Range and Habitat in Illinois
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Primarily in the Midwestern and South-central United States, with some outlying populations (or former populations). Presumed extirpated in Michigan and New Jersey. Historical in West Virginia. In Texas, it is known only from a late 19th century specimen and there is some uncertainty about its nativity (Pennell 1921 cited by Poole et al. 2007).
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Comments: Mesic to dry prairies, fallow fields, borders of upland sterile woods and thickets, marl/calcareous prairies, tallgrass prairies, blackland prairies, prairie-like glades, barrens, and openings.
Flower-Visiting Insects of Eared False Foxglove in Illinois
(Long-tongued bees collect pollen or suck nectar; Halictid bees collect stray pollen [csp] & are non-pollinating; observations are from Robertson)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus impatiens sn cp, Bombus penyslvanica sn cp fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes boltoniae cp; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn cp
Halictidae (Halictinae): Lasioglossum versatus csp np
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 - 300
Comments: Widspread but uncommon.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Agalinis auriculata
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Agalinis auriculata
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Widespread distribution but rare and local throughout its range. Its habitat is threatened by development, inappropriate intensive mowing that prevents the plants from flowering, fire suppression/succession to woody vegetation. Conversion to cropland is also a potential threat, although the species can reappear in formerly cultivated areas. Hemiparisite, dependent on a healthy forb community rich in composites.
Global Short Term Trend: Unknown
Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Comments: There has been a significant decline in population numbers rangewide, though it is difficult to quantify (Watson, 1989). In Pennsylvania, several populations were destroyed by road construction (PA-NHP 2007). Declines are primarily due to habitat loss from development, succession, fragmentation, and habitat managment practices such as mowing during flowering (Molano-Flores et al. 2007). Biological aspects such as seedling survivorship and availability of hosts may also contribute to its decline (Molano Flores et al. 2007).
Degree of Threat: Very high - medium
Comments: Management (fire) needed to control succession. Threatened by habitat destruction for use in agriculture and other human development and by natural succession. Another threat is repeated mowing in the summer months, which removes the upper portion of the plant before seeds are formed. Also threatened by the planting of exotic grasses in pastures (OK-NHI 2006). Insect herbivory may also be a factor threatening Agalinis auriculata (Mulvaney et al. 2006).
Biological Research Needs: Information on the range of hosts utilized by this root parasite and viability of seeds in seed banks over long periods of time is needed.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Agalinis auriculata is a species of flowering plant in the broomrape family known by the common names earleaf false foxglove, auriculate false foxglove, and earleaf gerardia. It is native to the United States, where it occurs from Minnesota to New Jersey to the southern states.
This plant is a hairy annual herb producing a stiff stem up to 90 centimeters tall. The flowers are pink with purple spots and they bloom in July through September. The plant is hemiparasitic, green with chlorophyll to accomplish photosynthesis, but also parasitic on other plants to obtain some nutrients. In cultivation the plant was able to parasitize Helianthus occidentalis and Rudbeckia fulgida and it was observed to connect to a grass, possibly Poa compressa, in the field.
This plant has a widespread distribution and it was formerly more common than it is today. It appears to require soil disturbance in order to germinate. In the past, this disturbance may possibly have been caused by herds of bison. The plant can colonize mounds of earth which has been turned over by pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius).
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Classified in the genus Tomanthera in many floras; has also been treated as a species of Gerardia or Aureolaria.
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