known sites are located within 14 miles of one another, and the maximum area occupied by any one population does not
exceed a few acres in size. Population levels for each of the five known sites range from 3,7OO up to about 89,OOO plants
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1989).
HABITAT: Tennessee coneflower grows in cedar glades which are dominated
by red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and
where the bedrock is either exposed or covered by thin layer of soil. This plant usually will not grow in where there is more than
5O percent shade (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1989).
REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS: One of the coneflower populations in Davidson
County have been reduced
because of construction. The plant's habitat is in an area undergoing rapid residential development that could further threaten the
species' survival. A Rutherford County population was lost around 1968 to the construction of a trailer park. The coneflower is
so well-adapted to the glade environment, that it probably could not survive in other habitats. This makes the protection of its
current sites imperative.
Overutilization of this plant's aesthetic and possible medicinal qualities
also poses a threat. With only five remaining populations
of small size, the species is highly vulnerable to destruction
MANAGEMEN AND PROTECTION: All private landowners and the Tennessee Division
of Forestry have been notified
of the presence of the coneflower on their properties and the need to provide protection. Private landowners have been
generally sympathetic to protecting the plant, but there are no guarantees of permanent security for these sites. Populations on
State-owned land are being managed by the Division of Forestry personnel to assure that no timber management occurs in
these areas, and Division personnel have also agreed to cooperate in any future recovery activities involving habitat maintenance
or experimental management.
There has been some limited transplanting to natural sites, but this
has not been part of a well-planned recovery effort. The plant
is also growing in a number of home gardens and has been transplanted to the Cheekwood Botanic Garden and the Warner
Nature Center, both in Nashville.
The original 1983 Tennessee Coneflower Recovery Plan was revised in
1989. To qualify the coneflower for delisting, the plan
calls for a recovery goal of 15 protected populations in natural habitat that are determined to be healthy and self-sustaining and
contain 3 colonies each. Primary recovery tasks include the following: (1) improve management and levels of protection for
existing habitat; (2) conduct additional searches for new populations; (3) propagate the coneflower, maintaining populations
representative of each natural one; and, (4) establish new populations in natural cedar glades that can be protected. Other goals
include conducting research on life history, limiting factors, and the genetic variation between natural populations and related
taxa; exploring different management techniques; monitoring populations; and, implementing public education projects.
Hemmerley, Thomas E. 1976. Life Cycle Strategy of a highly endemic cedar
glade species: Echinacea tennesseensis
McGregor, R.L. 1968. The Taxonomy of the Genus Echinacea (Compoitae).
The University of Kansas Sci. Bull.
Milstead, Wayne L. and Jonathan Heifetz. 1978. Status report on Echninacea
tennesseensis for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Region 4, unpublished.
**U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1989. Tennessee Coneflower Recovery
Plan. Prepared by Robert R. Currie and Paul
Somers for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, North Carolina. 3O pp.