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Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science

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Botanist Thomas Nuttall called the royal catchfly, Silene regia, "one of the most splendid species in existence." This red-flowered, hummingbird-pollinated member of the Caryophyllaceae is a perennial herb of prairies and glades. Because of the conversion of much of its former habitat to agriculture, the royal catchfly is considered threatened in Indiana. The species' historical and present-day distribution in the State, documenting the current status of all known locations, including population sizes and co-occurring species, are reported in this paper. Only 8 of the documented 23 historical locations still support the plant. No populations occur in dedicated nature preserves or other protected areas. However, the Division of Nature Preserves of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources does manage the site containing the largest and most genetically variable population in the State. Active management to promote prairie vegetation at the site may be the key to maintaining this high-quality population.


This article was originally published in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science.

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