Plant Species Biology Summary for Fameflower Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Division of Natural Heritage

The following information is derived largely from monitoring records of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources but some may come from the literature and other sources.

Species: Talinum rugospermum, Fameflower

Compiler: John E. Schwegman, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Date of Most Recent Update: August 29, 1995

Location of Monitored Populations: Sand Ridge State Forest, Mason County Illinois.

Plot Type and Size, Population Size: Partial circular demographic plot with 4 meter radius for 180 degrees (25.13 meters square). Initial population was 13 flowering plants and 4 sterile plants at inception in 1988 increasing to 35 flowering and 22 sterile at the end of monitoring in 1993.

Monitoring Dates that are Basis for This Analysis: June 1988 through June 1993.

Variations from Normal Conditions While Monitoring: No fires occurred on the plot during the monitoring period. There was a severe drought in 1988 through 1989 then near normal climate until very wet in 1993.

Range of Natural Communities Inhabited: Open spaces in sand prairie.

Range of Plant Communities Inhabited: Eragrostis trichodes- Panicum pseudopubescens-Opuntia humifusa.

Range of Soil and Substrate: Sand.

Range of Slope and Aspect: Mostly level here although it occurs on gentle slopes in other nearby populations. Aspect seems unimportant.

Range of Shading or Crown Cover: Mostly in full sun but with some shading late in the day. A plant that was shaded by an oak sprout was suppressed to near death.

Flowering Dates in Illinois: June 1 to July 15 but can be delayed by lack of moisture.

Fruiting Dates in Illinois: Mid June through August.

Known Phenotypic Variation: None noted.

Known Pollinators in Illinois: None noted during monitoring. Monitoring was done in mornings and flowers open afternoons.

Reproductive Mode: Seed. Single roots develop as many as 3 crowns of leaves but these are always easily identified as a single plant and not vegetative reproduction.

Known Conditions for Sexual and Asexual Reproduction: The tiny seeds germinate in openings between grass clumps in spring under high moisture and high light levels. Thirteen seedlings were noted on June 22, 1993 during the wettest spring of the monitoring. Seed stratification needs are not known. Due to the tiny size of seeds they may not create a long-lived seed bank.

Known Diseases: No diseases were noted.

Known Grazers and Parasites: Both leaves and flowering stems are subject to grazing. The flowering stems and at least one instance of leaf grazing appeared to have been by deer. Most leaf grazing appears to be done by unseen insects. Grazing is not a serious problem but insect grazing can be severe enough to stress individual plants. At a nearby population dark bristly caterpillars about 3 cm long were observed clipping off plants at the base (below leaf tufts) which apparently killed the plants. These insects were not observed at the monitoring plot.

Known Problems with Exotic Species: Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), which is exotic at this locality, would have spread and destroyed its habitat here without eradication by managers during the study.

Known Response to Fire: No fire occurred during the monitoring and its response is unknown. Casual observation at other sites indicate that it may be killed or may decline after fire.

Known Mortality Factors: During the monitoring, plants were killed by uprooting by deer hooves, burying by pocket gopher mounds, heavy leaf grazing by insects and the combined effects of grazing and drought. One plant was suppressed to near death when shaded by leaves of a young blackjack oak sprout.

Known or Suspected Responses to Environmental Stress: In response to low moisture conditions in spring, seedling germination was prohibited and flowering was delayed until rains came. Severe drought any time during the growing season can cause collapse of the succulent leaves and may cause death. Heavy shading from adjacent vegetation can suppress and probably kill plants.

Known Shifts in Plant Vigor and Plant Longevity: No shifts in vegetative or flowering vigor were noted. Two plants marked in 1988 were found each of the subsequent 5 years. The general life span for plants that survive their first year is probably 4 or more years. Of 34 seedlings monitored, 47% died before reaching age 1, 20.5% flowered at age 1 and the remainder were sterile plants at age 1. Six of 10 1989 seedlings (all that survived their first year) were still alive in spring 1993.

Known "Resting" (of Perennial Herbs): There was no documented occurrence of plants remaining dormant one year or more and then returning in a subsequent year. New plants appeared in the general locality of past plants, but these were interpreted as seed reproduction.

Summary of Apparent Factors Regulating Size and Health of Populations: Dry springs limit or prohibit seed germination and seedling establishment slowing or stopping population growth. On the other hand wet springs foster seedling recruitment and population expansion. Drought in combination with insect leaf grazing kills some plants. Some plants are killed when clipped off at the ground surface by caterpillars. Other plants are killed when uprooted by trampling by deer and buried by burrowing pocket gophers. Shading by shrubs and trees reduce light levels to the point that this species disappears. Fire that may help suppress vegetative succession and retain high light levels may also kill some of the existent plants outright.