Oxytropis campestris (L.) DC.

St. John River oxytrope

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

St. John River oxytrope is a northeastern endemic that in New England is confined to ice-scoured river shores and rock outcrops in a handful of locations along the St. John River in northern Maine. Little is known about the biology or ecology of this plant. Primary conservation threats include damming, trampling due to recreational vehicles, and invasive plants.

Habitat

Shores of rivers or lakes

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
  • white
  • yellow
Leaf type
the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaf arrangement
basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
  • both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
  • the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
5–15 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Carpels fused
    • NA
    • the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary and a hypanthium
    Flower number
    5–20
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • white
    • yellow
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    there are two clusters of fused stamens
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    • both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    • the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has hairs entirely without glands
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    1
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • white
    • yellow
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal folding in bud
    the petals in bud are arranged in a cycle with edges overlapping like roof shingles (imbricate)
    Petal folds or pleats
    • the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    • the petals of the flower have folds or plaits on them
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal length
    10–20 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    the petals are longer than the sepals
    Petal number
    5
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    NA
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal number
    5
    Sepal relative length
    the sepal lobes are shorter than the fused portion
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Stamen morphology
    the stamens within each cycle are the same
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are attached to one another at or near their bases
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    • NA
    • the capsule splits by two main valves, teeth or pores
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    5–15 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    the fruit is longer than its associated sepals
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    • the fruit is ellipsoid (widest in the middle and tapering to each end)
    • the fruit is lanceoloid (narrow, widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    Fruit stalk orientation
    the fruits point upward or spread or curve outward
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a legume (a fruit that splits into two valves, but only has a single carpel; think of a pea pod)
    Fruit width
    3.5–5 mm
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    the legume has none of the mentioned special features
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has parietal placentation, where ovules develop on the wall or slight outgrowths of the wall forming broken partitions within a compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteoles
    there are no bracteoles on the plant
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    5–25 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    3.5–6
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Hairs on leaf stalk
    the petiole has hairs on it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Leaf arrangement
    basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    • the hairs are flat against the leaf surface, mostly pointing towards the leaf tip
    • the hairs are standing up straight or curved in different directions
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk length
    20–250 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    NA
    Leaflet number
    7–31
    Leaflet petiolules
    the leaflets of the compound leaf lack petiolules
    Leaves per node
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (i.e., basal)
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    the pinnately compound leaves have a terminal leaflet (and usually have an odd number of leaflets per axis)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    Stipels
    there are no stipels at the bases of the petiolules
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    the stipules are fused to the petioles for some or most of their length
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    Specific habitat
    shores of rivers or lakes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    Leaves on stem
    the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    Plant height
    5–30 cm
    Stem hair distribution
    the hairs on the stem are distributed more of less uniformly
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem spacing
    the plant is growing in tufts, or compact clusters with closely spaced stems, or it is densely matted together in clumps, cushionlike
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1)

var. johannensis

Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), threatened (code: T)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Hedysarum alpinum:
fruit a schizocarp, raceme with second flowers, and plants with leafy stems (vs. O. campestris, with the fruit a legume, raceme with spirally arranged flowers, and plants with leaves confined to the base of the plant).
Astragalus alpinus

Synonyms

  • Oxytropis johannensis (Fern.) Heller

Family

Fabaceae

Genus

Oxytropis

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Oxytropis campestris (L.) DC. var. johannensis Fern.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Oxytropis campestris (L.) DC. var. johannensis Fern. NC

St. John River oxytrope. Oxytropis johannensis (Fern.) Heller • ME; northern portion of state. Ice-scoured river shores in regions of high-pH bedrock and/or till, on ledge, cobble, and gravel substrate.