Mimulus gemmiparus - W.A. Weber
Weber's Monkeyflower
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Mimulus gemmiparus W.A. Weber (TSN 33315)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147707
Element Code: PDSCR1B190
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Figwort Family
Image 10843

© Loraine Yeatts

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Scrophulariaceae Mimulus
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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: Mimulus gemmiparus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 11May2015
Global Status Last Changed: 19Dec2003
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: A narrowly restricted Colorado endemic with an unusual biology whereby the species reproduces only vegetatively in small patches . The species is known from 8 populations, and the total patch size and occupied habitat is very small.  The greatest threats to this species are recreation activities.  In a study of the 3 populations that occur on USFS lands in 2005 and then in 2013, Beardsley and Steingraeber (2013) found that 12 patches had disappeared and only 6 patches were newly discovered.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States Colorado (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to Colorado. Known from Boulder, Clear Creek, Grand, Jefferson, and Larimer counties. Estimated range is 2,519 square kilometers (972 square miles), calculated in GIS by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008 by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences.

Area of Occupancy: 6-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The total occupied habitat is about 26 acres. Occurrences without specific information on occupied habitat were considered to occupy 0.5 acre. Actual occupied area reported by Steingraeber and Beardsley (2005) is 168 square meters (<0.05 acre).  Three of the 8 populations that occur in the Roosevelt and Pike National Forests account for approximately 93% of the individuals in the total population of the species (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments:  One of the 8 occurrences has not been observed in over 20 years (as of 2006). The USFS Conservation Assessment documents 8 occurrences (Beatty et al. 2003).  In 2013, one of the original populations, the type locality located in the Rocky Mountain National Park, is believed to be extinct.  Another new population was discovered in 2007 in Staunton State Park (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013).  The total known number of populations remains 8 given one extinction and 1 new discovery, and 3 of the 8 populations occur on National Forest Lands in the Roosevelt and Pike National Forests (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013).

Population Size Comments: Total estimated number of individuals is >100,000 (Steingraeber and Beardsley 2005). Population size factor value left blank for this annual since the large number of individuals suggests a sense of security that is not warranted.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: There are 6 occurrences with an A or B rank.

Overall Threat Impact: Very high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Recreational activities are considered to be the primary threats to the species at this time (Rondeau et al. 2011) combined with the fact that the total population of this species is small, known from a very small area, and is highly vulnerable to stochastic events by one of the threats mentioned below. Most of the M. gemmiparus locations occur in close proximity to trails or roads. Because M. gemmiparus tends to grow in dense colonies within small areas, one minor disturbance could extirpate an entire population. Beardsley and Steingraeber (2013) provide evidence that these sorts of events are common and unpredictable. For example, a group of hikers sought refuge from a storm in 2010 under the rock ledge that overhangs a population of M. gemmiparus and could have easily trampled the small plants (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013). Therefore, M. gemmiparus could be easily impacted or trampled by off-trail activity by tourists, hikers, and horses or trail maintenance activities. Existing M. gemmiparus populations are also susceptible to ecological or human-related disturbances that could alter soil conditions, affect hydrology, or increase competition with other species. Ecological disturbances could include succession, wildfire, drought, rock fall, flash flood, erosion, climate change, tree blowdown, and invasion of exotic plants (Beatty et al. 2003). Further, Colorado climate scenarios for 2050 suggest temperature will increase by 3-7 F and precipitation may decrease or increase. The impact to any given rare plant habitat is likely to vary. Long-term monitoring that includes weather and soil moisture data is critical to understanding climate impacts.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: No long-term studies have been made that would indicate trends (Peterson and Harmon 1983, Beatty et al. 2003). Environmental conditions (e.g., drought, fire, succession) make it difficult to predict if populations are decreasing, increasing, or remaining stable (Beatty et al. 2003).  As of 2013, there is some information on the population trends of the 3 populations that occur on National Forests lands presented by Beardsley and Steingraeber (2013) who report that in 2005 the estimate number of plants at the 3 populations was 117,260 and in 2013 the estimate was 61,346.  They also report the number of vegetative reproductive structures 'bulbils' to be 1,567,140 in 2005; and 1,023,904 in 2013 (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013).  Finally, Beardsley and Steingraeber (2013) comment that given that this species appears to operate in a meta-population dynamic where patches disappear and new ones appear, that their finding of 12 patches disappearing and 6 appearing over the period between 2005 to 2013 is perhaps more significant that population numbers or production of bulbils.

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: No long-term studies have been made that would indicate the status or vigor of the known populations (Peterson and Harmon 1983).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to Colorado. Known from Boulder, Clear Creek, Grand, Jefferson, and Larimer counties. Estimated range is 2,519 square kilometers (972 square miles), calculated in GIS by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008 by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences.

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
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U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Boulder (08013), Clear Creek (08019), Grand (08049), Jefferson (08059), Larimer (08069), Park (08093)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Upper South Platte (10190002)+, St. Vrain (10190005)+, Big Thompson (10190006)+
14 Colorado headwaters (14010001)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An inconspicuous, annual herb, 1-10 cm tall, only infrequently producing sterile flowers (these bloom in July) and only above ground between 1 and 2 months a year (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013). Reproduction is by propagula, or bulbil - a dormant embryonic shoot forms inside the leaf stems, which are swollen, and sac-like. These fall off the mother plant as it matures.  
General Description: A small, inconspicuous, annual herb, 1-10 cm tall, only infrequently producing sterile flowers and only above ground between 1 and 2 months a year (Beardsley and Steingraeber 2013). Reproduction is by propagule, or bulbil, a dormant embryonic shoot forms inside a modified leaf stem or petiole, which are swollen, and sac-like. These fall off the mother plant as it matures. Flowers yellow when present; 4-5 mm long, solitary, either terminal or from leaf axil (Spackman et al. 1997). Plants are completely glabrous, unbranched, with opposite, ovate leaves up to 10 mm long and 7 mm wide (Peterson 1983).
Duration: ANNUAL
Riverine Habitat(s): SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: A subalpine species found on granite outcrops with surface seepage water and on moist forest soils near seeps and springs. Usually found in areas protected by granite overhangs and usually associated with other Mimulus species. Also found on an alluvial fan deposited by the Lawn Lake flood. The species' propagules are thought to be water-dispersed. Granitic seeps, slopes and alluvium in open sites within spruce-fir and aspen forests (Spackman et al. 1997, Steingraeber and Beardsley 2005).
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. Populations of this species appear to be highly naturally isolated both geographically and genetically. Thus, a separation distance for this species is arguably applied very conservatively. However, one large population is found on the alluvial outwash left by a failed dam, suggesting that in at least rare catastrophic instances, the species can disperse widely. If natural dispersal vectors besides water exist for this species, they are unknown at this time. The primary mode of reproduction is through the asexual production of gemmae that are derived from the leaf petioles (Weber 1972, Moody et al. 1999). However, there appears to be a significant degree of morphological variability between populations (pers. com. D. Steingraeber 2000). Until more definitive data is available that will enable us to more appropriately define a separation distance for this species, it is recommended that occurrences within one mile of each other be considered sub-occurrences. There is no habitat connectivity between any of the known occurrences, and it is unlikely that occurrences of this species will be separated by apparently suitable habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Populations of this species appear to be highly naturally isolated both geographically and genetically. Thus, a separation distance for this species is arguably applied very conservatively. However, one large population is found on the alluvial outwash left by a failed dam, suggesting that in at least rare catastrophic instances, the species can disperse widely. If natural dispersal vectors besides water exist for this species, they are unknown at this time. The primary mode of reproduction is through the asexual production of gemmae that are derived from the leaf petioles (Weber 1972, Moody et al. 1999). However, there appears to be a significant degree of morphological variability between populations (pers. com. D. Steingraeber 2000). Until more definitive data is available that will enable us to more appropriately define a separation distance for this species, it is recommended that occurrences within one mile of each other be considered sub-occurrences. There is no habitat connectivity between any of the known occurrences, and it is unlikely that occurrences of this species will be separated by apparently suitable habitat.
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S., and D. Anderson.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: 1000 or more plants (based on available EOR data). Condition: The occurrence should have an excellent likelihood of long-term viability (evidence of vigorous growth and propagula production observed indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact). Occurrences should be in a high-quality site with no significant human disturbance such as trampling by hikers. The occupied habitat includes the ecological processes needed to sustain this species (i.e. water seepage from a granitic substrate). Landscape Context: The occurrence is surrounded by an area that is unfragmented in which the ground and surface water regime is unaltered. Justification: Very little is known about this species. Because of its very specific habitat requirements and the limited availability of this habitat, large, secure populations of this species are unlikely. The largest population documented contains 1000-1500 plants. Because the pollen is sterile in this species, it is assumed at this time that all reproduction takes place via asexual reproduction; thus flower production may not be an indicator of reproductive success.
Good Viability: Size: 200 or more individuals in a small (5 square meters or less) area (based on available EOR data). Condition: the occurrence should have a good likelihood of long term viability (evidence of propagula production observed indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact). Anthropogenic disturbance should be minimal in the occurrence, but it may be somewhat vulnerable to trampling. Landscape Context: The surrounding landscape contains the ecological processes needed to sustain the occurrence but may be fragmented or otherwise affected by human impacts.
Fair Viability: Size: 20 or more individuals observed in a small (typically 1 square meter or less) area. Condition: The occurrence may be less productive (with poor production of propagula and less vigorous plants) than in A-and B-ranked occurrences, but is still viable. The occupied habitat may be degraded or disturbed by human visitation. The long-term persistence of the occurrence may be highly questionable in C-ranked occurrences due to the unnatural or early seral nature of the occupied area. Landscape Context: the surrounding area may be moderately impacted by human activities but the ecological processes needed to sustain the occurrence, particularly the presence of the appropriate hydrological regime, are still functioning.
Poor Viability: Size: 20 or fewer individuals (based on available EOR data). Condition: Vigor is poor and/or propagula production is not observed, with little or no evidence of successful reproduction. The occupied habitat is degraded and there is a significant level of human disturbance. The necessary hydrological regime for this species may no longer exist due to human impacts or due to natural changes in the hydrology of the seep. Landscape Context: The surrounding landscape 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 have a very high probability of extirpation due to natural stochastic events or human activity.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S. and D. Anderson
Notes: COHP
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: 11May2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Maybury, K. and S. Spackman, D.T. Wasinger, rev. Spackman, S. and D. Anderson (2000), rev. Neuhaus, K., J. Handwerk, and S. Spackman Panjabi (2006); rev. J. Handwerk (2013), rev. L. Oliver (2015)

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
  • Beardsley, M. and D. A. Steingraeber. 2013. Population dynamics, rarity and risk of extirpation for populations of Mimulus gemmiparus  (budding monkeyflower) on National Forests of Colorado. A research report submitted to the USFS Forest Service. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forets and Pawnee National Grassland. pp 17. Accessed online on May 11 at: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/Rare_Plants/profiles/Critically_Imperiled/mimulus_gemmiparus/documents/USFS_MimulusStatusReport2013.pdf

  • Beatty, B.L., W.F. Jennings, and R.C. Rawlinson. 2003b. (November 21). Mimulus gemmiparus W.A. Weber (Rocky Mountain monkeyflower): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/mimulusgemmiparus.pdf [March 2006].

  • Colorado Native Plant Society. 1989. Rare plants of Colorado. Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Colorado Native Plant Society, Estes Park, Colorado. 73 pp.

  • Colorado Natural Heritage Program and the Geospatial Centroid. 2017. The Colorado Ownership and Protection Map (COMaP). Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.
     

  • 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.

  • O'Kane, S. L. 1988. Colorado's Rare Flora. Great Basin Naturalist. 48(4):434-484.

  • Peterson, J.S. 1983 a. Status report for Lupinus crassus. Unpublished report prepared for the Colorado Natural Heritage, Ft. Collins, CO.

  • Peterson, J.S. 1983b. Status report of Mimulus gemmiparus. Unpublished report prepared for the Colorado Natural Areas Program Denver, CO by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Ft. Collins, CO.

  • 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. 

  • Ryke, N., D. Winters, L. McMartin and S. Vest. 1994. Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands. May 25, 1994.

  • 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.

  • Steingraeber, D.A. and M. Beardsley. 2005. Mimulus gemmiparus Populations: Current Status and Extended Search.

  • 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. 1972. Mimulus gemmiparus sp. Nov. from Colorado. Madrono Vol 21 (6):423-425.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2012a. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, a field guide to the vascular plants, fourth edition. University of Colorado Press. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.

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