Species Profile

Virginia Goat's-rue

Scientific Name: Tephrosia virginiana
Other/Previous Names: Goat's-rue
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2009
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Virginia Goat's-rue

Virginia Goat's-rue Photo 1

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Description

The Virginia Goat's-rue is a perennial herb with one to several stems, which branch from a woody crown and long, slender, woody roots. Stems, branches and petioles are covered with fine, whitish hairs. The leaves are compound (consisting of multiple leaflets) and measure 5 to 15 cm long. The leaves also bear slender stalks about 1 cm long. Each leaf contains 15 to 25 leaflets, which are 11 to 31 mm long, 2 to 10 mm wide. Leaflet tops are smooth to hairy; the bottoms are densely hairy to woolly. Leaflets are bluish-, greyish- or yellowish-green at the tips. Short peduncles connect slower clusters to the main stem. Petals are pink and yellow with greenish buds, and measure 15 to 20 mm long.

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Distribution and Population

The species is the most widely distributed of its genus in North America. It ranges north to New Hampshire, New York, southern Ontario, southern Michigan and southern Wisconsin. I t extends south to Florida and western Texas. The southern Ontario population is restricted to a few scattered sites on Norfolk Sand Plain near Turkey Point on Lake Erie's north shore. The largest Ontario population is in Turkey Point Provincial Park. It covers an area of 30 by 40 square metres. The site also consists of scattered patches growing in outlying areas. There is a small population in Charlotteville Township's Anderson Tract, and another on a small dune ridge near Vittoria.

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Habitat

Goat's Rue grows in well-drained soils in open oak and pine woods on ridges, sand prairies and sand dunes. It is also found on roadsides, abandoned fields and other rural sites. It can grow in shifting dunes, but is most abundant in partially stabilized areas. It seems to favour direct sunlight.

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Biology

It appears to spread by seed and vegetative growth (from rhizomes). The rhizomes produce shoots above the ground and roots below. The Ontario populations consist of large patches and individual scattered plants. Collected seeds have almost a 100 % germination rate.

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Threats

Shade cast by canopy-forming trees in oak savannas seems to be the primary factor affecting the species. One population in Charlotteville was evidently eliminated when a White Pine wood grew around it. Successional growth is due to suppression of natural fires. The Vittoria population is expanding toward a roadside. The population could be affected by sand removal, herbicide spraying, road widening. Weevils are hazardous to all Ontario populations. Field studies, in 1991 and 1994, revealed that most mature seed pods sampled in Ontario had been invaded by weevils. A majority of seeds had either aborted or been consumed as a result.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Virginia Goat's-rue is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Virginia Goat's-rue (Tephrosia virginiana) in Canada
Status First posting on SAR registry

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

7 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Virginia Goat’s-rue Tephrosia virginiana in Canada (2010)

    Virginia Goat’s-rue (Tephrosia virginiana) is an erect perennial herb in the pea family (Fabaceae). Its stems generally reach 30 to 70 cm in height and arise from a branched woody crown and slender tough woody roots. Its stems, branches, and leaf stalks are densely covered with fine whitish hairs. The compound leaves are alternate, short-stalked, and bear an odd number of pinnately-arranged leaflets. Flowers are typical pea-like in appearance and bicoloured; the larger upper petal is yellow to cream-coloured, with the smaller lateral petals and lower keel being pink to pale purple. Fruits are hairy, flattened, linear pods ranging in size from 3.5 to 5.5 cm containing 6 to 11 kidney-shaped seeds.

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment Summary and Status Report: Virginia Goat’s-rue Tephrosia virginiana (2010)

    Assessment Summary – November 2009 Common name Virginia Goat’s–rue Scientific name Tephrosia virginiana Status Endangered Reason for designation A species of restricted geographical occurrence in Canada present as two remaining populations within remnant Black Oak savanna and Black Oak woodland habitats in southwestern Ontario. These habitats are globally rare and are one of the most threatened ecological communities in Canada. Most of the fewer than 600 plants are present as a single population within two nearby protected areas. Here the species is at risk from habitat degradation through successional changes. The very small second population, found on private land, is at risk of loss due to erosion of its sandy dune habitat. Occurrence Ontario Status history Designated Threatened in April 1996. Status re–examined and designated Endangered in May 2000 and November 2009. Please note that the related COSEWIC Status Report is available below in PDF format. You will be asked to provide your e-mail address then you will receive a link to download the publication. After processing, your email address is not retained in any way and is automatically discarded by our system.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Virginia Goat's-rue (2010)

    A species of restricted geographical occurrence in Canada present as two remaining populations within remnant Black Oak savanna and Black Oak woodland habitats in southwestern Ontario. These habitats are globally rare and are one of the most threatened ecological communities in Canada. Most of the fewer than 600 plants are present as a single population within two nearby protected areas. Here the species is at risk from habitat degradation through successional changes. The very small second population, found on private land, is at risk of loss due to erosion of its sandy dune habitat.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Virginia Goat's-rue (Tephrosia virginiana) in Canada (2015)

    The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for the recovery of the Virginia Goat’s-rue and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (now the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) led the development of the attached recovery strategy for the Virginia Goat’s-rue (Part 2) in cooperation with Environment Canada.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010)

    Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – November 2010 (2010)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by February 4, 2011 for species undergoing normal consultations and by February 4, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update March 17, 2017