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Kevin Doyle

Swamp Agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora)

Life history

Species overview

Swamp Agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in wet woodland patches and ditches, oak-hickory forests, and margins of calcareous marshes. Blooming occurs throughout July; fruiting occurs early August through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is early August through early September.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Numerous narrow leaflets with unusually numerous tiny leaflets interspersed between adjacent pairs of large leaflets; flower clusters covered in short fine hair with occasional longer hairs.
  • Flower characteristics: Spike-like raceme interrupted, borne on a long, densely hairy stalk; flowers with 5 small yellow petals.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achenes 2, enclosed by brown calyx tube which is covered with hooked bristles.
  • Leaf characteristics: Leaves pinnately compound with 11 to 23 large leaflets, smaller leaflets or bracts in between; leafletsnarrow, lance-shaped, serrated and sparingly hairy on underside.


  • Blooming phenology: throughout July
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early August through early September


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Aster spp., Bidens spp., Acer negundo, A. saccharinum, Urtica dioica, Gentianopsis procera, Cornus stolonifera, Betula sandbergii.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Swamp Agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Agrimonia parviflora in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1S2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

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 in wet woodland patches and ditches, oak-hickory forests, and margins of calcareous marshes.
  • Soils: Damp soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Swamp Agrimony. 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).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Swamp Agrimony. 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
Southeast Glacial Plains 3

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.

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 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.
  • Avoid site preparation that heavily disturbs herbaceous ground layer and soil; these include bulldozing and furrowing, as well as grubbing and stump removal.

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.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).


Swamp Agrimony  Photo.

Photo © Emmet Judziewicz.

Swamp Agrimony  Photo.

Photo © Aaron Carlson.

Swamp Agrimony  Photo.

Photo © Emmet Judziewicz.

Swamp Agrimony  Photo.

Swamp agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora) typically has 11-13 very narrow leaflets.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, Wisconsin DNR.

Swamp Agrimony  Photo.

Photo © Aaron Carlson.

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: Friday, February 15, 2019
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