Arabis ophira - Rollins
Ophir Rockcress
Synonym(s): Boechera ophira (Rollins) Al-Shehbaz
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Arabis ophira Rollins (TSN 184470)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.157888
Element Code: PDBRA06230
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
Image 12128

© James D. Morefield

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Arabis
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Arabis ophira
Taxonomic Comments: Because Arabis was found to be polyphyletic, most species in the genus Arabis in North America were transferred to the genus Boechera (Al-Shehbaz, 2003).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Jun2012
Global Status Last Changed: 21Jun2012
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This species' global distribution is limited 13 patches comprising 5 occurrences - with fewer than 200 individuals in total - scattered along the crest of the Toiyabe Range in Nye County (also just into Lander County), Nevada (occupied area < 5 sq. km). Long-term trend is not known but occurrences have been relatively stable over the short term, although more survey work is required. Mineral development is a possibility at some sites and 1 site is vulnerable to damage from off-road vehicles and hikers. Because of the high-elevation ridgeline habitat, the species is particularly vulnerable to climatic warming. Its low detectable population numbers may reflect declines from such warming, or might be intrinsic to the species and/or an artifact of difficulty of detection.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1N2

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Nevada (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: It is endemic to the Toiyabe Range, Lander and Nye Counties, west central Nevada, where a convex hull around the known occurrences covers about 29 square km (Rollins, 1981; Morefield, 2003).

Area of Occupancy: 1-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The known occurrences occupy about 2.8 ha (6.9+ acres) of habitat total.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Five occurrences are known, based on 1 km minimum separation as of October 2004 EO delimitation guidance, consisting of about 13 separate patches (Morefield, 2003).

Population Size Comments: The maximum numbers of individuals detected at all occurrences total 188 as of 2001. Populations may be naturally small, and variable in numbers, from year to year, or may reflect declines due to climatic warming or other unknown factors (Morefield, 2003).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: None to very few (0-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Despite low detectable population numbers, at least the larger occurrences appear to be viable based on lack of identifiable impacts. Because all of the occurrences occupy ridgeline habitats, it is also possible that the species is in general decline due to climatic warming, and that none of the known occurrences have good viability (Morefield, 2003).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include potential mineral exploration and development, recreational foot traffic, small population numbers and areas, climatic warming; one site at Ophir Summit vulnerable to off-road vehicle use. Populations are well scattered along the crest of the Toiyabe Range, and most are remote from sources of disturbance.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Stable in the short term (Morefield, 2003).

Long-term Trend: Unknown
Long-term Trend Comments: Unknown.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Based on small detectable population sizes and severity of habitat.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: It is endemic to the Toiyabe Range, Lander and Nye Counties, west central Nevada, where a convex hull around the known occurrences covers about 29 square km (Rollins, 1981; Morefield, 2003).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NV Lander (32015), Nye (32023)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
16 Reese (16040107)+, Northern Big Smoky Valley (16060004)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A grayish-green perennial herb, 4-10(-15) cm tall; basal leaves 4-12 mm long, linear, erect, with branched hairs coarse, sparse, easily separable; flowers small, pinkish to purple, 4-petaled (in bloom June-July); pedicels erect, hairy; fruits erect to slightly spreading, very narrow.

Reproduction Comments: It flowers in May-June (Rollins, 1993).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: SUMMARY: Quartzite scree overlying soils with a high clay content at 3035-3210 m elevation along the crest of a mountain range. FULL DESCRIPTION: Loamy soil pockets in dry, exposed quartzitic scree, colluvium, and outcrops on south- to west-facing ridge lines and upper slopes, often in seasonal solifluction areas, at 3035-3210 m elevation. Widely scattered in, and often under canopy of, sparse associations of Artemisia arbuscula, Leptodactylon pungens, and grasses in the mountain sagebrush and subalpine conifer zones.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Known sites and potential habitat should be evaluated during project planning and field checked every three to five years for impacts and population trends. Additional annual monitoring is recommended at Ophir Pass to detect any new or intensified impacts (Morefield, 2003).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: SIZE: at least 40 maximum detectable individuals occupying at least 0.5 ha of apparently suitable habitat. CONDITION: multiple age classes present in ratios appropriate to generation time of element. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Less than 5% cover of exotic plant species. Less than 5% cover of significant anthropogenic impacts. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area is relatively unfragmented and includes the ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat.

Good Viability: SIZE: at least 15 maximum detectable individuals occupying at least 0.2 ha of apparently suitable habitat. CONDITION: multiple age classes present in ratios appropriate to generation time of element. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Less than 10% cover of exotic plant species. Less than 10% cover of significant anthropogenic impacts. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area includes the ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat, though it may be significantly fragmented, invaded by exotics, or otherwise impacted by humans.

Fair Viability: SIZE: at least 10 maximum detectable individuals occupying at least 0.1 ha of apparently suitable habitat. CONDITION: multiple age classes present, but often in ratios indicating reduced or irregular recruitment. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Up to 50% cover of exotic plant species and/or up to 50% cover of significant anthropogenic impacts. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area may be heavily fragmented, disturbed, and/or invaded by exotics, but still includes the ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat.

Poor Viability: SIZE: less than 10 maximum detectable individuals and/or less than 0.1 ha of apparently suitable habitat occupied. CONDITION: little or no evidence of successful or sustainable reproduction (poor age class distribution, no seedlings, and/or no evidence of flowering and fruiting, etc.). Cover of exotic plant species and/or significant anthropogenic impacts may exceed 50%. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area may be heavily fragmented, disturbed, and/or invaded by exotics, with some or all ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat no longer intact.

Justification: Existing EOs of this element likely include the best that will ever exist in the future, and no significant downward trends have yet been detected in the larger populations, so A-rank criteria are based on the sizes, conditions, and landscape contexts of the best 10-20% of existing occurrences. In general, population size (area of occupancy and abundance) is the primary factor influencing EO rank. It is recognized that even the A-rank size criteria for this species are lower than what is typically considered viable for a population. As of 1998, there is no evidence to suggest that this species does not just have naturally low DETECTABLE population numbers. The species is very difficult to detect in the field, especially when not in reproductive condition. Because of its high-elevation ridgeline habitat, however, it is also possible that climatic warming has caused the species to decline to its current population levels. Should further study prove this to be true, the rank criteria will need to be revised substantially, and none of the currently known populations will likely rank better than "C" based on size criteria. Because annual climatic variation results in wide natural fluctuations in numbers of detectable individuals of this element, population abundance of an EO is based on the maximum observed abundance at that site while in its current overall condition and landscape context, unless an overall downward trend in abundance is apparent at that site. Significant anthropogenic impacts are those that reduce population size and/or viability for at least the next 25 years unless restored.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 21Apr2005
Author: J. Morefield
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Sep2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: J. Morefield (2005), rev. J. Cordeiro (2010)
Management Information Edition Date: 17Sep2010
Management Information Edition Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Sep2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Al-Shehbaz, I. A. 2003. Transfer of most North American Species of Arabis to Boechera (Brassicaceae). Novon 13: 381-391.

  • Al-Shehbaz, I.A. 2003. Transfer of most North American species of Arabis to Boechera (Brassicaceae). Novon 13:381-391.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2010. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 7. Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxii + 797 pp.

  • Holmgren, N.H., P.K. Holmgren, and A. Cronquist. 2005. Intermountain flora vol. 2, part B. Subclass Dilleniidae. Bronx: The New York Botanical Garden. 488 pages.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Ph.D. dissertation. Univ. of Nevada, Reno. 3 volumes. 1729 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Morefield, J. D. 2003. Current Knowledge and Conservation Status of Arabis ophira Rollins (Brassicaceae), the Ophir rockcress. Carson City: Nevada Natural Heritage Program, status report prepared for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno, Nevada.

  • Morefield, J.D. 1992. Interim status report for Arabis ophira Rollins. Carson City: Nevada Natural Heritage Program, prepared for the Toiyabe National Forest, Sparks, Nevada.

  • Morefield, J.D., editor. 2001. Nevada rare plant atlas [with rare plant fact sheets]. Available as a pdf file at: http://heritage.nv.gov/atlas/atlas.html. Compiled by the Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Carson City, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno, Nevada.

  • Nevada Natural Heritage Program. 1986-present. Slide collection files. Carson City.

  • Nevada Natural Heritage Program. 1998-present. Index to available images (web page). Carson City: Nevada Natural Heritage Program public web site, http://heritage.nv.gov/images.htm.

  • Rollins, R. C. 1981. Studies on Arabis (Cruciferae) of western North America. Systematic Botany 6: 55-64.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of Continental North America: systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. 976 pp.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1993a. The Cruciferae of continental North America: Systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, California. 976 pp.

  • Spahr, R., L. Armstrong, D. Atwood, and M. Rath. 1991. Threatened, endangered, and sensitive species of the Intermountain Region. U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, UT.

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