Echinacea laevigata, or smooth coneflower, is a federally listed endangered species found in open woods and human maintained clearings, including roadsides and utility rights of way. The species is disjunctly distributed in the eastern United States, with populations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, where they are associated with calcium and magnesium rich soils. This research was designed to determine if there is a nonrandom relationship between soil chemistry and the occurrence of E. laevigata along roadsides in northeast Georgia. Soil samples were collected from sites along roadsides with known populations and from arbitrarily selected sites without E. laevigata along the same roadsides. Multiple response permutation procedure (MRPP) found a nonrandom relationship between soil chemistry and occurrence. Sites with E. laevigata had a wider range of pH values but had lower iron values than the set of arbitrarily selected sites, suggesting that the species may be excluded from locations with high levels of iron in the soil.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1