Species Spotlight: Broom Crowberry

Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii)

“Coastal Barrens in Nova Scotia in general cannot be considered low-diversity ecosystems (Oberndorfer and Lundhom 2009; Cameron and Bondrup – Neilsen 2013, Porter 2013). This site specifically cannot reasonably be considered to be low in biodiversity.

Report on the Ecological Value of Owls Head Crown Land (Porter and Lundholm)
Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii) Pistillate flowers by Green Optics Photography
Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii) Pistillate flowers by Green Optics Photography. CC BY 2.0.

“Vegetation on the bedrock ridges of Owls Head [Provincial Park] is dominated by a shrub called Broom Crowberry (Corema Conradii),” explain biologists Caitlin Porter and Dr. Jeremey Lundholm. Broom Crowberry (Corema c­onradii) is a flowering heathland plant that is “endemic to eastern North America, meaning it can be found nowhere else in the world.” (Porter and Lundholm).

According to (FOIPOP 2020-0081-DLF), biologist Sean Basquill (Ecosystems and Habitats Program, NS Department of Lands and Forestry) agreed that across its global range, the coastal broom crowberry plant community “is only known from Nova Scotia and possibly parts of Maine.” Owls Head Provincial Park, he clarified, “appears to be one of the more important locations for the ecosystem in the province, particularly with the ecosystem’s low level of protection.” Porter and Lundholm advise that “if our province does not make an effort to protect this species, there will be no other opportunity elsewhere to protect it.”

SPECIES FACTS:
  • While sometimes confused, Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii) is a distinct species from the more common Black Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum).
  • Coastal broom crowberry barrens are dependent on the thin, acidic, and nutrient-poor soils on which they have evolved. These plant communities would be adversely affected by the addition of nutrients, soil, and other changes associated with a golf course development.
  • These dwarf shrubs have distinct male and female individuals, meaning they contain staminate (male) or pistillate (female) flowers on separate plants.
SOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:


Report on the Ecological Importance of Owls Head Crown land

Barrens Ecosystems in Nova Scotia: Classification of Heathlands and Related Plant Communities by Porter, Basquill, and Lundholm (Excerpt Below)

Barrens-Classification-DS7

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