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For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle
608-416-3377

James' Cristatella (Polanisia jamesii)

Life history

Species overview

James' Cristatella (Polanisia jamesii), , is found on dry sandy to gravelly prairies along major rivers, as well as dry sandy lakeshores. Blooming occurs late July through late August; fruiting occurs early August through early October. The optimal identification period for this species is early August through late September.

Synonyms: Cristatella jamesii

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Leaflets 0.5 to 4 mm wide; fruit 3 to 4 mm wide; bracts three-angled.
  • Flower characteristics: 5 to 9 open flowers and buds; petals white to ochre-colored, strongly dimorphic, the larger pair 4 to 5 mm and the smaller 2 to 3 mm; stamens 6 to 9; nectary yellow, tubular, persistent and drying pink-purple; style 0.5 to 2 mm, persistent in fruit.
  • Fruit characteristics: Linear-fusiform, slightly inflated, 1.5 to 3 cm long by 3 to 4 mm wide, opening nearly to the base at maturity; seeds 4 to 18, 1.7 to 1.8 mm.
  • Leaf characteristics: Alternate; petioles usually shorter than the blades; leaflets linear or linear-elliptic, 0.5 to 4 cm long by 0.5 to 4 mm wide.

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology: late July through late August
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through early October
  • Optimum time to identify: early August through late September

Other

  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Annual
  • Comments: Associated Species: Not recorded for Wisconsin specimens.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

James' Cristatella (Polanisia jamesii) is on the "watch list." Watch list species have experienced, or are believed to have experienced, a statewide or range wide decline, but they are not currently tracked in the Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) database. The watch list includes newly discovered species for which origin and rarity need to be determined, certain animals designated as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan, and species that were tracked in the past but proved more abundant, widespread or less vulnerable than previously thought. Although watch list species are not actively tracked by NHI, occurrences documented during surveys are often stored by NHI, as these species could be tracked in the future if there is further evidence of their decline.


Summary Information
State Statusnone
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankSH
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIW

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on dry sandy to gravelly prairies along major rivers, as well as dry sandy lakeshores.
  • Soils: Sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with James' Cristatella. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for James' Cristatella. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

James' Cristatella (Polanisia jamesii) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes in open sandy areas dominated by native grasses.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).

Photos


James' Cristatella  Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

James' Cristatella  Photo.

Photo ©  USDA-NRCS.


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Monday, April 30, 2018
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition