Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Comptonia peregrina
Family: Myricaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1

Disturbance (fire or river scour) mediated. River bars, open woods, clearings and pastures, often on sandy acidic soil.

Species Description:

Flowering Period: Early April to late April.
Fruiting Period: Early August to late September.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
Aromatic shrub with linear-oblong leaves that are pinnatifid in shape (this leaf shape giving it the name sweet fern) have yellow resin-dots. Flowers not commonly present but these are tiny and without sepals or petals and arranged in catkins. Bracts of the inflorescence are longer than the fruit which is a small nut. The ovary appears as a small bur about 1 cm across.

Woody plant invasion may need to be controlled using periodic prescribed fire, mowing or other means (in Kentucky it is by river scour). Avoid changes in moisture/hydrologic conditions at the site. Changes could result from overstory removal, stream/wetland alteration or impacts due to erosion. Disturbance of surrounding areas such as ATV trails, timber removal or any activity that results in increased erosion and weed invasion will be detrimental.

Global Range:

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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