Federal Status: Endangered
Project lead: David White (All photos by David White)
The smooth coneflower is a perennial plant that grows in sunny opening in Piedmont forests, such as openings made by wildfires. Loss of habitat and fire suppression have greatly reduced populations. The species is known to grow in the Upstate and the Midlands of South Carolina.
In early days of blooming, the inflorescence consists of tiny purple disc flowers and mostly white/pinkish ray flowers.
This photo shows Echinacea laevigata growing amidst the other plants of its community.
Note the leaves without flowers growing 5 inches away from the charred bark of a large living pine:
Here are seed heads in late fall:
(submitted by David White)
This is a start point for a ‘conversation’ about goals and priorities so I encourage your input. In the E. laevigata status survey and report work I’ve been involved in, I have learned a lot from those most involved (past and present) in overseeing management of E. laevigata: Botanists/Ecologists with USFWS (April Punsalan), the Sumter National Forest (Robin Mackie), Buzzards Roost Heritage Preserve (Pat Cloninger/Bert Pittman), Savannah River Site (Charlie Davis) and Ft Jackson (Nicole Hawkins) – as well as others who have knowledge and experience with this species. Information from the status report will help address some of management needs.
Proposed goals for the year:
1) Form a team. Who wants to be on a team in support of this priority species?
2) Identify and prioritize populations or subpopulations within the 2 major SC regions – the Blue Ridge (AP/Buzzards Roost) and Upper Coastal Plain/Sandhills (Ft Jackson, SRS) – that:
- a) have an immediate need for vegetation management or other actions as soon as possible (this year?), with the focus on those that don’t require additional NEPA or other policy approval for action. An example might be areas that have not been burned or can’t be burned currently, thus need manual control of woody competition. Those that do require additional NEPA etc. can be put on the ‘immediate needs’ list for the federal/state land managers involved in managing those populations.
- b) have the greatest need for outplanting (from seeds from that population or the closest neighbor).Then, select optimum areas for outplanting either where plants currently occur or in nearby suitable habitat. This will put in place what’s needed for the NEPA and related policy approval required.
3) Identify partners/locations for growing plants from seed for outplanting. This can include funding partners as well.
4) Find out from federal and state land managers how volunteer teams (SCPCA, Native Plant Society etc.) can help in vegetation management or other E.laevigata support activites?