Astragalus limnocharis var. montii - (Welsh) Isely
Heliotrope Milkvetch
Synonym(s): Astragalus montii Welsh
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Astragalus limnocharis var. montii (Welsh) Isely (TSN 192601)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.131801
Element Code: PDFAB0F4U3
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Astragalus
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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: Astragalus limnocharis var. montii
Taxonomic Comments: Listed (as Threatened) by USFWS under the name Astragalus montii. Some authors (Welsh et al. 2008) have determined that this entity is distinct enough to warrant species status.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2T1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Sep2011
Global Status Last Changed: 27Feb1996
Rounded Global Status: T1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to the Wasatch Plateau of central Utah (Sanpete and Sevier counties), where there are 3 populations known. Restricted to a very specific habitat which is of limited extent, and threatened by trampling which disturbs the mineral soil where it grows.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1

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 Utah (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (06Nov1987)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R6 - Rocky Mountain

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Occurs on the southern Wasatch Plateau on Ferron, Heliotrope and White mountains in Sanpete and Sevier counties (Franklin, 2005).

Area of Occupancy: 26-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: It is estimated that the area of occupancy would fit within six 2x2 km grid cells (NatureServe element occurrence data 2011).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Three known populations: Ferron Mountain, White Mountain and Heliotrope Mountain (Frankliln 2005).

Population Size Comments: The three populations numbered about 2500, 4000, and 4000 each as of 1985 (Lowe, 1990, WWF Guide to Endangered Sp.). Franklin (2005) estimated that 2 million individuals were present across three populations, with 65% of those individuals occuring at one site.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Trampling, main threat is from energy development on Forest Service land.

Degradation of habitat by disturbances, like trailing and bedding by domestic sheep, results in an increase of exposed mineral soils and a shift in species composition (Franklin 2005).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Slow growing and intolerant of habitat disturbance.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: High elevation barren areas with shallow, very rocky soils derived from Flagstaff Limestone (Franklin 2005).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Occurs on the southern Wasatch Plateau on Ferron, Heliotrope and White mountains in Sanpete and Sevier counties (Franklin, 2005).

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 UT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
UT Sanpete (49039), Sevier (49041)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
14 San Rafael (14060009)+, Muddy (14070002)+
16 Middle Sevier (16030003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small, tufted perennial herb, 1-5 cm tall, that produces pink-purple flowers, the wings white-tipped, and purple-mottled, globe-shaped fruits. Blooms in July and August.
Duration: PERENNIAL, Long-lived
Habitat Comments: Subalpine mixed grass-forb cushion plant communities on level to gently sloping pavement surfaces of limestone (Flagstaff Limestone); shale barrens. 3231-3338 m elevation. timberline (approximately 3350 m).
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Divert trails for domestic sheep away from populations. If this isn't possible, consider fencing off portions of the populations from the sheep. Monitor and control invasive species. When planning enery development on Forest Service land, carefully review where populations are located and how to best avoid negative impacts to those sites.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A natural occurrence of one or more plants.
Separation Barriers: EOs are separated by either: 1 kilometer or more across unsuitable habitat or altered and unsuitable areas; or 2 kilometers or more across apparently suitable habitat not known to be occupied.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Justification: The rationale for this large a separation distance across suitable but apparently unoccupied habitat is that it is likely additional research will find this habitat to be occupied. It can often be assumed that apparently unconnected occurrences will eventually be found to be more closely connected. No information on mobility of pollen and propagules is available on which to base the separation distance for this species.
Date: 07Mar2002
Author: Ben Franklin
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: SIZE: 10000 or more individuals (based on available EO data). CONDITION: The occurrence has an excellent likelihood of long-term viability as evidenced by the presence of multiple age classes and evidence of flowering and fruiting, indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact. This occurrence should be in a high-quality site with less than 1% cover of exotic plant species and/or no significant anthropogenic disturbance. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: The occurrence is surrounded by an area that is unfragmented and includes the ecological processes needed to sustain this species. This includes the presence of the necessary, very specific edaphic requirements of the species, i.e., Flagstaff Limestone and the pavement-like, shallow and extremely rocky soils to which it is restricted (Tuhy 1988, 1990).
Good Viability: SIZE: 1000 to 10000 individuals (based on available EO data). CONDITION: 1000 to 10000 individuals (based on available EO data). LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: The occurrence should have a good likelihood of long-term viability as evidenced by the presence of multiple age classes and evidence of flowering and fruiting, indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact. Anthropogenic disturbance within the occurrence is minimal. If exotic species are present, they comprise less than 10% of the total ground cover.
Fair Viability: SIZE: The surrounding landscape should contain the ecological processes needed to sustain the occurrence but may be fragmented and/or impacted by humans. CONDITION: 200 to 1000 individuals (based on available EO data). LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: The occurrence may be less productive than the above situations, but is still viable, with multiple age classes and evidence of flowering and fruiting, indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact. The occupied habitat is somewhat degraded (exotic plant species make up between 10-50% of the total ground cover and/or there is a moderate level of anthropogenic disturbance).
Poor Viability: SIZE: There may be significant human disturbance, but the ecological processes needed to sustain the species are still intact.CONDITION: Less than 200 individuals (based on available EO data). LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Little or no evidence of successful reproduction is observed (poor seedling recruitment, no flowering or fruiting observed, or poor age class distribution). Exotic plant species make up greater than 50% of the total ground cover, and/or there is a significant level of human disturbance.
Justification: SIZE: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. EOs not meeting "C"-rank criteria are likely to have a very high probability of inbreeding depression and extirpation due to natural stochastic processes and/or occur in degraded habitat with low long-term potential for survival. CONDITION: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. EOs not meeting "C"-rank criteria are likely to have a very high probability of inbreeding depression and extirpation due to natural stochastic processes and/or occur in degraded habitat with low long-term potential for survival. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. EOs not meeting "C"-rank criteria are likely to have a very high probability of inbreeding depression and extirpation due to natural stochastic processes and/or occur in degraded habitat with low long-term potential for survival.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
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: 27Feb1996
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Roth, E., rev. Atwood, Broaddus, rev. B. Franklin (1996), rev. A. Treher (2011)
Management Information Edition Date: 22Sep2011
Management Information Edition Author: Treher, A.

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
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  • Barneby, R.C. 1989. Fabales. In A. Cronquist, A.H. Holmgren, N.H. Holmgren, J.L. Reveal, and P.K. Holmgren (eds.). Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 3, Part B. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 279 pp.

  • Franklin, M.A. 2005. Plant information compiled by the Utah Natural Heritage Program: A progress report. Publication Number 05-40. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City, Utah. 341 pp. [http://dwrcdc.nr.utah.gov/ucdc/ViewReports/plantrpt.htm]

  • Geer, S. M., V. J. Tepedino, T. L. Griswold, and W. R. Bowlin. 1995. Pollinator sharing by three sympatric Milkvetches,including the endangered species Astragalus montii. Great Basin Naturalist 55(1):19-28.

  • 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.

  • Tuhy, J.S. 1988. Astragalus montii Welsh (Heliotrope milkvetch) on the Ferron Ranger District, Manti-La Sal National Forest. Final report of 1988 Challenge Grant Project. Utah Natural Heritage Program, Salt Lake City. 53 pp. + appendices.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1987. Final rule to determine Astragalus montii (heliotrope milkvetch) to be a threatened species, with designation of critical habitat. Federal Register. 52(215):42652-42657.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2008. A Utah Flora. 4th edition, revised. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 1019 pp.

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