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Iliamna remota

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iliamna remota
Phymosia remota.tif
Kankakee mallow
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Iliamna
I. remota
Binomial name
Iliamna remota
Greene 1906.[1]

Iliamna remota, commonly known as the Kankakee mallow, is an endangered species of flowering plant in the mallow family. It is endemic to a single location, the 700-metre-long (2,300 ft) Langham Island in Kankakee River State Park, in the US state of Illinois.[2]


Iliamna remota is a herbaceous, perennial flowering plant growing from 1 to 2.5 meters tall. It has a greyish-green, densely hairy stem and alternate, palmately-lobed leaves. These have medium green, smooth upper surfaces and greyish-green pubescent undersides. The large flowers develop in the axils of the leaves, either singly or in groups of up to three, ranging in color from white to lavender. Anywhere from two to eight stems may grow from a single root crown and the roots themselves are generally shallow in depth while growing lengthy, dense, and fibrous tangles. Growth usually begins in the month of March, with flowering happening anywhere in July or August and eventual seed dispersal in September. New colonies sometimes develop from rhizomes.[2][3][4][5]


The official classification for the species continues to be debated due to several related species in the Iliamna genus that are endemic to surrounding habitats in Illinois and other states. These species include the related Iliamna rivularis and Iliamna corei.[6][7] However, the original taxonomic classification for the species was conducted by Edward Lee Greene in 1906, where he marked the species as separate from Iliamna rivularis due to "morphological differences of the calyx-lobes and carpels". Similar morphological distinction was made by botanist Earl Edward Sherff in his review of the species in 1949. A 2000 study by Tracey Bodo Slotta confirmed this distinction by looking at the genetic sequencing in the "internal transcribed spacer region in the nuclear ribosomal RNA subunits", confirming that I. remota was distinct from other Iliamna species.[2]


The first official documentation of the species was by Ellsworth Jerome Hill on June 29, 1872, while he was visiting the Langham Island that was then named Altorf Island after the nearby town of Altorf. The habitat of the species, Langham Island, was turned into an official nature preserve in 1966 for the Kankakee River area.[8] Due to its small population and the fact that the range of the species was limited only to a single island, the species was placed onto the endangered species list for the state of Illinois in 1980. Botanist John Schwegman noted in a 1984 report that a 1973 survey by students at Westview High School in Illinois of the range of I. remota found that the population covered almost the entire northwestern part of the island. A 1981 survey found that a single colony of the species on the island contained around 109 flowering stems. Similar reports two years later found that this same colony had declined to just 49 stems and the overall species was made up of only 180 stems in five colonies.[2]

John Schwegman devised a plan to help the population recover and flourish again on the island. This plan included wiping out other plant species on the island that reduced the sunlight reaching the low-lying I. remota stems by using both chemical methods and controlled burns. Regular surveys of the population were also to be conducted annually. This plan was first enacted in 1984 and continued to be followed for 19 years. In April 2001, it was discovered that brush burning of surrounding species significantly improved the growth of seedlings, with one area reaching 3,500 germinating seedlings after a brush burning was conducted. Overall, the plant survey two decades later showed that the average population on the island had increased from 180 stems to 1,646 stems in 2002, though a significant amount of that increase was recorded just within the previous year after brush burning was enacted. However, no further brush burnings were conducted from 2003 to 2014 and no continued management and oversight plan had been performed. During a 2005 investigation of the species population on the island, only "1,074 stems in 12 colonies" were found.[2] The lack of sustained care for the species resulted in an almost complete eradication of mallow on the island, whereby not a single stem could be found by 2014. A local group named the "Friends of Langham Island" started a controlled burn in the winter of 2014 of the various invasive plant species that had overtaken the island. The following August, in 2015, they were able to confirm that mallow was growing on the island again, the seeds having been prompted to germinate after the burns.[9][10]

A campaign was begun in 2015 by Robbie Telfer to have the Kankakee mallow named the state flower of Illinois, due to the fact that the previous state flower, the violet, is also the state flower for three other states.[9][11] Representative Kate Cloonen has stated her support for starting an honorary resolution in the 2016 session of the Illinois General Assembly.[12]


  1. ^ a b Hassler, M., ed. (26 July 2017). "Catalogue of Life : Iliamna remota Greene". Catalogue of Life. Leiden, the Netherlands: ITIS. ISSN 2405-8858. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e McDonnell AL, Owen HR, Jones SC, Gutowski VP, Ebinger JE (November 2006). "Survey of the Illinois Endangered Kankakee Mallow, Iliamna Remota (Greene), in Kankakee County". Erigenia. 21: 32–39. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  3. ^ Mohlenbrock, Robert H. (April 16, 1982). Flowering Plants: Basswoods to Spurges. SIU Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 9780809310258. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Flood RM, Horvath D, Blessman G (Spring 2000). "Protocol for growing Kankakee mallow (Iliamna remota)" (PDF). Native Plants Journal. 1 (1): 13–14. doi:10.3368/npj.1.1.13.
  5. ^ Hilty, John. "Kankakee Mallow". Wildflowers of Illinois in Savannas & Thickets. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  6. ^ Virginia Academy of Science (2001). The Virginia Journal of Science. University of Chicago. p. 95. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Jamieson, Dale (April 15, 2008). A Companion to Environmental Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 407. ISBN 9780470751657.
  8. ^ Greenberg, Joel (December 1, 2004). A Natural History of the Chicago Region. University of Chicago Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 9780226306490.
  9. ^ a b Kogan, Rick (October 16, 2015). "Cultivating a case for the Kankakee mallow to be named Illinois state flower". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Themer, Robert (August 10, 2015). "Kankakee mallow emerges". Daily Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  11. ^ Breen, Justin (August 11, 2015). "The Kankakee Mallow, a Wildflower Thought Extinct in State, Is Found Again". Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  12. ^ O'Connor, Rod (April 30, 2015). "Flower for the People". Chicago. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
This page was last edited on 22 September 2019, at 14:10
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