Ericameria parryi var. montana - (L.C. Anders.) Nesom & Baird
Parry's Rabbitbrush
Synonym(s): Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus L.C. Anders.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ericameria parryi var. montana (L.C. Anderson) G.L. Nesom & Baird (TSN 531199)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.158005
Element Code: PDAST2C098
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Ericameria
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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: Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5T2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Mar2012
Global Status Last Changed: 04Mar2012
Rounded Global Status: T2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Ericameria parryi ssp montanus is narrowly endemic to a small area (<10 square miles) in the southern Beaverhead Mountains of Idaho and Montana. It is known from only four occurrences rangewide. They support an estimated total of 3,500 individuals and cover <120 acres. It is restricted to high elevation, rocky sites of Beaverhead Conglomerate substrate. High elevation exposures of the Beaverhead Conglomerate Formation are limited to a relatively small geographic area. Although rare and narrowly distributed, Ericameria parryi ssp montanus has no known imminent or widespread threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Idaho (S1), Montana (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus is a narrow endemic known only from the Red Conglomerate Peaks area, near the Continental Divide, in the southern Beaverhead Range of Idaho and adjacent Montana. Its global distribution extends over an area approximately four miles wide by two miles wide. The four known occurrences are more or less evenly distributed across this limited range (Mancuso and Moseley 1990).

Area of Occupancy: 1-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The four known occurrences range in size from approximately 8 -24 ha (20 - 60 ac). They total approximately 46 ha (115 ac), although Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus directly occupies only a fraction of this area. Plant density tends to be low and some subpopoulations include areas with few plants within its perimeter.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus is known from four occurrences rangewide. Three occurrences are in Idaho, and one extends from Idaho, across the Continental Divide into adjacent Montana.

Population Size Comments: The four known occurrences support an estimated 3,500 individuals. They range in size from approximately 300-2,000 individuals. All occurrences except one are comprised of multiple subpopulations. Idaho has approximately 3,300 plants, compared to roughly 200 plants in Montana.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: All four known occurrences have good viability. They all occur in an unfragmented, largely undisturbed landscape and are located in a relatively remote mountainous area having limited motorized access.

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Ericameria parryi ssp montanus occurs in a remote area and no threats to its long-term persistence have been identified (Mancuso and Moseley 1990). Invasive weed species or other habitat degradation problems are not known to be a conservation concern. Livestock graze the slopes of the Red Conglomerate Peaks area, but their use of the species' rocky ridge habitat is minimal. There are no roads penetrating the high subalpine ridges, and it seems unlikely that off-road vehicle users would target the species' rocky habitat. The general area is used by hunters in the fall, but there are few maintained trails. No mining activity is known from the area. The palatability of the species is unknown, but overgrazing by native wildlife has been identified as a potential threat in a scenario where wild ungulate populations are high and they are forced to use high elevation habitats more intensively due to the presence of livestock, recreationist, or hunters at lower elevations (Lesica 1992). Many species of insect feed on more common rabbitbrush species, but insect predation/herbivory has not been documented on Ericameria parryi ssp montanus. A fungal infection has been reported on some leaves, however (Lesica 1992). Small population size and a very local distribution pattern may make the species vulnerable to stochastic events compared to more widespread species.

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Information for most occurrences is based on survey work conducted in 1990 (Mancuso and Moseley 1990). A portion of one occurrence was revisited in 1992 and reported approximately the same number of plants. No largescale, major disturbances are known to have occurred within the range of Ericameria parryi, ssp. montanus since the initial survey project. It may be inferred that habitat conditions have been stable over the short-term, but additional comparative information to base short-term trend is not available. Overall, information needed to evaluate short-term population or habitat trend is lacking.

Long-term Trend: Unknown
Long-term Trend Comments: Ericameria parryi ssp montanus was originally collected in 1939 near Red Conglomerate Peaks. A subsequent collection was made from the same area in the 1950s. A limited amount of collection label information was all that was known about this species until 1990, when a targeted field survey was conducted in Idaho Mancuso and Moseley 1990). Plants have persisted in the Red Conglomerate Peaks area since 1939, but no information regarding abundance, distribution, habitat condition, and other conservation is known.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Life history information is lacking for Ericameria parryi ssp montanus. Many species occurring in harsh, high elevation environments mature slowly, have irregular reproductive success, and are slow to reestablish after disturbance. It is unknown if Eericameria parryi ssp montanus follows this pattern.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Ericameria parryi ssp montanus appears to be restricted to rocky, calcareous substrates of the Beaverhead Conglomerate Formation. It occurs where bedrock is at or near the surface, resulting in minimal soil development. High elevation, surfical exposure of Beaverhead Conglomerate rock is limited. Approximate boundaries in Idaho are from the head of Irving Creek, eastward to an area northwest of Paul Reservoir. Beaverhead Conglomerate rocks do not surface east of Monida Pass (Rember and Bennett 1979). The situation is similar in Montana, where the only high elevation outcrops of this rock type are in the Red Conglomerate Peaks area. It is not known how, or to what degree substrate-specific edaphic conditions might limit the distribution of Ericameria parryi ssp montanus.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus is a narrow endemic known only from the Red Conglomerate Peaks area, near the Continental Divide, in the southern Beaverhead Range of Idaho and adjacent Montana. Its global distribution extends over an area approximately four miles wide by two miles wide. The four known occurrences are more or less evenly distributed across this limited range (Mancuso and Moseley 1990).

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ID, MT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Clark (16033)
MT Beaverhead (30001)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Red Rock (10020001)+
17 Medicine Lodge (17040215)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus is a low, branching shrub restricted to rocky, high elevation sites that has white, felt-like hairs on the stems, linear, somewhat sticky leaves, and an inflorescence of yellow disc flowers overtopped by the uppermost stem leaves.
General Description: Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus is a low growing, branching shrub with stems mostly covered by compacted, feltlike hairs (not always easy to see). It has linear leaves 0.5-1.5 inches long that are somewhat sticky to the touch. The inflorescence has one or a few heads and is overtopped by the uppermost stem leaves. Each head is about 0.5 inch long and usually contains 8-10 yellow disk flowers, but no ray flowers. The bracts forming the base of each head are lance-shaped with hairs spaced along the margins and long, pointed green tips. They overlay each other like shingles on a roof. The seeds have numerous long, thin, stiff hairs at the top.
Technical Description: Intricately branched, low, spreading shrubs, 1-2 (3) dm tall; leaves green, alternate, entire, linear, 2-3.5 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, viscidulous, upper ones surpassing the few-headed cymose inflorescence; heads 10-11.5 mm long, involucral bracts (11) 13-17 (18), viscidulous, more or less in vertical rows, outer bracts lanceolate-ovate with ciliate margins and long acuminate, herbaceous tips, inner ones broadly lanceolate-elliptic with acuminate tips; disk flowers (4) 5-11 (12), yellow, corollas 9-10 mm long, lobes 1.4-1.7 mm long, broadly lanceolate, styles variable with stigmatic lines much shorter to slightly longer than the style appendages (27-52% of total style branch length); achenes 8 mm long, pubescent; n = 9 (Anderson 1978).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus is a low shrub with white stems, linear, glabrous leaves, the inflorescence overtopped by the uppermost leaves, and involucral bracts aligned in vertical ranks. This set of morphological characters combined with its high-elevation habitat distinguishes it from other similar species.
Reproduction Comments: Reproduction appears to be entirely by seed. The pollinators of Chrysothamnus parryi spp. montanus are not known. The species' windy, exposed habitat makes it likely that strong- flying pollinators such as bees may be important (Lesica 1992). The achenes of Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus have numerous capillary bristles and are likely shed in late fall or early winter. The habitat is windy, so dispersal is likely via wind. Large animals such as bighorn sheep and mountain goats may also play a role.
Known Pests: Many species of insects are known to feed on the more common rabbitbrush species. No insect herbivory or predation has been documented for Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus. Specimens from Montana have been noted to have a fungal infection on some leaves. These include brown senescent leaves, as well as apparently vigorous green leaves (Lesica 1992).
Ecology Comments: There have been no studies investigating the autecology of Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus. It occurs on high elevation slopes or windswept ridge crests with southerly exposures. It has not been observed on north-facing slopes, suggesting it requires the warmer conditions prevailing on the southerly aspects. Evapotranspiration is high and snow cover minimal on these exposed sites, dry sites. Seedlings would likely have to depend on spring snow or rain to become established. Recruitment may therefore, be limited to years with reliable spring precipitation (Lesica 1992).

Plants are found in sparsely vegetated sites, suggesting abiotic interactions may be more important than competition in regulating recruitment and survival. However, these habitats may also be very dry, at least seasonally. At these times competition for water may be important.

The species is apparently substrate specific, occurring only on substrate of the Beaverhead Conglomerate formation where bedrock is at or close to the surface. However, it is unknown if edaphic factors play a principal role in controlling the distribution of Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus, or what the environmental factors related to this substrate specificity may be.

The palatability of Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus is unknown. Some other rabbitbrush species are palatable and grazed by wild animals. There is no information on the species' response to disturbances.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree
Habitat Comments: Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus occurs on high elevation slopes or windswept ridge crests with southerly exposures between 8,800 and 10,000 feet. It is restricted to rocky, calcareous substrates of the Beaverhead Conglomerate Formation. It occurs where bedrock is at or near the surface, resulting in minimal soil development. Adjacent sites characterized by deeper, more fully developed soils do not support Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus. Populations are most extensive on rocky spur ridges descending from the Continental Divide. Plants can be locally common, but overall, occupied habitat covers limited acreage.

Beaverhead Conglomerate is the lithified bed of a large ancient river. The extent of this rock type is limited. Approximate boundaries in Idaho are from the head of Irving Creek, eastward to an area northwest of Paul Reservoir. Beaverhead Conglomerate rocks do not surface east of Monida Pass. The situation is similar for Montana, where the only high elevation outcrops are around Red Conglomerate Peaks, although lower elevation exposures are found along the Red Rock River in southern Beaverhead County. A nearly identical formation, the Sphinx Mountain Conglomerate, occurs around Sphinx Mountain in the central Madison Range southeast of Ennis. It outcrops at 9,000 feet to well above timberline.

The community in which Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus occurs is unclassified. Associated vegetation is sparse and not dominated by graminoids. Associate species include Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus ssp. lanceolatus, Haplopappus acaulis, H. suffruticosus, Erigeron caespitosus, Antennaria umbrinella, Astragalus kentrophyta, Phlox pulvinata, Ivesia gordonii, Petrophytum caespitosum, Draba oligosperma, Leucopoa kingii, Agropyron scribneri and Poa interior.

Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: This taxon is not part of the human economy.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: At least 750 genets and occupying at least 0.4 ha (1 ac) of suitable habitat.
Condition: Aggressive, exotic plant species with <1% cover within the occurrence. Evidence of anthropogenic-related ground disturbance or other impacts affecting <5% of the occurrence area.
Landscape context: Surrounding landscape is largely unfragmented and in good ecological condition.

Good Viability: Size: At least 250 genets and occupying at least 0.2ha (0.5 ac) of suitable habitat.
Condition: Aggressive, exotic plant species with <10% cover within the occurrence. Evidence of anthropogenic-related ground disturbance or other impacts affecting <10% of the occurrence area.
Landscape context: Surrounding landscape is not greatly fragmented and the majority is in good ecological condition.

Fair Viability: Size: At least 50 genets and occupying at least 0.1 ha (0.2 ac) of suitable habitat.
Condition: Aggressive, exotic plant species with <30% cover within the occurrence. Evidence of anthropogenic-related ground disturbance or other impacts affecting<30% of the occurrence area.
Landscape context: Surrounding landscape may be fragmented and/or substantial segments may be in marginal ecological condition.

Poor Viability: Size: <50 genets or occupying <0.1 ha (0.2 ac).
Condition: Aggressive, exotic plant species with >30% cover within the occurrence. Evidence of anthropogenic-related ground disturbance or other impacts affecting >30% of the occurrence area.
Landscape context: Surrounding landscape may be strongly fragmented and/or substantial segments may be in poor ecological condition.

Justification: Known Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus occurrences range in size from approximately 300 - 2,000 individuals. Occurrences are relatively large, usually 8 ha (20 ac) or more in extent, although plants occupy only a fraction of an occurrence area.. All occurrences are located on public land. Mountain habitats supporting Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus tend to be undisturbed and occur in a largely unfragmented landscape. The abundance of weedy species and the degree of disturbance within an occurrence are the main habitat condition metrics for assessing Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus EO Rank. The cold, rocky, subalpine ridge and upper slope habitats supporting Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus are not readily invaded by weed species. Higher cover of weeds is probably indicative of regular and intensive ground disturbance. Ericameria parryi ssp. montanus may be tolerant of some level of disturbance, but an assumption is that at some point can adversely affect the species' persistence. Impacts may be direct such as crushing or grazing on plants, or indirect by contributing to weed invasion or other habitat degradation/alteration problems.
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: 29Mar2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Mancuso, M.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Feb1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): M. Mancuso

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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  • Anderson, L. C. 1978. New taxa in Chrysothamnus, section Nauseosi (Asteraceae). Phytologia 38(4): 309-320.

  • Anderson, L. C. 1986. An overview of the genus Chrysothamnus (Asteraceae). Pages 29-45 in E. D. McArthur and B. L. Welch, compilers, Proceedings - Symposium on the Biology of Artemisia and Chrysothamnus. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report INT-200. Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT.

  • 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.

  • Lesica, P. 1992b. Conservation status of Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus on Beaverhead National Forest, Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 21 pp.

  • Mancuso, M., and R. K. Moseley. 1990. Field investigation of Chrysothamnus parryi ssp. montanus, a Region 4 sensitive species, on the Targhee National Forest. Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, ID. 11 pp. plus appendices.

  • Rember, W., and E. Bennett, compilers. 1979. Geologic map of the Dubois quadrangle, Idaho (scale 1:250,000). Idaho Bureau of Mines and Technology.

  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS). No date. Idaho and Wyoming endangered and sensitive plant field guide. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 192 pp.

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