Oligoneuron houghtonii

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Oligoneuron houghtonii
Conservation status

Vulnerable (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Oligoneuron
Species: O. houghtonii
Binomial name
Oligoneuron houghtonii
(Torr. & A.Gray ex A.Gray) G.L.Nesom

Oligoneuron houghtonii (syn. Solidago houghtonii) is a rare species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common name Houghton's goldenrod. It is native to southern Ontario in Canada and northern Michigan in the United States. It is threatened by the loss and degradation of its habitat. It is a federally listed threatened species of the United States and it is designated a species of special concern by Canada's COSEWIC.[1]

This plant is a perennial herb producing one or more erect stems up to 60 centimeters tall or more from a branching caudex covered with the remains of previous seasons' leaves. The leaves near the base of the plant are oval in shape and those higher on the stem are linear or lance-shaped and up to 17 or 18 centimeters in length. The inflorescence is an array of many flower heads each up to a centimeter long. The head contains 6 to 12 yellow ray florets and several disc florets. The fruit is about half a centimeter long including the pappus of bristles at the tip.[2] Blooming occurs in August.[1]

This plant grows on the shores of the Great Lakes, mainly Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, at the Michigan-Ontario border. Reported occurrences from New York were misidentified and belong to different species.[2] It grows in sandy lakeshore habitat types as well as moist limestone alvars. The habitat is sometimes submerged but the plants return when water levels drop.[3] It also occurs in bog habitat.[1]

The species is threatened by the loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat during development and construction. Any disturbance of the dunes among which the plant grows can be harmful. The use of off-road vehicles in the habitat is detrimental, and the installation of walls, roads, and other structures affects the dunes. Maintenance activities such as herbicide application, mowing, and road salting are threats, as is beach recreation.[1]

Since 1975 about 20% of the populations of this plant have been eliminated.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Oligoneuron houghtonii. The Nature Conservancy.
  2. ^ a b Oligoneuron houghtonii. Flora of North America.
  3. ^ Oligoneuron houghtonii. Center for Plant Conservation.

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