Draba ventosa - Gray
Wind River Whitlow-grass
Other English Common Names: Wind River draba
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Draba ventosa Gray (TSN 22922)
French Common Names: drave des vents
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.129273
Element Code: PDBRA112N0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Draba
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Concept Reference
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: Draba ventosa
Taxonomic Comments: This species is considered distinct by Rollins (1993). Packer in Moss (1983) states that this is an agamospermous species.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Feb2009
Global Status Last Changed: 23Nov1999
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Known from the central Rocky Mountains and north to Alberta, British Columbia, and Yukon. Reported from Alaska. Occurs on talus and fell-fields in sub-alpine and alpine-tundra zones. Rare throughout its range. May be threatened by recreational use, introduced mountain goats, invasive weeds, acid rain, and global warming.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3
Nation: Canada
National Status: N2N3 (08Feb2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Colorado (S1), Montana (S1S2), Utah (S1), Wyoming (S3)
Canada Alberta (S2), British Columbia (S2S3), Yukon Territory (S1)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (26Jan2015)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Reported from Alaska, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah (Kartesz 1999). It has also been reported from the Ruby Mountains of Nevada (Ladyman 2004).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are about 36 occurrences or other locations. The species is considered rare and disjunct in the Yukon (Cody 1996), and rare in southeastern British Columbia (Douglas et al. 1989) and southwestern Alberta (Moss 1983). Montana has 3 known occurrences from Beaverhead and Madison counties (Montana Natural Heritage Program 1999). There are about 30 locations in Wyoming (pers. com. Walt Fertig Wyoming NDD 1999 to K. Fayette). The Utah atlas maps 4 dots (Albee et al. 1988) for this species. There are approximately 5 occurrences in Colorado (Colorado NHP 1999).

Population Size Comments: May occur in small isolated patches of only a few individuals or be fairly abundant along a slope (Ladyman 2004). One Colorado occurrence reports several hundred individuals (Colorado NHP 1999). Abundance data are not available for any other locations; however, Walt Fertig commented (1999) that he has observed this species as fairly abundant (although certainly at a low density over large areas).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Some locations may be threatened by recreational use, introduced mountain goats, and invasive weeds (Ladyman 2004). In Colorado and Wyoming, acid rain may be a threat (Ladyman 2004). Global warming is also a potential threat (Ladyman 2004). Mining has occurred at some sites in the past but is not believed to be a current threat (Ladyman 2004).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Reported from Alaska, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah (Kartesz 1999). It has also been reported from the Ruby Mountains of Nevada (Ladyman 2004).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CO, MT, UT, WY
Canada AB, BC, YT

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Chaffee (08015)*, Gunnison (08051)*, Lake (08065), Pitkin (08097)*
MT Madison (30057)
UT Duchesne (49013), Summit (49043)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Beaverhead (10020002)+, Ruby (10020003)+, Madison (10020007)+*, Gallatin (10020008)+
11 Arkansas Headwaters (11020001)+
14 Roaring Fork (14010004)+*, East-Taylor (14020001)+*, Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+*, Blacks Fork (14040107)+*, Duchesne (14060003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A yellow-flowered diminutive mustard, densely pubescent (with tree-like branched hairs).
General Description: Wind River draba is a mat-forming perennial with leaf rosettes at the ends of numerous rootcrown branches which are clothed with old leaf bases. The leafless stems are 2-4 cm high and arise from some of the rosettes. The fleshy, narrowly egg-shaped leaves are 5-12 mm long and 2-4 mm wide, have entire margins, and are densely covered with branched hairs. 3-20 stalked flowers are borne at the tops of the stems. Each flower has 4 separate sepals, 4 separate, yellow petals that are 4-5 mm long, and 4 long and 2 short stamens. The style is 1.0-1.5 mm long. The hairy, flattened, egg-shaped capsules are 5-8 mm long and are borne on ascending to spreading stalks that are as long as the capsules.
Diagnostic Characteristics: There are many similar appearing, yellow-flowered, mat-forming species of DRABA in our area. A technical manual and hand lens or microscope are required for positive identification. The more common D. PAYSONII also has leaves densely covered with branched hairs, but the leaves average less than 2 mm wide.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Bare rock/talus/scree, Cliff, Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Predominantly in the alpine zone, sometimes subalpine (occurs near or above treeline). Occurs on talus, scree slopes, and slides; in alpine fell-fields; on cliffs and at the base of cliffs; on ridges; and on summits. Often but not always found on limestone parent material. Associated vegetation may include alpine tundra or dry subalpine meadows. Associated species include Dryas octopetala, Saxifraga oppositifolia, Antennaria aromatica, Draba oligosperma, Polemonium viscosum, and Erigeron compositus.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any naturally occurring population. EOs are separated by either: 1 mile or more across unsuitable habitat or altered and unsuitable areas; or 2 miles or more across apparently suitable habitat that is not known to be occupied. Justification: The rationale for this large a separation distance across suitable but apparently unoccupied habitat is that it is likely that additional research will find this habitat to be occupied. It can often be assumed that apparently unconnected populations will eventually be found to be more closely connected; these are best regarded as suboccurrences.

Date: 18May1999
Author: Fayette, K.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 19May1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Kim Fayette; revised Bruce MacBryde, 99-09-27, rev. A. Tomaino (2009)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 21Oct1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): JM

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).

  • Ackerfield, J. 2011. The Flora of Colorado. Plant Identification BZ 223. Colorado State University Herbarium, Ft. Collins, CO.

  • Cody, W.J. 1996. The flora of the Yukon Territory. National Research Council of Canada Research Press, Ottawa, Canada. 643 pp.

  • Douglas, G. W., G. B. Straley, D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, editors. 1998. The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia. Volume 2. Dicotyledons (Balsaminaceae through Cuscutaceae). British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

  • Harrington, H.D. 1954. Manual of the plants of Colorado. Sage Press, Chicago. 666 pp.

  • Hitchcock, C. L. 1941. A Revision of the Drabas of Western North America. University of Washington Publications in Biology 11:1-132.

  • Hitchcock, C.L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson. 1964. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae, by C.L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist. Univ. Washington Press, Seattle. 597 pp.

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

  • 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.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Kershaw, L., J. Gould, D. Johnson, and J. Lancaster. 2001. Rare vascular plants of Alberta. Univ. of Alberta Press, Edmonton, Alberta and Nat. Resour. Can., Can. For. Serv., North. For. Cent., Edmonton, Alberta. 484pp.

  • Ladyman, J.A.R. 2004. April 16 last update. Draba ventosa A. Gray (Wind River draba): a technical conservation assessment. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Online. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/drabaventosa.pdf (accessed 9 February 2009).

  • Montana Natural Heritage Program. 1999. Biological Conservation Database. http://nris.state.mt.us/mtnhp. (May 15 1999).

  • Montana Natural Heritage Program. Montana Plant Field Guide. Online. Available: http://mtnhp.org/plants/plantguide.asp (Accessed 2006).

  • Moss, E.H. 1994. Flora of Alberta. Second Edition revised by J.G. Packer. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

  • Mulligan, G. A. 1971. Cytotaxonomic studies of DRABA species of Canada and Alaska: D. VENTOSA, D. RUAXES, and D. PAYSONII. Canadian Journal of Botany 49:1455-1460.

  • Mulligan, G. A. 1976. The genus Draba in Canada and Alaska: key and summary. Canadian Journal of Botany 54:1386-1393.

  • Price, Robert. 1980. Draba streptobrachia (brassicaceae), a new species from Colorado. Brittonia, 32(2), pp. 160-169.

  • 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.

  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978-1979. The flora of Canada: Parts 1-4. National Museums Canada, Ottawa. 1711 pp.

  • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 1994. Sensitive plant surveys in the Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Unpublished report to the Gallatin National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 54 pp.

  • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996b. Colorado flora: Western slope. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 496 pp.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, L.C. Higgins and S. Goodrich. 1987. Utah Flora, Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs, No. 9. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L.C. Higgins (eds.) 1993. A Utah flora. 2nd edition. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah. 986 pp.

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