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Chamaecrista Glandulosa Var. Mirabilis

Chamaecrista glandulosa var. mirabilis

No Common Name

Status Endangered
Listed April 5, 1990
Family Leguminosae (Fabaceae)
Description Prostrate shrub; leaves with scattered-whitish hairs; yellow flowers; bears fruit.
Habitat Silica sands; restricted to open areas.
Threats Sand extraction, expansion of residential areas, industrial development.
Range Puerto Rico


Chamaecrista glandulosa var. mirabilis is a prostrate, ascending or erect shrub that may reach more than 30 in (75 cm) in height. The leaves are alternate, evenly one-pinnate, with some scattered, whitish hairs. Flowers are yellow and solitary with one petal much larger than the others. Mature fruits are glabrous, linear, and flat, with 12-15 seeds. This species has also been classified as Cassia mirabilis.


C. glandulosa var. mirabilis is endemic to the silica sands of the northern coast of Puerto Rico. These sands are fine, white, highly permeable, and strongly acid. Although a dry evergreen or littoral forest is found in the area, C. glandulosa var. mirabilis is restricted to the open areas.


Once distributed throughout the silica sands in northern Puerto Rico, in the late 1990s the species was restricted to two areas in Dorado and the southern shore of the Tortuguero Lagoon in Puerto Rico. Approximately 150-200 individuals are known from these sites.


Sand extraction, the expansion of residential areas, and industrial development are the main threats to the survival of C. glandulosa var. mirabilis. One of the most important factors affecting the continued survival of the species is its limited distribution. Only 150-200 plants are known to occur in three areas. The Tortuguero Lagoon populations, the largest, are threatened by sand extraction, squatters, and the dumping of trash in this area. Continued intensive land alteration could result in the extinction of the species.

Conservation and Recovery

The Tortuguero Lagoon area is designated by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources as a natural reserve. Part of the land remains in private ownership, however, and habitat protection should be a priority for this species. Several plants from the Dorado population were transplanted to the Tortuguero Lagoon area to save them from destruction by a highway project. In addition to habitat protection, propagation in a botanical garden is recommended for this species.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30345

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Boquerón Ecological Services Field Office
P. O. Box 491
Boquerón, Puerto Rico 00622-0491
Telephone: (787) 851-7297
Fax: (787) 851-7440


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 7 May 1990. "Determination of Endangered Status for Cassia mirabilis. " Federal Register 55 (66): 12788-12790.

Vivaldi, J. L. and R. O. Woodbury. 1981. "Status Report on Cassia mirabilis (Pollard) Irwin & Barneby." Unpublished status report submitted to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 36 pp.

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