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Full text of "Phytoneuron"

s(Crassulaceae) rediscovered in Alabama. Phytoneuron 2013-1: 1-2. Published 9 



CRASSULA AQUATICA (CRASSULACEAE) REDISCOVERED IN ALABAMA 

J. Kevin England 

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences 

University of West Alabama 

Livingston, Alabama 35470 

tsugas@hotmail.com 

ABSTRACT 

The rediscover)' of Crassula aquatica in Alabama is documented. It was collected by 
Charles Mohr in Mobile County in 1887 but not subsequently observed until recollected by the author 
in Marengo County in 20 12 in a mudflat of a backwater lake of the Tombigbee River. 

KEY WORDS: Alabama, Crassula aquatica, Crassulacaceae, Crassula saginoides 



Crassula aquatica (L.) Schonland is a diminutive aquatic annual. The distribution of this 
taxon is reportedly wide-ranging in North America with large areas of absence. It has been reported 
to occur in Alaska, several Canadian provinces, and most of the western and northeastern USA, while 
absent from the Midwest and Appalachian states. In the southeastern USA the species has been 
attributed to Alabama, Georgia. Louisiana. South Carolina, and Texas (Moran 2009; USDA NRCS 
2012). 

The record of Crassula aquatica in Alabama appears to be based solely on a collection by 
Charles Mohr from Mobile County on 10 April 1887 (Mohr s.n., US 782213). Although Mohr 
included this species (as Tillaea aquatica L.) in Plant Life of Alabama (1901), recent accounts of the 
Alabama flora (Krai et al 2011; Krai et al 2012) have omitted it. Moran (2009), however', attributed 
C. aquatica to Alabama while USDA NRCS (2012) specifically cites an occurrence in Mobile 
County. Both of these references can likely be traced back to the Mohr specimen and Mohr's 
subsequent floristic account (1901). 

A collection in 2012 by the author in southwestern Alabama, 125 years after Mohr's original 
observation, confirms the existence of the species in the state. 

Alabama. Marengo Co.: 4.0 air km WSW of Demopolis ca. 0.10 km E of jet with Gandy 

Ferry Road and Lock and Dam Road, 32.511093, -87.878064, 1 May 2012, ./, Kevin England 342S 
(UWAL, duplicates to be distributed to NCU, TROY, UNA and VDB). This collection was made 
from a seasonally flooded area (mudflat) of a backwater lake of the Tombigbee River'. Associated 
species included Taxodium distichum, Myosurus minimus, Eleocharis obtusa, Lysimachia minima, 
Ranunculus pusillus, and Veronica peregrina var. peregrina. 

In a treatment of New World Crassula species, Bywater & Wickens (1984) recognized 
Crassula saginoides (Maxim.) Bywater & Wickens as a taxon closely similar to C. aquatica. The 
distinction between the two was based primarily on fruiting pedicel length and habitat (pedicels 2-19 
mm long for C saginoides compared to less than 1 mm for C aquatica). In comparison of habitat, 
they attributed C. saginoides to freshwater situations and C. aquatica to saline coastal habitats. 

Moran (1994), in contrast treated Crassula saginoides as an inland expression of C. aquatica 
that produces pedicels elongating in fruit. In his treatment of Crassula for Mora of North America, 
Moran (2009) noted that the typical form of C, aquatica has short fruiting pedicels and usually grows 



in coastal salt marshes: he again regarded C. saginoides as merely a phenotypic "phase" of C. 
aquatica, thus not warranting recognition as a distinct taxon. 

The Mohr specimen collected from coastal environments of Mobile County exhibits the short 
pedicel phase of Crassula aquatica. My specimen, collected in fresh water 253 kilometers from the 
coast, demonstrates the much longer fruiting pedicels identifiable with Moran's concept of the inland 
phase of C aquatica. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

I thank Deborah Bell (US) for providing digital photographs of the US sheets and sending a 
specimen loan for comparison. I'm grateful to Brian R. Keener and Guy Nesom for reading the 
manuscript and providing helpful suggestions. 

LITERATURE CITED 

Bywater, M. and G.E. Wickens. 1984. New World species of the genus Crassula. Kew Bull. 39: 

699-728. 
Krai, R, A.R. Diamond Jr, S.L. Ginzbarg, C.J. Hansen, RR. Haynes, B.R. Keener, M.G. Lelong, 

D.D. Spaulding, and M. Woods. 2011. Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of 

Alabama. BRIT Press, Bot. Res. Inst, of Texas, Fort Worth. 
Krai, R, AR Diamond Jr, S.L. Ginzbarg, C.J. Hansen, RR. Haynes. B.R. Keener, M.G. Lelong, 

D.D. Spaulding, and M. Woods. 2012, Alabama Plant Atlas. [S.M. Landry and K.N. 

Campbell (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and 

Research. Univ. of South Florida]. Univ. of West Alabama, Livingston. 
Mohr,C.T. 1901. Plant Life of Alabama. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 6: 1-921. 
Moran, R.V. 1994. Crassulaceae, Stonecrop Family. J. Arizona-Nevada Acad. Sci. (Vascular Plants 

of Arizona: Part 2): 27: 190-194. 
Moran, R.V. 2009, Crassula. Pp. 150-155, in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.). 

Flora of North America North of Mexico. New York and Oxford, Vol. 8. 
USDA NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, North 

Carolina, <http://plants.usda.gov> Accessed December 2012.