New Reports of Geranium molle L. and Erodium cicutarium (L.)
L‘Hér. ex Ait. (Geraniaceae) from Mississippi and Other
Important Collections from the State
Lucas C. Majure*
Abstract - Geranium molle and Erodium cicutarium are reported here as new to the fl ora of
Mississippi. Other collections representing new county records and disjunct populations also
are reported. Several of these species are either rare or introduced, which make these findings
significant for the Mississippi fl ora.
Geranium molle L. (dovesfoot cranesbill; Geraniaceae) was collected on a roadside
in east central Lauderdale County (Fig. 1) adjacent to a small fl oodplain, growing
in slightly sandy soils associated with other ruderal species. This winter annual is naturalized
as a weedy component of frequently disturbed habitats (Radford et al. 1968).
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Plants Database (NRCS 2007),
this species occurs in all of the eastern states except for Florida, Louisiana, and
Mississippi. It also inhabits several western-northwestern states (California, Idaho,
Montana, Oregon, and Washington) and Hawaii. This plant is not listed by Lowe
(1921) or in the preliminary plant checklist for the state of Mississippi (McCook and
Kartesz 2000), and no Mississippi specimens were found from the prominent state
herbaria (IBE, MISS, MISSA, MMNS, SWSL, USMS; herbarium acronyms follow
Holmgren and Holmgren 1998). It is reported here as a new state record.
This plant, although introduced, is not listed as an invasive species by the Plants
Database (NRCS 2007) or by the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (2007). Therefore,
this species probably adds to the state’s naturalized fl ora and does not pose a
threat to biodiversity. Populations of dovesfoot cranesbill possibly occur near the
Tennessee–Mississippi border, as locality data for this species is available from
Tennessee within the vicinity of Tishomingo County, MS, the state’s northeasternmost
county (TENN). This species has been collected in Alabama near Tishomingo
County, as well (C.T. Bryson, USDA-ARS, Stoneville, MS, pers. comm.), so it may
occur near that area in Mississippi.
Voucher specimens: Lauderdale County, Kewanee Road, 32.44156°N 88.44785°W,
along roadside. Lucas C. Majure 2174, 31 March 2007 (MISSA, MMNS, USMS).
Erodium cicutarium (L.) L‘Hér. ex Ait. (heronsbill; Geraniaceae) occurs in every
state in the continental United States except for Florida and Mississippi according to
the Plants Database (NRCS 2007), although Abbott and Carlsward (2004) reported
it from Florida. Heronsbill is not listed as occurring in Mississippi by Lowe (1921),
by McCook and Kartesz (2000), or by Leidolf et al. (2002). Howard (1992) includes
Mississippi within the United States distribution of this species, but does not provide
a citation for this information. Records of this species exist at the Mississippi State
University Herbarium (MISSA) collected from Oktibbeha County in 1933, near the
MSU campus, by two separate collectors. This species was collected from Cleveland
in Bolivar County from the campus of Delta State University in 1996 and in
Washington County at Stoneville (Fig. 1) in 1966 (C.T. Bryson, pers. comm.). Since
reviewing the specimens at MISSA, efforts were made to relocate this species from
Oktibbeha County around the campus of MSU, but no plants were found. Although
this species exists in Mississippi, it has been collected infrequently. This species
tends to occur or persist naturalized in slightly disturbed areas (Radford et al. 1968);
Notes of the Southeastern Nat u ral ist, Issue 7/2, 2008
368 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 7, No. 2
thus, it is likely to be found in more locations around human dwellings, agricultural
fields, and other anthropogenically disturbed areas in Mississippi. This finding is the
first confirmed report of this species for Mississippi.
Voucher specimens: Oktibbeha County, MS, State College, MS, T. Easley s.n.,
August 1933 (MISSA); State College, MS, T.D. Persons s.n., 1933 (MISSA); Bolivar
County, MS, Cleveland, on campus of Delta State University, disturbed soil at base of
small tree planted last year, possible introduction from nursery, Robert Stewart 5579
and Jessica Stewart, 29 May 1996 (SWSL); Washington County, MS, Stoneville,
orchard, M.L. Laster s.n., 13 Apr 1966 (SWSL).
Dryopteris ludoviciana (Kunze) Small (southern woodfern) (Dryopteridaceae)
was found in Lauderdale County (Fig. 1) along a densely canopied acidic spring
seep that grades into a marsh area. This population had been recorded previously in
a Mississippi Natural Heritage Program report but was not vouchered (H. Sullivan,
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson, MS, pers. comm.). The population
at this site is large, covering at least 30 m2 and reproducing sexually. This location
represents one of three populations that have been found in the state (Sorrie and
Leonard  and Alford  found this species in Perry and Amite counties,
respectively; Fig. 1) and is disjunct from the nearest location (Perry County) by at
least 145 km. Southern woodfern is tracked by the Mississippi Natural Heritage Program
(2006) and ranked as an S1 for the state.
Figure 1. Map of Mississippi
counties and locations in
which specimens were
collected. Amite and
Perry counties are highlighted
for reference to
previous collections of
2008 Southeastern Naturalist Notes 369
Voucher specimens: Lauderdale County, Beaverpond Road, SW of Lauderdale
from Hwy. 45 S, along roadside and in springhead with Nyssa aquatica L., Woodwardia
areolata (L.) T.Moore, Carex crinita Lam. var. brevicrinis Fern., Peltandra
virginica (L.) Schott, Medeola virginiana L. Lucas C. Majure 2320, 5 May 2007
(MISSA, MMNS, SWSL, USMS).
Nestronia umbellula Raf. (leechbrush; Santalaceae) was collected in Lauderdale
County (Fig. 1) at the base of a sandhill under a large group of around 30–40 year old
Pinus taeda L.(loblolly pine). Leechbrush is parasitic on the roots of pines (Radford
et al. 1968). One large colony of approximately 100 stems was observed in the area
growing in deep, dry sand adjacent to a small braided stream and acidic spring seep.
Staminate and carpellate plants were in fl ower at the time of collection, but no fruit
were observed. Leechbrush is ranked as an S1/S2 in Mississippi (Mississippi Natural
Heritage Program 2006). It was known previously from Mississippi (McCook and
Kartesz 2000) only from Neshoba County (Fig. 1) collected by T.E. Smith in 1985,
northwest of the city of Philadelphia. This collection represents a new county record
and a disjunct population by roughly 90 km to the south of the nearest known locality.
More populations of this species should be found with intense searches throughout
east-central and southern Mississippi, as this habitat type is not uncommon. The
population northwest of Philadelphia was re-checked earlier this year and seems to
be in good health, although it is threatened by erosion from an adjacent sand pit along
Voucher specimens: Lauderdale County, ca. 1.4km SW of Point-Wanita Lake
Road down pipeline, one large colony growing in fine sandy soils under loblolly
pine; males and females present, in flower; plants to 60 cm tall. Lucas C. Majure
2341, with T. Majure, 6 May 2007 (MISSA, MMNS, SWSL, TENN, USMS); Neshoba
County, ca. 18 mi NW of Philadelphia along Highway. 19 N, W of Arlington;
just S of intersection with Highway 25 and Winston County line, along huge sandhill
above sandpit and along roadside; plants to 70 cm tall, 1000s of stems; assoc.
w/ Pinus echinata P.Mill. (shortleaf pine), Vaccinium arboreum Marsh (farkleberry).
Lucas C. Majure 2568, w/ C. Holly, N. Sonderman, 2 July 2007 (MISSA,
MMNS, SWSL, TENN, USMS).
Acknowledgments. This work was supported in part by funding from the
USGS Biological Resources Discipline (#04HQAG0135) to Gary N. Ervin. I
would like to thank Mac Alford (USMS), Heather Sullivan (MMNS), and Charles
T. Bryson (SWSL) for providing information regarding Mississippi collections.
Abbott, R.J., and B.S. Carlsward. 2004. Noteworthy collections: Florida. Castanea
Alford, M.H. 2001. The vascular fl ora of Amite County, Mississippi. Sida 19:645–699.
Holmgren, P.K., and N.H. Holmgren. 1998 [continuously updated]. Index Herbariorum: A
global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden’s
Virtual Herbarium. Available online at http://sweetgum.nybg.org/ih/. Accessed 20
Howard, J.L. 1992. Erodium cicutarium. In Fire Effects Information System. US Department
of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
Available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/. Accessed September 6, 2007.
Leidolf, A., S. McDaniel, and T. Nuttle. 2002. The fl ora of Oktibbeha County, Mississippi.
Lowe, E.N. 1921. Plants of Mississippi. Mississippi State Geological Survey, Bulletin 17,
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McCook, L.M., and J. Kartesz. 2000. A preliminary checklist of the plants of Mississippi. Available
online at herbarium.olemiss.edu/checklist.html. Accessed 5 May 2007.
Mississippi Natural Heritage Program. 2006. Special plants tracking list. Mississippi Museum
of Natural Science, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Jackson,
MS. 8 pp.
Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas.
The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.
Sorrie, B.A., and S.W. Leonard. 1999. Noteworthy records of Mississippi vascular plants. Sida
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2007. Invasive plants of the southeast. Available online at
http://www.seeppc.org/weeds.cfm. Accessed 20 November 2007.
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). 2007. The PLANTS Database. Available
online at http://plants.usda.gov. Accessed 18 August 2007. US Department of Argiculture,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA.
*Mississippi State University Herbarium (MISSA), Department of Biological Sciences, PO Box
GY, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762. Current address - University
of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, PO Box 117800, Gainesville, FL 32611-7800;