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Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Ellington Agricultural Center
440 Hogan Road
Nashville, TN 37220
(615) 781-6500
Demographic monitoring and population dynamics of Pyne’s Ground-plum

One of Tennessee's rarest plants grows naturally only within Rutherford County on limestone cedar glades. Pyne's Ground-plum (Astragalus bibullatus) is a member of the pea family and was rediscovered in Tennessee by former Tennessee Natural Heritage Program botanist, Milo Pyne in 1979. It had first been discovered by Augustin Gattinger about 100 years earlier but was described as a more common species of ground plum or milkvetch. It was not until 1987 that Rupert Barneby and Edwin Bridges described it as a new species. It was then listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1991. Pyne's Ground-plum is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, succession, exotic invasive species, small population size and narrow range.

According to the recovery plan for the species, Pyne's Ground-plum will be considered for delisting (recovery) when there are 16 occurrences distributed throughout the cedar glade ecosystem of the Stones River Basin within Davidson, Rutherford and Wilson Counties. Each occurrence must demonstrate stable or increasing population growth trends for at least 10 consecutive years with active management to maintain its habitat. Currently there are 9 natural occurrences and three natural occurrences are believed to be extirpated. Over the last 15 years there have been attempts to establish new occurrences of Pyne's Ground-plum on protected lands.

Read or download the entire Pyne's Ground-plum case study.

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