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Photo credit: Suzzanne Chapman

Texas golden gladecress (Leavenworthia texana) | ESA status: endangered

Texas golden gladecress

The Texas golden gladecress, a member of the mustard family, grows only in Texas.

Texas golden gladecress habitat

The plant is a habitat specialist that grows only in ironstone outcrops of the Weches Geologic Formation in east Texas: open, sandy, alkaline glades created by ancient seas 30 to 50 million years ago. Although relatively small and surrounded by oak-hickory-pine forests, the Weches outcrops support highly diverse plant communities, including rare and endemic species that specialize in these unique environments.

All known gladecress sites and remaining habitat are on private land. Some sites are so small that they are measured in meters: the Geneva site (Sabine County) is approximately nine square meters. The largest population, an introduced population of gladecress occupying about 18 square meters on a farm in Nacogdoches County, was eradicated by a pipeline installation in 2011, leaving only about 400 plants in three populations.

What are the threats to the Texas golden gladecress?

Quarrying of glauconite, oil and gas wells, and the associated roads and pipelines have destroyed 50 percent of the known populations of Texas golden gladecress as of 2011. Glauconite is in high demand as an ingredient of road beds, well pads, and fertilizer. The entire range of the Texas golden gladecress is underlain with natural gas-bearing shale, which is being rapidly developed. Invasive species outcompete the small plant for light and nutrients.

What WildEarth Guardians is doing to preserve the Texas golden gladecress

The Texas golden gladecress was included in our 2011 settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2013.

Wildlife Press: Texas golden gladecress