Scientific Name: Tephrosia virginiana
Other/Previous Names: Goat's-rue
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2009
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(ii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A species of restricted geographical occurrence in Canada present as two remaining populations within remnant Black Oak savanna and Black Oak woodland habitats in southwestern Ontario. These habitats are globally rare and are one of the most threatened ecological communities in Canada. Most of the fewer than 600 plants are present as a single population within two nearby protected areas. Here the species is at risk from habitat degradation through successional changes. The very small second population, found on private land, is at risk of loss due to erosion of its sandy dune habitat.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in April 1996. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in May 2000 and November 2009.
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.
Image of Virginia Goat's-rue
Virginia Goat’s–rue (Tephrosia virginiana) is an erect perennial herb in the pea family (Fabaceae). Its stems generally reach 30 to 70 cm in height and arise from a branched woody crown and slender tough woody roots. Its stems, branches, and leaf stalks are densely covered with fine whitish hairs. The compound leaves are alternate, short–stalked, and bear an odd number of pinnately–arranged leaflets. Flowers are typical pea–like in appearance and bicoloured; the larger upper petal is yellow to cream–coloured, with the smaller lateral petals and lower keel being pink to pale purple. Fruits are hairy, flattened, linear pods ranging in size from 3.5 to 5.5 cm containing 6 to 11 kidney–shaped seeds. (Updated 2017/05/31)
Distribution and Population
Virginia Goat’s–rue is limited to eastern and central North America, centred in Tennessee and Kentucky, ranging as far south as Texas and Florida. It is found as far west as Nebraska and north to Minnesota. In Ontario, Virginia Goat’s–rue is at the northern limit of its global range. It is limited to a small area of southern Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie. The present range of Virginia Goat’s–rue in Canada extends over an area of about 10 km². The actual area of habitat occupied is roughly 0.16 ha or 0.002 km². The Index of Area of Occupancy based on a 2x2 km grid is 20 km². (Updated 2017/05/31)
Throughout its range, Virginia Goat’s–rue is found in a variety of oak or pine woods, oak savanna, pine barrens, as well as sand prairies, sand dunes and open sand barrens. In Ontario, Virginia Goat’s–rue is limited to acidic sand deposits of the Norfolk Sand Plain in remnant Black Oak savanna and open Black Oak woodland. Trends suggest overall habitat reductions throughout its range, including oak savanna in Ontario, one of the most endangered ecological communities in Canada. (Updated 2017/05/31)
Virginia Goat’s–rue is a perennial flowering herb that produces flowers and fruit many times over the course of its lifetime; it flowers from late June through July in Ontario. The species may be self–pollinated but also appears adapted to bee pollination. Plant lifespan is not known, but the deep, woody taproots indicate longevity. Virginia Goat’s–rue is drought and fire adapted, possessing deep woody roots most likely with nitrogen fixing abilities. (Updated 2017/05/31)
The main limiting factor affecting Virginia Goat’s–rue in Canada is lack of suitable habitat. Direct threats are relatively minor and include trampling and mowing within the Turkey Point Natural Area, and erosion, a more serious threat, at Vittoria Dune Ridge. Indirect threats are more severe overall, and include habitat succession and lack of disturbance for many sub–populations. At present, invasive species are a minor threat, although in the long–term they could become a more serious threat. (Updated 2017/05/31)
The Virginia Goat's-rue 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.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Virginia Goat's-rue (Tephrosia virginiana) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
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.
7 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Virginia Goat's-rue (2010-12-02)A species of restricted geographical occurrence in Canada present as two remaining populations within remnant Black Oak savanna and Black Oak woodland habitats in southwestern Ontario. These habitats are globally rare and are one of the most threatened ecological communities in Canada. Most of the fewer than 600 plants are present as a single population within two nearby protected areas. Here the species is at risk from habitat degradation through successional changes. The very small second population, found on private land, is at risk of loss due to erosion of its sandy dune habitat.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010-09-03)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”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.