Species Profile

Plymouth Gentian

Scientific Name: Sabatia kennedyana
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2012
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened


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

Image of Plymouth Gentian

Plymouth Gentian Photo 1

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Description

Plymouth Gentian is an herbaceous perennial with single, erect, flowering stems 30 to 50 cm tall arising from a basal rosette of narrow (oblanceolate) leaves 3 to 8 cm long. Basal rosettes produce short green stolons which form new rosettes at their tips. Clusters of interconnected rosettes are frequently produced. Erect stems have opposite leaves and one to three (rarely up to five) 5 cm-wide flowers of 7-13 pink petals with yellow bases. Plymouth Gentian is a globally rare species, co-occurring in southern Nova Scotia with a suite of rare, disjunct species of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Nova Scotia populations are 400+ km from the nearest sites in Massachusetts. An investigation of genetic diversity suggests that Nova Scotia populations may have a disproportionate significance to the species. The attractive flowers provide cottagers and the public with an easily appreciated reason for good stewardship of habitats supporting rare Atlantic Coastal Plain species. (Updated 2017/08/04)

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Distribution and Population

Plymouth Gentian has a very limited global range with three highly disjunct areas of occurrence: 1) along the North Carolina – South Carolina border near the Atlantic Coast; 2) in coastal regions of Massachusetts and Rhode Island; and 3) in extreme southwestern Nova Scotia on the shores of ten lakes in three river systems (Annis, Carleton and Tusket rivers), all of which flow into the Tusket River estuary. Roughly 10% of its global range is in Canada. (Updated 2017/08/04)

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Habitat

In Nova Scotia, Plymouth Gentian occurs on lakeshores (rarely river shores) on sand, gravel and peat substrates, within the zone annually or semi-annually exposed in summer but where winter flooding protects plants from freezing. Plymouth Gentian is associated with lakes having especially large upstream catchment areas because the greater fluctuations in water level, wave action and ice scour limit shoreline fertility and inhibit more competitive species. In New England, Plymouth Gentian is mostly found on sandy, gravelly or muddy shores of small kettle ponds. In the Carolinas, the species occurs on river and pond shores and in acidic swamps. (Updated 2017/08/04)

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Biology

Plymouth Gentian is a clonal perennial that reproduces by seed, by stolons producing daughter rosettes, and by vegetative fragments moved by ice and water. In Canada, it flowers from mid-July to late September. It is pollinated by a range of generalist pollinators and is self-compatible. Each flower can produce 300-1,400 tiny seeds released in early fall. Dispersal is likely largely by water as seeds can float for at least a day. Seed banks of unknown longevity are reported as very important for persistence in Massachusetts and are present in Nova Scotia, but may be less important there because of more stable habitats. Rosettes grow for two to five or more years and die after flowering, but longevity of genetic individuals is unknown. Generation time, factoring in reproduction by seed and by vegetative means, may be approximately five years. (Updated 2017/08/04)

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Threats

Eutrophication is the most serious threat to Plymouth Gentian. One small population (Lake Fanning) appears to already be stressed by competition induced by eutrophication associated with mink farming. The nutrient-demanding invasive exotic Reed Canary Grass is established on this lake and is an imminent threat to Plymouth Gentian. Eutrophication (600-800% increases in total phosphorus between 2002 and 2011, possibly from a single mink farm) was detected throughout the Tusket River system in 2011, affecting lakes containing 98% of the Canadian population. No impacts on Plymouth Gentian in Tusket system lakes have yet been observed, but phosphorus levels in some Tusket lakes are approaching those at Lake Fanning. Shoreline development is a widespread, ongoing threat affecting a small portion of the population. The species occurs on the shorelines of 200+ cottage or residential properties. About 27% of the population is on undeveloped private shorelines. New development continues, including within the densest Canadian population. Population losses from cottage development in the past 15 years (three generations) are likely significantly less than 2.8%. About 38% of occupied habitat and 32% of the population is now in protected areas, somewhat mitigating development threats. Hydroelectric dams on the lower Tusket River significantly reduced populations around 1929 and may be limiting recovery in affected lakes, but new dams are not a threat. Off-highway vehicles are locally affecting plants but do not appear to have major population effects. (Updated 2017/08/04)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Plymouth Gentian 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 and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora Recovery Team

  • Sherman Boates - Chair/Contact - Government of Nova Scotia
    Phone: 902-679-6146  Fax: 902-679-6176  Send Email
  • Samara Eaton - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
    Phone: 506-364-5060  Fax: 506-364-5062  Send Email

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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.

10 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Plymouth Gentian Sabatia kennedyana in Canada (2013)

    Plymouth Gentian is an herbaceous perennial with single, erect, flowering stems 30 to 50 cm tall arising from a basal rosette of narrow (oblanceolate) leaves 3 to 8 cm long. Basal rosettes produce short green stolons which form new rosettes at their tips. Clusters of interconnected rosettes are frequently produced. Erect stems have opposite leaves and one to three (rarely up to five) 5 cm-wide flowers of 7-13 pink petals with yellow bases.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Plymouth Gentian (2013)

    This showy perennial lakeshore plant has a restricted global range with a disjunct distribution limited to southernmost Nova Scotia. There is a concern regarding potential widespread and rapid habitat degradation due to recent increases in levels of phosphorus in lakes, tied to a rapidly growing mink farming industry. Though the population size is now known to be larger than previously documented due to greatly increased survey effort, the species is also at risk due to the continuing impacts associated with shoreline development, and historical hydro-development.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2016)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

Action Plans

  • Action Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2016)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Pink Coreopsis, Thread-leaved Sundew, Water Pennywort, Goldencrest and Plymouth Gentian and has prepared this action plan to implement the recovery strategy, as per section 47 of SARA. The minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) is a competent minister for the Water Pennywort, where the species occurs on lands administered by PCA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora (ACPF) Recovery Team, environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners, as per section 48(1) of SARA.

Management Plans

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2010)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2017)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of the assessments done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2017)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances). Given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013)

    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”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2013 (2013)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Endangered or Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 518 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments by March 23, 2014, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 23, 2014, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. Consultation paths.

Residence Description

  • Residence Rationale - Plymouth Gentian (2007)

    Individual Plymouth Gentian plants do not appear to use a dwelling place similar to a nest or den, and therefore do not qualify for having a residence. There would be no additional legal protection not already afforded by protection of the individual and its critical habitat.