Eriogonum coloradense - Small
Colorado Wild Buckwheat
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eriogonum coloradense Small (TSN 21096)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.154087
Element Code: PDPGN08170
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buckwheat Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Polygonales Polygonaceae Eriogonum
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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: Eriogonum coloradense
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 24May2006
Global Status Last Changed: 13May1997
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to Colorado, there are approximately 20 known occurrences, the vast majority of which are imprecisely mapped and have not been observed for over twenty years.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2

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 Colorado (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to Colorado; known from Chaffee, Gunnison, Park, Pitkin, and Saguache counties. Estimated range is 9,318 square kilometers (3,598 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008).

Area of Occupancy: 1-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The total occupied habitat is about 416 acres. Occurrences without specific information on occupied habitat were considered to occupy 0.5 acre.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 21 principal occurrences documented in the Colorado Natural Heritage Program database. Fifteen of the 21 occurrences have not been observed in over 20 years. Fifteen of the 21 occurrences are imprecisely mapped. The USFS Conservation Assessment documents 22 occurrences (Anderson 2004).

Population Size Comments: Total estimated sum of individuals from 5 of the 21 documented occurrences is 4,764. The remaining occurrences do not report the number of individuals.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: There are 4 occurrences with an A or B rank.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Recreational uses are considered to be the primary threat to the species at this time (Anderson 2004, Rondeau et al. 2011). The species is also threatened by grazing and its secondary effects, right-of-way management, residential development, exotic species invasion, effects of small population size, mining, rust, global climate change, and pollution. Some threats are more urgent at some sites than at others (Anderson 2004).

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Unknown (Anderson 2004).

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

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to Colorado; known from Chaffee, Gunnison, Park, Pitkin, and Saguache counties. Estimated range is 9,318 square kilometers (3,598 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008).

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 CO

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Chaffee (08015)*, Gunnison (08051), Park (08093), Pitkin (08097), Saguache (08109)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 South Platte Headwaters (10190001)+
11 Arkansas Headwaters (11020001)+*
14 Roaring Fork (14010004)+, East-Taylor (14020001)+, Tomichi (14020003)+, North Fork Gunnison (14020004)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Densely matted perennial. Flowering stems scapose, bearing 3-4 involucres per head. Flowers white to pinkish, 2.5-3.5 mm long, stamens exserted. Plants 6-10 cm tall.
General Description: Densely matted perennial, 6-10 cm tall, and with numerous underground caudices.  Flowering stems are glabrous, scapose, bearing 3-4 involucres per head. Flowers white to pinkish, 2.5-3.5 mm long, stamens exserted. Peduncles are absent. Leaves are narrowly oblanceolate or lanceolate, 3-9 mm wide, green above, tomentose below, and leaf margins are slightly rolled under, or flat (Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2012, Weber and Wittmann 2012).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Eriogonum coloradense is unusual in that it has an extremely broad ecological range. It has been documented on every soil texture, slope, and aspect. It has been found on sedimentary, granitic, and volcanic substrates, with Artemisia species (sagebrush) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and also with alpine cushion plants. It is found on a variety of geomorphic landforms, usually on talus, fellfields, rock shoots, and ridges, but also on roadsides. Reveal (personal communication 2002) described the habitat as rocky talus on the margins of meadows, grassland communities, high elevation sagebrush, sometimes with montane or subalpine conifers, and on sandy to gravelly flats and slopes. The best information currently available on E. coloradense is from high elevation sites. More work is needed to better understand the habitat of E. coloradense throughout its range (Anderson 2004).  
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any naturally occurring population that is separated by a sufficient distance or barrier from a neighboring population. As a guideline, 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 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 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. No information on mobility of pollen and propagules is available on which to base the separation distance for this species.
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S., and D. Anderson.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: There is no quantitative information on population size available for this species at this time. Only three of the 17 known occurrences have information on population size, qualifying them as "scarce," "few," and "abundant" (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2000). 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. Justification: 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. When more information is acquired, the eospecs should be reassessed for this species.
Good Viability: Size: No population size information is available for this species at this time. Condition: 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. Landscape Context: The surrounding landscape should contain the ecological processes needed to sustain the occurrence but may be fragmented and/or impacted by humans.
Fair Viability: Size: No population size information is available for this species at this time. Condition: 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). Landscape Context: There may be significant human disturbance, but the ecological processes needed to sustain the species are still intact.
Poor Viability: Size: Less than 10 individuals. Condition: 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. Landscape context: The surrounding area is fragmented with many ecological processes no longer intact. The occurrence has a low probability of long-term persistence due to inbreeding depression, natural stochastic events, and its intrinsic vulnerability to human impacts.
Justification: Justification: 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. We estimate that the effects of inbreeding depression would become severe over time in an isolated population of less than 10 individuals, although there is no data available on the population biology of this species or on the sizes of known populations at this time.
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: 22May2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: S. Spackman, rev. Spackman, S. and D. Anderson (2000), rev. Neuhaus, K., J. Handwerk, and S. Spackman Panjabi (2006)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Apr2009
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Handwerk, J., rev. SSP (2014)

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
  • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.


  • Ackerfield, J. 2015. Flora of Colorado. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX. 818 pp.

  • Anderson, D.G. (2004, October 14). Eriogonum coloradense Small (Colorado buckwheat): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/eriogonumcoloradense.pdf [March 2006].

  • Anderson, D.G. (2004, October 14). Eriogonum coloradense Small (Colorado buckwheat): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/eriogonumcoloradense.pdf [March 2006].

  • Harrington, H. D. 1954. Manual of the Plants of Colorado. Sage Books, Denver, CO. 666 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.

  • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.

  • Rondeau, R., K. Decker, J. Handwerk, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, and C. Pague. 2011. The state of Colorado's biodiversity 2011. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 

  • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. (Web authors: Johnson, C.S. and M. Barry). 1999. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Online. Available: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/rareplants/cover.html (Accessed 2005)

  • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

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

  • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 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.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2012b. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, a field guide to the vascular plants, fourth edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

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