Species At Risk


(Buchenera americana)


Bluehearts occurrences map


Bluehearts is a member of the Broomrape family (Orobanchaceae). It is perennial, and grows up to 80 centimetres in height. It has a spike of deep purple flowers, the petals forming a tube ending in five widely spreading lobes. The leaves are opposite, stemless, coarsely toothed, with the upper ones progressively smaller and narrower than the lower ones. The seeds of Bluehearts can remain viable in the soil for at least three years.


Bluehearts is concentrated in Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri. It is believed to be extirpated from Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and New York. In Canada, Bluehearts is limited to three locations along a 10-kilometre stretch of the Lake Huron shoreline within the area between Kettle Point and Pinery Provincial Park.


In Ontario, Bluehearts is found in wet meadow communities between sand dunes along shorelines where it is associated with plants characteristic of tallgrass prairies. This habitat is considered rare in Ontario.


Bluehearts is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, especially a decrease in the extent of water level fluctuations resulting from lower water levels in Lake Huron. It is also threatened by recreational activities such as ATV riding and cycling, picking, and the development of cottages and roads. Woody plants and the European Common Reed threaten to crowd it out in places.


Bluehearts is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.

What You Can Do to Help Bluehearts

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as Bluehearts. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies; www.invadingspecies.com; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca.

Did you know?

Bluehearts is “hemiparasitic” meaning that it may feed off of other plants but do not require this to survive.

Did you know?

The seeds of Bluehearts require light to germinate. As a result, the species depends on disturbances such as fire and water level fluctuations to prevent shade-producing vegetation, trees and shrubs from taking over their habitat.

Did you know?

Bluehearts has bluish-purple flowers that quickly turn black when bruised or picked.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.