Lysimachia quadriflora Stephen M. Young

Lysimachia quadriflora
Stephen M. Young

Class
Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Family
Primulaceae (Primrose Family)
State Protection
Endangered
Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
S1
Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
G5?
Secure globally (most likely) - Conservation status is uncertain, but most likely common in the world; widespread and abundant (but may be rare in some parts of its range). More information is needed to assign a firm conservation status.

Summary

Did you know?

The presence of Lysimachia quadriflora in New York was first publishing in the Flora of New York by John Torrey in 1843. It has never been found in any other place in the state besides the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo and the Niagara River.

State Ranking Justification

There are two existing populations. One population has over 1000 plants and the second one is small and has not been seen since 2000. There are five historical populations from the Niagara River and Lake Erie shoreline from the late 1800s to 1942. These are probably extirpated.

Short-term Trends

One population has not been seen since the year 2000 so the populations may be declining although more study of the seed bank is needed to confirm this.

Long-term Trends

This species has always been rare in New York but those populations in the Niagara River have decreased substantially. A new large population was found in 1990 in Erie County.

Conservation and Management

Threats

The plants may be subject to scouring during ice jams and turbulent waters during periods of high water. Trampling from tourists may reduce the seed bank by crushing the plants before they are able to set seed. Succession is also a threat if disturbance is eliminated from the area.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Limit public access to the area of the plants but at the same time remove trees and shrubs to limit succession.

Research Needs

Research is needed to find the the best management practices to preserve the population at Niagara Falls.

Habitat

Habitat

All the known New York populations of this species were found in wet, calcareous habitats, including graminoid fens and dolomite riverside outcrops (NYNHP 2013). Moist prairies, meadows, roadsides, springs, swamps, bogs, other wetlands (FNA 2010). Fens, wet prairies, and calcareous marshy shores (Voss 1996). Moist or wet soil, especially on prairies (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Calcareous bogs, swales, and shores (Fernald 1950).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Calcareous cliff community* (guide)
    A community that occurs on vertical exposures of resistant, calcareous bedrock (such as limestone or dolomite) or consolidated material; these cliffs often include ledges and small areas of talus. * probable association but not confirmed.
  • Calcareous shoreline outcrop (guide)
    A community that occurs along the shores of lakes and streams on outcrops of calcareous rocks such as limestone and dolomite. The vegetation is sparse; most plants are rooted in rock crevices.
  • Cobble shore* (guide)
    A community that occurs on the well-drained cobble shores of lakes and streams. These shores are usually associated with high-energy waters (such as high-gradient streams), and they are likely to be scoured by floods or winter ice floes. * probable association but not confirmed.
  • Rich graminoid fen (guide)
    A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. These waters have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. Plant remains do not decompose rapidly and these grasses usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts.

Associated Species

  • Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
  • Daucus carota (wild carrot)
  • Erigeron pulchellus
  • Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)
  • Euthamia graminifolia (common flat-topped-goldenrod)
  • Eutrochium maculatum
  • Hieracium paniculatum (panicled hawkweed)
  • Hypericum perforatum
  • Hypericum punctatum (spotted St. John's-wort)
  • Juncus tenuis (path rush)
  • Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
  • Potentilla recta (sulphur cinquefoil)
  • Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain-mint)
  • Rhamnus cathartica (European buckthorn)
  • Solidago canadensis

Range

New York State Distribution

In New York Lysimachia quadriflora is known only from Erie and Niagara counties.

Global Distribution

Western New York marks the northeastern limit of Lysimachia quadriflora's range, which extends west to Ontario and Manitoba, and south from Georgia to Oklahoma.

Identification Comments

General Description

Lysimachia quadriflora is an erect, rhizomatous, perennial forb with 4-angled stems that grows (12-) 20 cm to 1 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, stiff, linear to narrowly lanceolate, and have revolute margins. They are 3.4 to 9 cm long by 0.2 to 0.6 cm wide, with 0.1 to 0.8 mm cilia at the leaf base near the nodes and have only one apparent vein. The flowers are borne singly or in whorls from the axils of the upper stem, on pedicels 0.5 to 2.8 cm long. The flowers are 5-parted with yellow petals that are sparsely streaked with brownish-violet (this is sometimes obscure) resin canals, and are 7 to 13 mm long and pointed, with stalked glands on their upper surfaces. The fruits are capsules 3.5 to 5 mm long and are typically glabrous (rarely with sparse stalked glands). (FNA 2010)

Identifying Characteristics

Lysimachia quadriflora is an erect, smooth and hairless (glabrous), rhizomatous, perennial forb with 4-angled stems that grows (12-) 20 cm to 1 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, stiff, linear to narrowly lanceolate, and those on the stem are stalkless. They are 3.4 to 9 cm long by 0.2 to 0.6 cm wide, with 0.1 to 0.8 mm cilia at the leaf base near the nodes and have only one apparent vein. The flowers are borne singly or in whorls from the axils of the upper stem, on pedicels 0.5 to 2.8 cm long. The flowers are 5-parted with yellow petals (corolla) that are sparsely streaked with brownish-violet (this is sometimes obscure) resin canals, circular and flatted, 7 to 13 mm long and pointed, with stalked glands (stipitate-glandular) on the upper petal surface. The fruits are capsules 3.5 to 5 mm long, lack dots or spots (not punctuate) and are typically glabrous (rarely with sparse stalked glands). (FNA 2010)

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

For positive identification of Lysimachia quadriflora the entire stem with intact mature flowers is best.

Similar Species

A number of similar Lysimachia species occur in New York. Most differ from L. quadriflora by having punctate (minutely dotted) leaves. L. ciliata and L. hybrida have leaves that are not punctate, but they are typically broader with more evident lateral veins, and not revolute as are L. quadriflora's leaves (Haines 2011).

Hypericum canadense (Canada St John's wort) also may appear similar to L. quadiflora but can be distinguished by its numerous small flowers (3.2 to 6.3 mm wide), and shorter leaves (1.3 cm to 3.8 cm) with 1 to 3 veins.

Best Time to See

Flowering typically begins in mid-June and continues through late July. Fruiting typically occurs beginning in mid-July with fruits persisting until late October.

  • Vegetative
  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Four-flowered Loosestrife vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.

Four-flowered Loosestrife Images

Taxonomy

Four-flowered Loosestrife
Lysimachia quadriflora Sims

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Primulales
          • Family Primulaceae (Primrose Family)

Synonyms

  • Steironema quadriflorum (Sims) A. S. Hitchc.

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2010. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 08. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.

Other References

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Haines, A. 2011. Flora Novae Angliae: A manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. New England Wildflower Society, Yale University Press. New Haven and London.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and Univ. Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 622 pp.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York

Links

About This Guide

This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young, Elizabeth Spencer, Richard M. Ring.

Information for this guide was last updated on: April 2, 2013

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Lysimachia quadriflora. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/four-flowered-loosestrife/. Accessed September 23, 2019.

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