Thursday, December 5, 2013

USFWS again fails to list California endangered plants

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published a revised list of Candidate Plants under the Federal Endangered Species Act on November 22, 2013.  Six California endemic plants remain formal Candidates (including their number of documented occurrences):

               Family                  Taxon                                                 Occurrences
               Brassicaceae         Rorippa subumbellata                                  29          
                                         Streptanthus bracteatus                                 8
               Liliaceae               Calochortus persistens                               5
               Nyctaginaceae       Abronia alpina                                             1
               Pinaceae               Pinus albicaulis                                       >10,000?

None of these six are particularly endangered: Pinus albicaulis shows no direct evidence of decline in the Sierra (unlike in the northern Rocky Mountains, suggesting genetics).  Rorippa subumbellata, endemic to the beaches of Lake Tahoe, now trampled and stranded, is uncommon but not critical.  Streptanthus bracteatus is a rare serpentine endemic, but has not declined in recent times.  Calochortus persistens is very rare, but is the subject of active USFS management, recently formalized in a signed directive.  Perhaps of the 6 candidates, only Abronia alpina might be considered threatened.

The USFWS revised Candidate List also removed two California plants from Candidate status: Hazardia orcuttii (Asteraceae) with ca. 15 extant occurrences, and Phacelia stellaris (Hydrophyllaceae) also with about 15 extant occurrences.

What the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service failed to do in revision of the list of Candidate Plants is to in any way advance to candidacy the nearly 100 California endemic plants that are biologically endangered or threatened BUT WHICH ENJOY NO LISTING STATUS.

The list below are those CA endemics with three or fewer known occurrences, and which are not State Listed.  Some of these are not now in danger of extinction, as they occur in remote areas, and hence ought to be listed as Threatened (N is the number of extant occurrences).  

California harbors more endangered plants than the remainder of the coterminous United States combined (absent Florida and Hawaii, and excluding tropical Pacific protectorates).   

USFWS - do triage, get with the program, list these plants.  

Family Scientific Name N CNPS S G
Alliaceae Allium marvinii   2 1B.1 S1 G1
Apiaceae Lomatium shevockii   2 1B.3 S2 G2
Asteraceae Ancistrocarphus keilii   2 1B.1 S1 G1
Asteraceae Baccharis plummerae ssp. glabrata 3 1B.2 S2 T2
Asteraceae Deinandra bacigalupii   3 1B.2 S1 G1
Asteraceae Dieteria canescens var. ziegleri 2 1B.2 S1 T1
Asteraceae Erigeron calvus   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Asteraceae Erigeron serpentinus   3 1B.3 S2 G2
Asteraceae Harmonia guggolziorum   2 1B.1 S1 G1
Asteraceae Helianthus inexpectatus   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Asteraceae Heterotheca monarchensis   3 1B.3 S2 G1
Asteraceae Malacothrix foliosa ssp. crispifolia 2 1B.2 S1 T1
Asteraceae Malacothrix foliosa ssp. philbrickii 3 1B.2 S1 T1
Asteraceae Malacothrix junakii   2 1B.1 S1 G1
Boraginaceae Cryptantha excavata   3 1B.3 S2 G2
Boraginaceae Cryptantha incana   3 1B.3 S1 G1
Boraginaceae Phacelia cookei   3 1B.1 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Boechera hirshbergiae   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Boechera peirsonii   3 1B.2 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Boechera rubicundula   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Boechera shevockii   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Boechera ultraalsa   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Boechera yorkii   3 1B.3 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Caulanthus amplexicaulis var. barbarae 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Brassicaceae Smelowskia ovalis   3 1B.2 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Streptanthus glandulosus ssp. hoffmanii 2 1B.3 SH TH
Brassicaceae Streptanthus oblanceolatus   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Streptanthus vernalis   1 1B.2 S1 G1
Brassicaceae Tropidocarpum californicum   2 1B.1 S1 G1
Cactaceae Cylindropuntia munzii   2 1B.3 S1 G3
Cactaceae Echinocereus engelmannii var. howei 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Campanulaceae Nemacladus calcaratus   3 1B.2 S1 G1
Caryophyllaceae Minuartia decumbens   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Convolvulaceae Calystegia collina ssp. tridactylosa 3 1B.2 S1 T1
Convolvulaceae Cuscuta jepsonii   1 1B.2 SH GH
Crassulaceae Dudleya blochmaniae ssp. insularis 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Crassulaceae Dudleya cymosa ssp. costatifolia 2 1B.2 S2 T2
Crassulaceae Dudleya cymosa ssp. crebrifolia 1 1B.2 S1 T1
Crassulaceae Dudleya gnoma   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Cupressaceae Hesperocyparis macrocarpa   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Cyperaceae Eleocharis torticulmis   2 1B.3 S1 G1
Ericaceae Arctostaphylos crustacea ssp. eastwoodiana 3 1B.1 S2? T2?
Ericaceae Arctostaphylos gabilanensis   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Ericaceae Arctostaphylos mendocinoensis 1 1B.2 S1 T1
Ericaceae Arctostaphylos osoensis   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Ericaceae Arctostaphylos tomentosa ssp. daciticola 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Fabaceae Acmispon argyraeus var. notitius 3 1B.3 S2 T2
Fabaceae Astragalus ravenii   3 1B.3 S2 G2
Fabaceae Lathyrus biflorus   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Fabaceae Lupinus constancei   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Iridaceae Iris hartwegii ssp. columbiana 2 1B.2 S2 T2
Juncaceae Juncus digitatus   3 1B.1 S1 G1
Lamiaceae Lepechinia rossii   3 1B.2 S1 G1
Lamiaceae Monardella australis ssp. jokerstii 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Lamiaceae Monardella boydii   3 1B.2 S2 G2
Lamiaceae Monardella undulata ssp. arguelloensis 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Liliaceae Calochortus syntrophus   2 1B.1 S1 G1
Liliaceae Erythronium taylorii   1 1B.2 S1 G1
Liliaceae Fritillaria biflora var. ineziana 2 1B.1 S1 T1
Malvaceae Sidalcea hickmanii ssp. napensis 2 1B.1 S1 T1
Malvaceae Sidalcea hickmanii ssp. pillsburiensis 1 1B.2 S1 T1
Onagraceae Clarkia concinna ssp. raichei 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Onagraceae Clarkia tembloriensis ssp. calientensis 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Orchidaceae Piperia elegans ssp. decurtata 2 1B.1 S1 T1
Orobanchaceae Castilleja ambigua var. meadii 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Papaveraceae Platystemon californicus var. ciliatus 1 1B.2 S1 T1
Pinaceae Pinus torreyana ssp. insularis 2 1B.2 S1 T1
Pinaceae Pinus torreyana ssp. torreyana 3 1B.2 S1 T1
Plantaginaceae Penstemon tracyi   3 1B.3 S1 G1
Poaceae Agrostis lacuna-vernalis   3 1B.1 S1 G1
Poaceae Puccinellia howellii   1 1B.1 S1 G1
Polemoniaceae Gilia yorkii   1 1B.2 S1 G1
Polemoniaceae Navarretia gowenii   3 1B.1 S1 G1
Polemoniaceae Navarretia myersii ssp. deminuta 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum kennedyi var. pinicola 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum luteolum var. saltuarium 3 1B.2 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum microthecum var. lacus-ursi 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum nudum var. psychicola 1 1B.1 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum ovalifolium var. monarchense 1 1B.3 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum spectabile   2 1B.2 S1 G1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum umbellatum var. lautum 2 1B.1 S1 T1
Polygonaceae Eriogonum wrightii var. olanchense 2 1B.3 S2 T2
Rhamnaceae Ceanothus foliosus var. vineatus 3 1B.1 S1? T1
Rosaceae Drymocallis cuneifolia var. cuneifolia 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Rosaceae Horkelia daucifolia var. indicta 3 1B.1 S1 T1
Rosaceae Ivesia longibracteata   1 1B.3 S1 G1
Rosaceae Petrophytum caespitosum ssp. acuminatum 3 1B.3 S2 T2
Rubiaceae Galium hypotrichium ssp. tomentellum 1 1B.3 S1 T1
Themidaceae Brodiaea matsonii   2 1B.1 S1 G1

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two species masquerading as Tauschia glauca?

Tauschia glauca is a serpentine endemic limited the California Floristic Province of far southwestern Oregon and northwestern California.    Two flower color forms are known: plants with yellow flowers occur in Jackson, Josephine and Del Norte counties.    Plants with purple flowers are more narrowly distributed, being restricted to Trinity County.

The purple flowered taxon was described as Velea glauca var. purpurascens J.T. Howell (Leaf. W. Bot. 2:185. 1939).  The purple-flowered taxon escaped the attention of Abrams (1951): then, there was only one California specimen, of the yellow flowered form (DS310004), at this disposal.   The purple-flowered taxon also escaped the attention of Munz (1959): again, he had access only to the yellow flowered taxon (RSA470298).  Jepson (1936) also did not treat Tauschia glauca as occurring in California, and in point of fact, his key to genera (p. 613) makes Velea yellow flowered!  The image below is my #21,353 from Gasquet, Del Norte County (Calphoto0000 0000 0813 2445 (2013-08-22)

This basionym has not been transferred to Tauschia, as it might well ought to be.

The protologue of Velea glauca var. purpurascens J.T. Howell, using a practice that remained acceptable at the time, designated types for both flowering and fruiting material.  Here, I consider the fruiting material, CAS255381, is considered as a syntype, and the flowering specimens are considered as the lectotype (lectotype CAS255378, isolectotypes CAS255379, NY406299, GH77821, POM251762).

The flower color of imaged specimens from Oregon specimens in flowering condition are all yellow (cf. SOC-VP-6465, REED-VP-3429, CIC-VP-40792, HPSU-VP-1130).    On Calphotos, the two posted yellow- flowered images [6249 3022 3948 0001 (1997-01-16) and  0000 0000 0813 2445 (2013-08-22)] are from Del Norte County.  By contrast, the Trinity County posted images [0000 0000 1211 0870 (2011-12-09) and  0000 0000 0711 1165 (2011-07-14)] are purple flowered.

The key uncertainty in my analysis is this: four specimens (shown on the map as red, three at: HSC38883. HSC49986 and HSC65900), are situated geographically intermediate between the centers of distribution of clearly yellow and clearly purple flower color forms.  What color might these be?   Might they be intermediate?  Might they be a third taxon?   The disposition of flower color forms in Tauschia glauca makes it necessary to go hither. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Yosemite Valley? – the highest density of herbarium specimens in North America?

On-line herbarium specimen databases are becoming an important tool for studies of plant biogeography.  They will increasingly point directions for plant conservation.   Specimen records are not equally distributed between areas, and many herbaria are not yet functionally digitized..  As pointed out before, the variance in herbarium specimen density between counties within California is high.  

As of today, my data compilation of specimen records for for Yosemite National Park stands at 30,149 specimens, a density of 9.8 specimens/square kilometer – about twice the specimen density for the state as a whole.

Yosemite Valley is perhaps one of the most visited sites on Earth.  A total of ca. 5,450 specimens can be directly or strongly attributed to Yosemite Valley.  Allowing that the area of the Valley floor, and abutting vertical walls, is uncertain,  the area of the Valley is about 20 square kilometers (8 miles long, one mile wide).  Thus, a vascular plant herbarium specimen density for Yosemite Valley is about 272 specimens/square kilometer.

Comparative is San Francisco city and county, with ca. 7800 specimens at ca. 75 specimens/square kilometer.  Also comparative is Bronx County, New York (via Consortium Northeast Herbaria) at 3479 specimens, at 24 specimens/square kilometer.

Yosemite Valley is the most highly collected location in North America. Moreover, in some respects, Yosemite Valley is functionally as urbanized as San Francisco and the Bronx.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Perennial Erythranthe glaucescens [...Sheild bracted monkeyflower, is, probably, 2 species. II]

Erythranthe glaucescens (nee Mimulus g.) - CNPS List 4 is, in your revised Jepson Manual (2012) - annual.  Nesom (2012) also circumscribes Erythranthe glaucescens as annual.  The type specimen of Erythranthe glaucescens is clearly an annual.  

As Nesom noted (p. 61) Macnair (1996) "behaves as a perennial in the glasshouse".  Furthermore, Nesom cited one specimen (Heller s.n. July 2, 1914) from "canyon Big Chico Creek" as a stoloniferous perennial.

Plants from the Middle Fork Feather River diversion dam, JEPS109856 (DWTaylor #19554) 6/28/2006 are without doubt perennial (see post August 3rd 2013)

Recently, Nesom (2013) discoursed on the duration races of other monkeyflowers:  he observed E. microphylla to be invariably annual, while E. guttata was clearly perennial.  The genomic mechanisms that integrate developmental patterns in higher plants must by definition differ greatly between annual and perennial plants (viz. the vernalization FLC gene pathway in Arabidopsis) - a rosette annual has to have genes that vernalization turns on about when its time...a fruit tree needs cold to fix other vernalization  genes in preparation for flowering each spring...A Sequoiadendron needs to NOT fail to flower each and every year for 3,000 years (a rosette-bearing Sequoia is an extinct Sequoia).  

Within monkeyflowers, a single natural taxon that switches between annual (or "facultative annual", if there is such a thing) and perennial duration is not likely.  Darwin would not approve of the notion of a "facultative annual".

For this reason, perennial Erythranthe 'glaucescens' are best judged an undescribed species.

Below: plants from JEPS109856 under cultivation: note the stolons which grow in directly horizontal radius (grown in pots in sand, these plunged in water). The stolons grow laterally, rooting at the nodes readily, and in this instance, only become negatively geotropic once the side of the pot is reached.  

Macnair, M.R. 1996. The Mimulus page. Pictures of Mimulus species. Mimulus guttatus complex.
Accessed Jan 2012.
Nesom, GL 2012.  Phytoneuron 40:1-123.
Nesom, GL. 2013.  Phytoneuron 2013-68:1-8
Thompson, D. 2012.  Mimulus, pp. 988-998 in: Baldwin etc. revised Jepson Manual

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The longest Sugar Pine cone?

Pinus lambertiana has, without doubt, the longest cone of any conifer.  How long? 

  • Botany of California (Brewer, Watson & Gray 1880) – 18 inches
  • Sudworth 1908 – Forest Trees Pacific Slope – to 23 inches
  • Jepson – Silva of California – 1910 – 18 inches
  • Jepson 1923 Manual – 18 inches
  • Flora North America Vol 2 (1993)  – to 50 cm (19.7 inches)
  • Haller & Vivertte in TJM2 – to 60 cm (23½ inches)
  • Wikipedia – to 26 inches
The stated range seems to be on the order of 18-26 inches – variation of about factor of nearly 1.5.  Maximal cone length therefore seems to be a statistic which bears investigation.   For example, in the best on-line conifer cone image collection, Arboretum de Villardebelle  (, their cone is only 13 inches long. 

Given the range of cone size estimates, it becomes evident that Sugar Pine cones 26 inches long need to be fully documented: geographic location, herbarium specimen, publication,  posted photographs.    In most conifers, cone volume is roughly correlated with number of seed.  In white pines, cone length, volume and seeds per cone are under strong genetic control (1).  Hence, record a Sugar Pine with cones >23 inches or so merits publicity.


1. Critchfield, W. B., and B. B. Kinloch. 1986. Sugar pine and its hybrids. Silvae Genetica 35(4):138-145

N.B.  Cone length will likely vary by a small factor related to wet weight - perhaps as much as 10%?  Report dry weight %.

Friday, September 20, 2013

An encounter with sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum) on the Monterey Bay – may I see your passport, please?

Crithmum maritimum L., the sea fennel or rock samphire, is a common and conspicuous perennial of Old World sea coasts:  “Maritime rocks, rarely on sand or shingle.  Atlantic Coast of Europe, northwards to Scotland, Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts” reads the range description in Flora Europea (Vol. 2:333).  There are no specimens from California,  nor North America, that I find on-line.

Here I report Crithmum maritimum growing at Aptos, Santa Cruz County, California, United States, North America, western Hemisphere  a geographic location I can not find having been previously recorded, by continent that is.  Exactly at 36.969438/-121.907402.  A single large plant grows out of the treated-wood seawall fronting the beach at Seacliff Beach State Park, at the very highest elevation where wave action very infrequently reaches.

Crithmum maritimum is in a monotypic genus.  The available phylogenetic resolutions place Crithmum near genera in subfamily Saniculoideae, which in California there are a host of natives.   Crithmum is a strong halophyte: seeds germinate moderately even when soaked in sea water.   Crithmum is oleaginous: oils extracted from its seeds are apparently used medicinally.  Wikipedia imparts the factoid “In the 17th century, Shakespeare referred to the dangerous practice of collecting rock samphire from cliffs”.   

How Crithmum maritimum arrived in California is a matter to consider: a) long distance dispersal of seeds across two oceans, via the Panama Canal, or b) escape from cultivation.  

A voucher specimen was duly squished.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) and its sister species (Yucca jaegeriana) are vegetative icons of the arid, continental climate region of the southwesterly Mojave Desert floristic region.    By contrast, as iconic are oak woodlands of cismontane inverse – winter wet, maritime climate California.  The two are exactly inverse.

Lenz (Aliso 24:97-104. 2007) admirably shows that there are clearly two species of Joshua Tree – at this juncture neither taxon has been investigated with molecular methods.   The attached map is an approximation drawn from Little (1976) – red is the distribution of Yucca brevifolia Engelmann and green the distribution of Y. jaegeriana (McKelevy) L.W. Lenz.

The photograph is a site in Oak Creek Canyon, Kern County, in the Techachapi Mountains (15 April 2003, ca. 35.03218 -118.39499) where Yucca brevifolia reaches its most mesic incursion into, barely, cismontane California, thus barely within the California Floristic Province sensu stricto.

Might these extreme western-most Joshua trees have something going for them in the genome department?

Little, E.L., Jr., 1976, Atlas of United States trees, volume 3, minor Western hardwoods: U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication 1314, 13 p., 290 maps.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Asymmetric Burl Sprouting in Wieslander’s manzanita

Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. roffii is one of 6 recognized races of a common, often dominant, California manzanita.  The 6 tetraploid races of Arctostaphylos manzanita largely have allopatric geographic ranges.   The Roof manzanita is not a listed rare plant: it is a relatively uncommon however, and is narrowly endemic to the Cascade and North Coast ranges, with one central Sierran exception (SBBG50844)

The Ponderosa fire burned about;25,000 acres of Tehama and Shasta County in August, 2012.  Areas where I had seen and collected Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. wieslanderi before the fire, I had not understood the differences between the two subspecies.  In the Ponderosa Fire, both were burnt to a crisp. In May, 2013 I revisited one site, and observed Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. roffii resprouting.

In the instance recorded here, resprouting did not occurring over the entire burl.  Rather, the only resprouts were originating from below the soil (as seen at the 4 o’clock position on the photo of the burl).  In the present instance, it appears as if the fire was sufficiently hot so as to completely kill all of the exposed portion of the burl, leaving only the below ground parts viable.

Resprouting dymanics of chaparral shrubs following fire, including genetic signaling pathways and how they become activated, are a fertile subject for study.   Burn baby burn...

Photo: resprouting burl on April 25, 2013; ca. 5 miles E of Manton, Tehama County.

N.B.  on the original post, dated 8/23/2013, I mis-identified these plants as A. manzanita ssp. wieslanderi.  On April 11, 2014 I again visited the Ponderosa Fire region as part of my vegetation characterization studies, and confirmed that both infrataxa occur in the region.  A. manzanita ssp. wieslanderi lacks a basal burl, while A. manzanita ssp. roffii has a huge burl.  A. manzanita ssp. roffii is superficially similar to A. patula, which also lacks a basal burl (but does resprout epicormically after fire), and which occurs at higher elevations in the Battle Creek watershed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Post flowering calyx throat closure in monkeyflowers

Once upon a time (not so long ago, 2012, in a certain esteemed tome which costs $125), about 15 species of monkeyflower were submerged under the name "Mimulus guttatus".  Such a broad treatment is equivalent to submerging species of pine as distinct as Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata), knobcone (P. attenuata), and Bishop Pine (P. muricata) into one species.  For these pines, this is the viewpoint circa 1880. Ignorance is not bliss in the realm of biodiversity conservation.   Many monkeyflowers are rare endemics, and our understanding of their distribution and abundance is primitive.

Erythranthe guttata sensu stricto is a perennial with stolons.  Within Section Simiola, most species have a feature of the calyx after pollination that is distinctive.  In flower, the calyx lobes are of two size orders: the upper is longer, the other 4 are about equal.  Following anthesis, in E. guttata, the lower two calyx lobes curve upwards, accompanied by an expansion of the inter-calyx rib tissues.

We have all seen the touch-receptive stigma of a monkeyflower (or if not, ought to...).  The pollination trigger mechanism in this instance involves a set of genetic instructions independent of those related to fruit maturation.    Fertilization triggers more than one genetic regulatory pathway: 1) quick, make seeds, and 2) even quicker, make the calyx differentiate.  How?

Most of the ca. 40 species of  Section Simiola, including E. guttata, have the post-zygotic calyx differentiation feature to variable degrees: eight species do not (E. utahensis, E. glabratus, E. arvensis, E. michiganensis, E. inamoena, E. geyeri, E. regni, E. visibilis).  

Images: above, two flowers, the lower post-zygotic and the upper at anthesis; below, the two same flowers, the lower post-zygotic.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not breaking the Federal Listing logjam for the California flora

Federal Listing of rare plants in California has been in a log-jam for over a decade.  Over the last dozen years, only three plants have been added to protection under the Endangered Species Act.    The 1990s was a period when listing activity increased dramatically.  Over the past dozen years, listing has remained essentially static.  Endangerment threats to the California flora have been increasing over this period.

The recent, August 2013, proposal to list Ivesia webberi is the most recent activity.  Listing of this single taxon does not break the jam.  It actually just highlights a dozen year moratorium – a fact that in practice demonstrates that listing actions are a political and not a biological process.

On a biological basis, perhaps something on the order of 400 species of California plants quality for Federal listing, about twice the number presently listed.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Polemonium chartaceum way out of range at Donner Pass, Nevada County, California

Polemonium chartaceum (CHSC3180) at Donner Pass
I hereby record that I did not relocate a Polemonium at Crater Lake, on the western flank of Boreal Ridge, Nevada County (ca. 7500 feet elevation), visited on Friday last.  The terse label on the specimen suggests that it was gathered on an ascent to the lake from Norden, to the south.  I obtained Crater Lake by driving to the summit of Boreal Ridge, thence to the lake and vicinity from the ridge proper. 

The immediate vicinity of the Crater Lake is an odd geologic setting in that the andesite (?) locally forms blocky (ca. 2 dm average diameter) patches largely barren of vegetation – not unlike typical habitat for the tufted-alpine polemoniums (Grant 1989)

The record CHSC3180 filed as Polemonium eximium is worthy of more study.  

First, the elevation of this record is an extreme low-elevation outlier, being located several thousand feet in elevation below the lowest known records for Polemonium eximium, which as you know is one of the highest-elevation limit vascular plants in the Sierra Nevada alpine.

Secondly Polemonium CHSC3180 has the membranous/chartaceous leaf bases which characterize P. chartaceum and its sister taxon P. eddyense, which are poorly developed in P. exemium    

Third, the geographic location is essentially distant from either taxon,  in being removed ca. 130 km from the population of P. chartaceum (proximal in the Sweetwater Mountains, Mono County), or, 300 km from P. eddyense on Mt Eddy, largely on the Siskyou County side, in far northwestern California.

An ascent and search from Norden is suggested.  My working hypothesis is that CHSC3180 is the sole collection of an undescribed taxon in the P. chartaceum-P. eddyense clade, geographically and mid-Pleistocene era isolated from its congeners.

Grant, Verne.  1989. Taxonomy of the Tufted Alpine and Subalpine Polemoniums (Polemoniaceae). Botanical Gazette Vol. 150, No. 2, pp. 158-169

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shield-bracted monkeyflower (Erythranthe glaucescens) is probably 2 species

Shield-bracted monkeyflower (Erythranthe glaucescens (Greene) G.L. Nesom) is on CNPS List 4 and is narrowly endemic to the Cascade Range foothills of Shasta, Tehama and Butte Counties, California (a CNPS report from Colusa county is not supported by a specimen).

Erythranthe glaucescens  has been variously described as either annual  (Thompson 1993, 2012) or as also perennial (Nesom 2012).   Nesom (2012, p. 61) noted this discrepancy with the notation that all but two specimens were annual :

“Plants from one locality produced filiform, small-leaved runners from basal cauline nodes: California. Butte Co.: Canon of Big Chico Creek, 26 Mar 1914, Heller s.n. (MO) and 2 Jul 1914, Heller s.n. (MO). Mcnair did not say what observations led him to interpret the duration of E. glaucescens as perennial.”

Here I note that there are indeed perennial plants which are within the current circumscription of Erythranthe glaucescens, and more specifically, that there are likely to be two natural taxa involved, which implies that one taxon is not yet described.

Plants of Erythranthe glaucescens at JEPS109856 are clearly perennial: they produce abundant stolons.  In this botanical sense, stolons are stem organs which grow at the soil surface, or just below ground, which can also form adventitious roots at the nodes, and which proliferate laterally from a parent individual.    Stolons are commonly called runners (as used also by Nesom 2012).  By contrast, rhizomes are root tissue and mimic the same lateral expansion model (and are not involved here).

My review of specimens and photographs of Erythranthe glaucescens suggest to me that two taxa are being labeled as Erythranthe glaucescens.  If I were to venture a key to the Calphotos photos, it would be:

1.  Perennial, stoloniferous.  Foliage blue-glaucuous....0177 3303 3362 0079
1’  Annual, striclty so, foliage light green... 0000 0000 0407 3343

These differences are readily seen in the isotype (CAS792) which is well preserved, and annual, vs. my specimen JEPS109856 which is clearly a stolonifrous perennial.    The images are above (face of the diversion dam [upper photo, June 28 2006) and specimen (lower photo) in vivo collected there on 1 August 2013.  In my initial primitive analysis, there seems to be an elevation and habitat separation between the two putative taxa:  glaucescens is a vernal stream or seep annual of the foothills, while the undescribed taxon is a seepage-cliff specialist of conifer forest settings at mid-elevations.

Thompson, D.  1993 et 2012.  Mimulus, in the Jepson Manual (2 eds.)
Neosm, G.  Taxonomy of Erythranthe sect. Simiola (Phrymaceae) in the USA and Mexico.
Phytoneuron 2012-40: 1–123.