Erythronium elegans - Hammond & Chambers
Coast Range Fawnlily
Other Common Names: Coast Range fawnlily
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Erythronium elegans Hammond & Chambers (TSN 196371)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.129526
Element Code: PMLIL0U0K0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Lily Family
Image 10820

© Linda M. Hardie

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Liliales Liliaceae Erythronium
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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: Erythronium elegans
Taxonomic Comments: A DNA study investigating the origins of Erythronium elegans was recently completed (Allen 2008). ITS sequences indicated that the diploid species E. revolutum and E. oregonum gave rise (at least in part) to tetraploid E. elegans. E. elegans also yielded chloroplast DNA haplotypes of two distinct types; one plastid haplotype matched the most common haplotype of E. revolutum, while other haplotypes were similar to those of E. oregonum. Results were consistent with derivation of the plastid genomes of different polyploid populations from either E. revolutum or E. oregonum (or their respective recent ancestors), and suggest recurrent formation of E. elegans (Allen 2008).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 20Apr2010
Global Status Last Changed: 20Apr2010
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to high elevation peaks in the northern Coast Range of Oregon, Erythronium elegans is known from approximately 12 extant occurrences. Just two occurrences are on lands managed solely or primarily for conservation purposes, although a few others are on Federal lands on which the species is designated Sensitive. Approximately 9,000-15,000 individuals are known. Habitat disturbance from logging is a threat at some sites. Other relatively low-level threats include road construction, recreation, collection, elk herbivory, and habitat degradation due to Douglas fir blight. The species appears to be somewhat of a poor competitor that does best in sites with a sparse herbaceous layer, although it seems to be less specific in its canopy cover and soil moisture requirements. It is unknown whether E. elegans has always been rare, or has declined from historical levels.
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 Oregon (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to high elevation peaks in the northern Coast Range of western Oregon, in Tillamook, Polk, Lincoln and Yamhill Counties.

Area of Occupancy: 26-500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Using a 2 x 2 km grid, approximately 11 grid cells are occupied.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Approximately 12 occurrences are believed extant. Three of these occurrences were newly discovered in 2006 through a distribution modeling study that focused search in potential habitat; the habitat of this species is receptive to GIS-based modeling (Tobalske and Buechling 2008).

Population Size Comments: Total population size appears to be approximately 9,000-15,000 individuals. Sites newly-discovered or re-surveyed in 2006 make a significant contribution to this total. In a demographic study, as much as 13% of plants were observed to be dormant in any one year, and some plants remained dormant for up to three years (Guerrant 1999 cited in Guerrant 2007).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: 6-9 occurrences are believed to have excellent or good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat disturbance from logging operations is a threat at some sites. Because some extant sites are located in formerly clearcut areas, it does not appear that tree removal per se is highly problematic; however, impacts may result from associated disturbance (heavy equipment use, etc.). One site has been impacted by road construction, and one site by human recreation (camping, etc.). Other reported threats include plant collection for horticultural purposes, herbivory (e.g. by elk), and fungal infection (Douglas fir blight) (Guerrant 2007).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: A six-year demographic study compared population growth between one presumably healthy occurrence (Mount Hebo, Siuslaw NF) and one occurrence believed to be in decline (Lost Prairie, BLM ACEC). Each occurrence was subdivided into two focal populations, and it was found that one of these focal populations was increasing, one was in significant decline, and the remaining two were stable (Guerrant 1999 cited in Guerrant 2007).

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: This species "has responded vigorously to garden cultivation in both North America and Britain" (Grothaus 2001). Therefore, its rarity may be more related to poor competitive ability and/or limited availability of suitable habitat than to intrinsic issues.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Restricted in habitat.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to high elevation peaks in the northern Coast Range of western Oregon, in Tillamook, Polk, Lincoln and Yamhill Counties.

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

Range Map
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U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
OR Lincoln (41041), Polk (41053), Tillamook (41057), Yamhill (41071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Upper Willamette (17090003)+, Yamhill (17090008)+, Nehalem (17100202)+, Wilson-Trusk-Nestuccu (17100203)+, Siletz-Yaquina (17100204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb, 1.5-3 dm tall. Each flowering plant produces 1-4 white to pink flowers with yellow stripes at the base; sepals and petals that are strongly bent backward in full sun, but only slightly spreading under shady or cloudy conditions. The two plain green to slightly mottled leaves are often flat to the ground. Flowering May-June.
General Description: This lily-like plant has white to pink flowers (1 to 4) gracefully nodding on a stem 16-30 cm long. Petals strongly arch back in sunlight, are nearly 5 cm long and have a narrow yellow band at the base. A pair of plain green to slightly mottled leaves up to 10 cm long and with very short stalks are found at the base of flowering plants.
Technical Description: Corm 2.0-5.5 cm long, 8-15 mm wide, enclosed in papery sheaths and producing new cormlets laterally; subterranean stem between leaves and corm 3.5-10 cm long; leaves usually uniformly deep green or mottled with a few pale lines, rarely with well-developed brown mottling; leaf of non-flowering plants single, 6-8 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, the blade broad, ovate-lanceolate, usually abruptly narrowed to a slender, nearly wingless petiole; leaves of flowering plants tow, more or less prostrate, 7-13 (-15) cm long, 2-4 (-8) cm wide, the blade narrowly lanceolate, usually with strongly undulate margins, gradually narrowed to a short, evidently winged petiole; scape 16-30 cm tall; flowers 1-2 (-4), nodding, with perianth strongly reflexed in bright sunshine to only slightly spreading under shady or cloudy conditions; perianth segments lanceolate, 2-4 (-5) cm long, (30)5-10(-15) mm wide, with well-developed basal appendages, white or pale pink with bright yellow stripes at the base, often reddish on abaxial surface; filaments narrow to somewhat dilated, 0.5-2,0 mm wide; anthers golden yellow, not connivent around style; style filiflorm, 1-3 cm long; stigma deeply divided with recurved lobes; capsule broadly clavate, blunt, 2.5-3.5 cm long, 6-8 mm wide (Hammond and Chambers 1985).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from E. quinaultense (endemic to the Olympic Mountains of Washington) by its smaller stature; white to pinkish tepals, the outer ones generally more strongly colored, especially on outer surface (vs. tepals white near base, shading to pink at margins and tips in E. quinaultense); its white anther filaments 0.8-1.4 mm wide (vs. often pink-tinged anther filaments 1.0-1.8 mm wide); its tepal length and width; its outer tepal length-to-width ratio; and its filament length (Allen 2001). Differs from E. revolutum by its white to pinkish tepals (vs. uniformly clear pink in E. revolutum); by its linear-lanceolate anther filaments 0.8-1.8 mm wide (vs. lanceolate anther filaments 1.5-3.0 mm wide); by its leaf mottling generally faint, sometimes absent in juveniles (vs. leaf mottling distinct); and by its tendency to be found above 800 m (Allen 2001). Differs from E. montanum (of the Cascade Mountains) by its white to pinkish tepals (vs. white in E. montanum); by its linear-lanceolate anther filaments 0.8-1.8 mm wide (vs. linear anther filaments < 0.8 mm wide); and by its leaves irregularly mottled (at least faintly) with brown or white (vs. uniformly green) (Allen 2001). E. oregonum is distinguished from E. elegans by its white-cream colored flowers, pronounced brown spots on the leaves, and tendency to be found at lower elevations; E. grandiflorum is differentiated from E. elegans by its yellow flowers and blue-green leaves.
Reproduction Comments: Of the four sites studied by Guerrant (1999 cited in Guerrant 2007), one had low sexual reproduction but high vegetation reproduction relative to the other sites. Guerrant hypothesizes that the plants may be capable of responding adaptively when sexual reproduction is limited by allocating more resources to vegetative reproduction.
Ecology Comments: In a demographic study, the site with the greatest population growth had, on average, the lowest levels of most of the soil nutrients assayed (phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, ammonium, nitrate) (Guerrant 1999 cited in Guerrant 2007). According to Guerrant, one hypothesis is that E. elegans is at a competitive disadvantage relative to its associated species, and therefore may do better in poor soil conditions where it may be able to obtain sufficient nutrients whereas competitors cannot. Guerrant's studies also suggested that interactions between nutrients, light levels, herbivory, and ground cover most likely determine where E. elegans will thrive. Given that E. elegans may be a poor competitor, Guerrant hypothesizes a lack of intense competition from the herbaceous plant layer may be a key site feature promoting success (Guerrant 1999 cited in Guerrant 2007).
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Conifer, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: Has been found in a variety of more or less open sites within Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests; known sites vary greatly in their herbaceous and canopy cover as well as their soil moisture. Sites include meadows, open rocky slopes, rocky outcrops, balds, cliffs, bog edges, forest edges, open forests, brushlands, and road cuts. Found on sites where snow cover is usually present in the winter and precipitation is very heavy except in summer. Associated species include Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir), Abies amabilis (Pacific silver fir), Thuja plicata (Western redcedar), Picea sp. (spruce), Maianthemum dilatatum (false lily-of-the-valley), Erythronium grandiflorum var. pallidum (California glacier lily), Fragaria sp. (strawberry), Gaultheria sp. (snowberry), Vaccinium sp. (blueberry), Lupinus sp. (lupine), and various grasses and mosses. 800-1065 m.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Occurrences in habitats that are not permanently open (e.g. some bog edges) may benefit from management to maintain at least partial openness (e.g. burning or hand clearing). Occurrences in isolated wetland sites would likely benefit from efforts to maintain the natural local hydrologic regime, particularly recharge zones that provide groundwater inputs. At least one occurrence co-occurs with the Federally Threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta); at sites of co-occurrence, it is important to ensure that management actions for the butterfly, such as mowing or burning to maintain habitat for its larval food plant Viola adunca, are compatible with the needs of E. elegans; this need is noted in the butterfly's Recovery Plan. The impact of elk herbivory on E. elegans plants should be monitored to determine what, if any, management actions may be needed to mitigate (Guerrant 2007). Impacts of Douglas Fir blight on E. elegans habitat should also be monitored and, if necessary, addressed via management as possible (Guerrant 2007). Studies are being conducted at a large occurrence in Tillamook State Forest to gauge response to various harvest densities; the Mount Hebo occurrence will be a control site.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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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: 17Oct1996
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: S. Vrilakas and K. Maybury, rev. K. Gravuer (2009)
Management Information Edition Date: 04Aug2009
Management Information Edition Author: Gravuer, K.

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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  • Allen, G. A. 2001. Hybrid speciation in Erythronium (Liliaceae): a new allotetraploid species from Washington state. Systematic Botany 26(2):263-272.

  • Allen, G. A. 2008. The origins of polyploids in western North American fawn-lilies (Erythronium). Canadian Journal of Botany 86(8): 835-845.

  • Brooks, Paula and Stephanie Schulz. 1988. Fanno Meadows rare plant survey: Anemone oregana var. felix and Erythronium elegans. Unpublished report for Oregon Field Office of The Nature Conservancy. 12 pp + photos, aerials, transparencies.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxvi + 723 pp.

  • Grothaus, M. M. 2001. The genus Erythronium. Pgs. 139-150 in Bulbs of North America, McGary, M. J., ed. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Guerrant, E. 2007, 19 November last update. National Collection Plant Profile: Erythronium elegans. Center for Plant Conservation. Online. Available: www.centerforplantconservation.org/ASP/CPC_ViewProfile.asp?CPCNum=1839 (Accessed 2009).

  • Hammond, P.C. and K.L. Chambers. 1985. A new species of Erythronium (Liliaceae) from the Coast Range of Oregon. Madrono, Vol. 32, No. 1: 49-56.

  • Hammond, P.C., and K. Chambers. 1985. A new species of Erythronium (Liliaceae) from the coast range of Oregon. Madrono 32(1): 49-56.

  • 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.

  • Oregon Flora Project. 2009 last update. Rare Plant Guide. Online. Available: http://www.oregonflora.org/rareplants/index.php (Accessed 2009).

  • Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center. 2009. Oregon threatened or endangered plant field guide. Online. Available: http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/plants/view_plants2.php (Accessed 2009).

  • Tobalske, C. and A. Buechling. 2008. Predicting Rare Plant Occurrence in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Portland, OR. Presentation at West Region Natural Heritage Conference, Tahoe City, California, April 2008. Online. Available: www.natureserve.org/visitLocal/westregional/presentations/habitatModelingRarePlants.ppt (Accessed 2009).

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