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Fuzzy yellow and purple flowers emerging from a green grass-like stalk.
American chaffseed © Robert Sincliar. Copyright release form S://EA/Photo Permissions/american-chaffseed.pdf

Recovery progress for the American chaffseed

American chaffseed is a perennial herb that has been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since 1992. As part of an ongoing recovery effort, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently introduced 70 seedlings in Dorchester County, South Carolina.

The project included Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife biologist Joe Cockrell, Service botanist April Punsalan, and Jeff Glitzenstein, a research associate with Tall Timbers. The seedlings were planted in an open area of restored longleaf pine forest and near the edge of a restored freshwater depressional wetland on an Audubon chapter preserve.

Bushy green plants emerging from small nursury containers.
American chaffseed was grown out in a greenhouse with host plants. Photo by Joe Cockrell, USFWS.

The scientists used an experimental design to determine if water irrigation can increase seedling survivorship. The site is being monitored, and as of early June, survival was good. The l planting site w is a 2005 joint Partners for Fish and Wildlife / Wetlands Reserve Program project and a 2012 joint Partners for Fish and Wildlife / Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program project, in cooperation with Charleston Natural History Society volunteers. The Service plans to expand the project to include another endangered plant species, Canby’s dropwort.

American chaffseed was grown out in a greenhouse with host plants.

Bushy green plants emerging from small nursury containers.
American chaffseed was grown out in a greenhouse with host plants. Photo by Joe Cockrell, USFWS.

American chaffseed were planted with and without herbivory protection cages. Some were planted with irrigation, while others had no irrigation. Plants were also placed on the wetland edge and some were put in more xeric (dry) zone. Each plant was measured and will be monitored. The 275 gallon tank is solar operated to drip right next to the plant at selected frequency and duration.

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