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Zornia bracteata, commonly known as Viperina, is a member of the pea family Fabaceae that is native to long leaf pine savannas in the southeast United States including Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, and Mississippi (NatureServe, 2014; Kirkman, Coffey, Mitchell & Moser, 2004: 418; Hiers, Mitchell & Wyatt, 2000: 526). Zornia bracteata is vulnerable in Georgia and North Carolina, imperiled in Louisiana, and critically imperiled in Virginia (NatureServe, 2014; USDA, 2015).
Zornia bracteata is an herb that produces a yellow flower (USDA, 2015). Solitary flowers will bloom mid summer and grow up to 2.8 centimeters in length (Richards, 2010, 274). Seed dispersal is not dependent on animals (Kirkman, Coffey, Mitchell & Moser, 2004: 418;).
The effects of lightning season burns on different species including Zornia Bracteata, were examined in southwestern Georgia’s matured second growth long-leaf pine savannas (Hiers, Wyatt & Mitchell, 2000: 522). Seasonal burns are an important part of the ecology for this species as it affects the flowering production (Hiers, Wyatt & Mitchell, 2000: 523). Burns that are not in lightning season (July for the southeastern U.S.) delay the reproduction of Zornia bracteata by about a month (Hiers, Wyatt & Mitchell, 2000: 524). The plants produced flowers for a much shorter period during the lightning season (78 days) as compared to late winter/early spring (104 days) (Hiers, Wyatt & Mitchell, 2000: 523). Nine flowers were recorded, on average, during late winter/early spring and 16 flowers during the lightning season (Hiers, Wyatt & Mitchell, 2000: 526). The shorten time of flowering during the lightning season may be due to the lack of nutrients and moisture in the ground after a burn (Hiers, Wyatt & Mitchell, 2000: 527).
In summary, Zornia bracteata is beneficial to ecosystems as it is involved in pollination and biodiversity.