Mentzelia chrysantha - Engelm. ex Brandeg.
Gold Blazingstar
Other Common Names: gold blazingstar
Synonym(s): Nuttallia chrysantha (Engelm. ex Brandeg.) Greene
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Mentzelia chrysantha Engelm. ex Brandeg. (TSN 503762)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.142432
Element Code: PDLOA03080
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Blazingstar Family
Image 12093

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Violales Loasaceae Mentzelia
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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: Mentzelia chrysantha
Taxonomic Comments: Listed as Nuttallia chrysantha in the Colorado Flora Eastern Slope (Weber and Wittmann 2001). The difference between Mentzelia chrysantha and M. reverchonii is subtle, and they may actually be the same species (personal communication Tass Kelso 2006).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 11Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 24Feb2005
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to Fremont and Pueblo counties, Colorado. Although there are 26 occurrences, the population size is small, only a few occurrences are protected, and at least six are roadside populations. The habitat is highly suitable for subdivisions and limestone quarrying. Gravel mining is also common in the area. Off-road vehicle use is a considerable threat. Most potential habitat is privately owned.
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: Colorado endemic (Fremont and Pueblo counties).  Estimated range is 1,373 square kilometers (530 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: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 27 principal occurrences documented in the Colorado Natural Heritage Program database. Five of the 27 occurrences are historic, so have not been observed in over 20 years (NatureServe Central Database 2015).

Population Size Comments: Some counts are from the 1990's but there are probably more than 5,000 plants as of 2015.

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

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Residential development is considered to be the primary threat to the species at this time. Other threats include commercial development, mining, recreation, right-of-way management, exotic species invasion, grazing, effects of small population size, climate change, and pollution. Fremont County is among the fastest growing counties in the United States, and low-density development is proceeding rapidly throughout the Arkansas Valley. Many of the known occurrences are located in highway right-of-ways where they are at risk from weed invasion and management (Anderson 2006).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Known and potential habitat is desirable for other purposes than conservation: livestock grazing, limestone/shale mining, and road construction have all decreased the numbers and quality of habitat.

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

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Unknown, but occurs on roadcuts and on slopes within surrounding grazed lands.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: A narrowly restricted edaphic endemic.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Colorado endemic (Fremont and Pueblo counties).  Estimated range is 1,373 square kilometers (530 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 Fremont (08043), Pueblo (08101)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 Arkansas Headwaters (11020001)+, Upper Arkansas (11020002)+, Fountain (11020003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb with thick, erect, mostly unbranched stems, 2-6 dm tall. Flowers are lemon yellow with 10 petals.
General Description: Mentzelia chrysantha is a biennial or monocarpic perennial. In favorable years, it can complete its lifecycle in two years, but it can persist for several years as a rosette awaiting a favorable year. After it bolts and flowers, the plant dies. The plant has thick, erect, mostly unbranched stems, 2 to 6 dm tall. The leaves are 2 to 15 cm long, elongated (ovate-lanceolate to ovate), and sinuous-dentate (Spackman et al. 1997). The leaves, stems, and fruits have a dense covering of hairs. Mentzelia chrysantha produces numerous bright lemon yellow or golden yellow perfect flowers with 10 petals (Spackman et al. 1997). There are 50 to 80 seeds per capsule (Harrington 1954). The seeds are very narrowly winged, with a papillose seed coat (Weber and Wittmann 2001). The characteristics of the seed coat are generally regarded as being of great taxonomic value in Mentzelia (Hill 1976). For identification, the most up-to-date key available is that of Weber and Wittmann (2001), which includes a couplet that can distinguish Mentzelia chrysantha from M. reverchonii. This key and the descriptive information in Spackman et al. (1997) are the two best tools for diagnosing M. chrysantha in the field (Anderson 2006).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Collections of Mentzelia chrysantha with mature fruit should be made to verify any new occurrences, as long as the occurrence is large enough to accommodate a collection (as a guideline, at least 25 plants). The seeds of M. chrysantha have narrow wings and the seed coat is distinctly papillose. Flower color and date of collection should also be recorded. Mentzelia chrysantha has golden yellow flowers (the flower color may pale as the flowers dry) and blooms from July to early September (Spackman et al. 1997).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree
Habitat Comments: Mentzelia chrysantha is typically found on barren slopes and road cuts of limestone, shale, or alkaline clay. The habitat of M. chrysantha consists of moderately disturbed, wasting slopes such as those above the Arkansas River. Slopes are usually moderately steep in the shale barrens; no particular aspect is favored. Mentzelia chrysantha occupies slopes and road cuts, where it grows prolifically and is often the only plant species growing in large numbers. Mentzelia chrysantha is found on a variety of geologic formations, mainly marine deposits from the upper (late) Cretaceous period. Mentzelia chrysantha is found primarily on the Smoky Hill member of the Niobrara shale, which is widespread throughout the middle Arkansas Valley, especially in the vicinity of Florence. The Smoky Hill member includes seven subunits that vary greatly in texture and color (may be olive black, yellow-brown, olive gray, pale yellow, or yellow gray). Coarse-scale vegetation types in which Mentzelia chrysantha is found include pinyon juniper-woodland and juniper woodland communities. While a few occurrences have actually been documented in pinyon-juniper woodland vegetation, the most commonly associated species are Frankenia jamesii and Atriplex canescens (Anderson 2006). Mentzelia chrysantha is also often associated with other rare plants such as Parthenium tetraneuris and Mirabilis rotundifolia.
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. 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.
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S., and D. Anderson.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: 500 or more individuals (based on available EOR 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 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. Some degree of natural disturbance may reduce competitive exclusion by other species. A-ranked occurrences of this species are found in natural ecological settings (not on roadcuts), most likely on barren limestone or shale substrates. Justification: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient.
Good Viability: Size: 100 to 500 individuals (based on available EOR data). 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: 10 to 100 individuals (based on available EOR data). 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 (based on available EOR data). 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.
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: 11Jun2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Spackman, S. (1993), rev. Spackman (1996), rev. Spackman, S. (2000); rev. Handwerk, J. (2004), rev. Neuhaus, K. J. Handwerk,S. Panjabi (2006), rev. P. Smith (2013), rev. A. Treher (2015)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Feb2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Susan Spackman Panjabi

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


  • Anderson, D.G. (2006, July 3). Mentzelia chrysantha Engelmann ex Brandegee (golden blazing star): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/mentzeliachrysantha.pdf [date of access].

  • Anderson, D.G. (2006, July 3). Mentzelia chrysantha Engelmann ex Brandegee (golden blazing star): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/mentzeliachrysantha.pdf.

  • Anderson, J. 1991. Specimen Collections at University of Colorado Herbarium, Boulder, Colorado.

  • Clokey, I.W. 1921. Plants collected in 1921 by Clokey were deposited at University of Colorado Herbarium, Boulder, Colorado.

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

  • Hill, R.J. 1976. Taxonomic and phylogenetic significance of seed coat microsculpturing in Mentzelia (Loasaceae) in Wyoming and adjacent western states. Brittonia 28:86-112.

  • Jennings, B. 1993. Photocopy of field notes 1993-07-09.

  • Jennings, B. N.D. Photocopy of field notes, undated.

  • Jordan, Lucy. 1992. Listing priority number assignment form, USFWS.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. 2009. RARE Imperiled Plants of Colorado, a traveling art exhibition. Exhibition catalogue developed by the Denver Botanic Gardens and Steamboat Art Museum.

  • Spackman Panjabi, S. 2004. Visiting Insect Diversity and Visitation Rates for Seven Globally Imperiled Plant Species in Colorado's Middle Arkansas Valley. Prepared for the Native Plant Conservation Alliance and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, C. Spurrier, and T. Skadelandl. 1996. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins.

  • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado Rare Plant Field Guide. Prepared for the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

  • Spackman, Susan and Sandra Floyd. 1996. Final Report: Conserving the Globally Imperiled Plants of the Middle Arkansas Valley, Colorado. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.

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

  • Weber, W. 1985. Specimen collections at University of Colorado Herbarium, Boulder, CO.

  • 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. 1996a. Colorado flora: Eastern slope. Revised edition. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 524 pp.

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