Small Whorled Pogonia
Scientific Name: Isotria medeoloides
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2011
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A2a; B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); D1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:
This small orchid, previously known only from a single swamp in Ontario, requires mixed damp woods. It was assessed as Endangered in 2000. Its habitat continues to decline in quality due to trampling and exotic earthworms. It was last seen in 1998, though its potential for dormancy means it may still be extant.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 1982. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1998, May 2000, and May 2011.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Other Protection or Status | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents
Image of Small Whorled Pogonia
The Small Whorled Pogonia is a perennial terrestrial orchid measuring 9.5 to 25 cm in height. There are 5 or 6 leaves at the end of the stem. The flowers are yellowish-green; one or two flowers are found at the end of the stem, beyond the leaves. The capsules measure 2.5 by 1 cm; a capsule can contain several thousand tiny seeds.
Distribution and Population
The Small Whorled Pogonia has been considered rare in North America ever since its discovery in 1814. It occurs in the United States from New England and Michigan south to Missouri and South Carolina. In Canada, the Small Whorled Pogonia is found at only one site in southwestern Ontario, in the Calton Swamp area of Elgin County. From 1980 to 1989, the Small Whorled Pogonia in Canada was reduced from four distinct but close locations in the Calton Swamp, to a single individual plant. It is not known if the plant has disappeared entirely from the swamp, or still exists there in low numbers.
The Small Whorled Pogonia requires damp, mixed woods with an acidic soil. There is usually abundant leaf mould, but limited shrub and herbaceous cover. A forest with small openings and a flat floor is preferred.
The Small Whorled Pogonia flowers from May to June. The likelihood of the seeds germinating, and thus of the plant reproducing, is very low.
The Small Whorled Pogonia is very sensitive to disturbance, as is typical of all orchids. Collection of specimens for scientific purposes has been the cause of the loss of many plants. Trampling and loss of habitat are also limiting factors for the Small Whorled Pogonia. A trail used by trail bikes and all-terrain vehicles crosses the orchid habitat at Calton Swamp; trail traffic has caused the demise of at least one group of pogonias.
The Small Whorled Pogonia is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
The Small Whorled Pogonia is protected by the Ontario Endangered Species Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, harass, or collect this species, or to destroy its habitat. It occurs in the Calton Swamp Wildlife Management Area.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Other Protection or Status
The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna, of which Canada is a member, protects the Small Whorled Pogonia against international trade.
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Small Whorled Pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Small Whorled Pogonia Recovery Team
Tony Difazio - Chair/Contact - Conservation organization (NGO)
Phone: 519-773-9037 Fax: 519-765-1489 Send Email
Ron Gould - Chair/Contact - Government of Ontario
Phone: 519-773-4745 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
5 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Small Whorled Pogonia (2011-12-08)This small orchid, previously known only from a single swamp in Ontario, requires mixed damp woods. It was assessed as Endangered in 2000. Its habitat continues to decline in quality due to trampling and exotic earthworms. It was last seen in 1998, though its potential for dormancy means it may still be extant.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011-09-09)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.