Mirabilis macfarlanei - Constance & Rollins
Macfarlane's Four-o'clock
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Mirabilis macfarlanei Constance & Rollins (TSN 19653)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148885
Element Code: PDNYC0A0U0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Four-O'clock Family
Image 10812

© Idaho Conservation Data Center

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Caryophyllales Nyctaginaceae Mirabilis
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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: Mirabilis macfarlanei
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Oct2012
Global Status Last Changed: 26Oct1995
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: A narrow endemic of the canyon slopes above the Snake, Salmon, and Imnaha Rivers in western Idaho and extreme northeastern Oregon. The species' global range is approximately 46 km by 28.5 km. Fewer than 20 occurrences are currently known, and these vary in population size from a few to over 1000 plants. Most sites are less than 4000 square meters in size. The majority of the populations face few or no direct serious threats. However, canyon grassland communities at most sites have been degraded by past management, land use, and invasive species. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (2009) states that major threats are indirect effects of domestic livestock grazing and invasion of exotic plants with the subsequent increase in wildfires. Minor threats include human trampling, off-road vehicle use, construction, pest damage, maintenance of roads and trails, and roadside herbicidal treatments.
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 Idaho (S2), Oregon (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (15Mar1996)
Comments on USESA: Mirabilis macfarlanei was proposed endangered on June 16, 1976. On October 26, 1979, Mirabilis macfarlanei was listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act.

A Recovery Plan was approved and signed by the USFWS in 1985 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1985). The Recovery Plan called for (1) additional systematic field surveys, (2) the protection of sites and development of habitat management plans, (3) establishment of baseline studies, identifying limiting factors, and determining threats, (4) establishment of new colonies, and (5) establishment of propagule banks.

Twelve years of recovery efforts led the USFWS to reclassify M. macfarlanei as Threatened in 1996. The discovery of additional populations on public lands, improved livestock grazing management on public and private lands, and the stable condition of known populations contributed to the USFWS's determination that the species' status had substantially improved. Three populations in the Hells Canyon area monitored between 1990 and 1995 appear stable (Kaye 1995). Seedling recruitment appears spordic and of limited success. Instead, vegetative spread is probably a more significant form of population maintenance and growth. Permanent monitoring plots at seven Idaho and two Oregon occurrences are designed to provide trend and other information that will be needed to gauge the long-term conservation of M. macfarlanei.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R1 - Pacific

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Mirabilis macfarlanei is a narrow endemic, occurring in portions of the Snake, Salmon, and Imnaha river canyons in Wallowa County in northeastern Oregon, and adjacent Idaho County in Idaho. The species global range is approximately 28.5 miles (46 km) by 17.5 miles (28.5 km).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 13 documented occurrences for Mirabilis macfarlanei: 3 in Oregon and 9 in Idaho (USFWS 2009b).

Population Size Comments: Populations in Oregon contain an estimated 3500 ramets and cover about 90 acres (Kaye 1992). An estimated 3000-4000 ramets occur in Idaho. Two Idaho populations contain more than 1000 plants, while eight have fewer than 100. Most sites are less than an acre in size, ranging from a few square meters to 7+ acres.

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Most populations of Mirabilis macfarlanei face few or no serious direct threats. Minor threats include human trampling, off-road vehicle use, construction, pest damage, maintenance of roads and trails, and roadside herbicidal treatments. Spittlebug nymphs (Aphrophora spp. and Philaenus spp.) can cause shoot death and floral abortion, lepidopteran larvae of families Arctiidae, Heliodinidae, and Sphingidae are known to feed on the leaves, and heliodinid moth (Lithariapteryx sp.) larvae mine leaves and are apparently host specific to M. macfarlanei (Baker 1985). These pests are damaging at times but not a serious threat. The most serious threats are the consequences of livestock grazing (habitat degradation) and the invasion of exotic plants with the subsequent increase in wildfires (USFWS 2009b).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Population size has remained stable on BLM lands in Idaho and FS lands in Oregon since 1981(USFWS 2009b).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: This species has low genetic variability, which may result from small, fragmented populations, the frequency of self pollination, low seed viability, and the rhizomatous growth form of the plant.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Mirabilis macfarlanei is a narrow endemic, occurring in portions of the Snake, Salmon, and Imnaha river canyons in Wallowa County in northeastern Oregon, and adjacent Idaho County in Idaho. The species global range is approximately 28.5 miles (46 km) by 17.5 miles (28.5 km).

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 ID, OR

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Idaho (16049)
OR Wallowa (41063)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Hells Canyon (17060101)+, Imnaha (17060102)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb with opposite, semi-succulent leaves and with freely branched stems that form a hemispherical clump, 6-12 dm in diameter. Flowers (May to early June) are striking - large and bright magenta in color. Mirabilis in the United States is primarily a southwestern genus; this northern species is possibly relict of a period of regionally warmer climate that allowed members of genus to spread northward. As the climate cooled, M. macfarlanei or its predecessor may have became restricted to the relatively mild climate within the canyonland corridor.
General Description: Mirabilis macfarlanei is a perennial forb with a stout, deep-seated taproot, and freely branched, decumbent or ascending stems forming small to large clumps. Leaves are opposite, somewhat succulent, green above, and glaucescent below. The lower leaves are orbicular or ovate-deltoid in shape, becoming progressively smaller towards the tip of the stem. The inflorescencese is comprised of a cluster of 4-7 flowers subtended by an involucre. The striking, 5-merous, brigh magenta-colored flowers are up to 25 mm long and 25 mm wide. They are funnel-form shaped with a widely expanding limb and exserted stamens.
Technical Description: Stout perennial from a deep-seated root, forming large clumps as much as 10 dm tall, the branches several, decumbent or ascending, purberulent at least above; leaves opposite, rather fleshy, the blade ovate to nearly ovate-rotund, mostly (3) 4-7 cm long, often truncate or slightly cordate at the base, the petiole mostly (2) 5-20 (30) mm long; flower clusters in the upper axils as well as terminal on stalks mostly about 1 cm long; involucres 4- to 7-flowered, greenish to purplish, broadly campanulate to semirotate, mostly 15-25 mm long, with broadly obtuse to slighly acute lobes about 1/3-1/2 as long as the tube; perianth bright rose-purple, broadly funnelform, 15-25 mm long, stamens 5, exserted, basally expanded and slightly connate for about 0.5 mm; fruit ellipsoid, 6-9 mm long, grayish, glabrous, lightly 10-ribbed and rugose-turberculate at least on the ribs (Hitchcock et al. 1964).
Diagnostic Characteristics: The clusters of showy, bright magenta flowers help readily identify this species. The often spreading stems, and nearly round and somewhat succulent opposite leaves are other good field characteristics.
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Mirabilis macfarlanei reproduces by seed, as demonstrated by the presence of seedlings with cotyledons and the documented survival of some of these seedlings in population monitoring studies (Kaye 1992). Vegetative reproduction by off-shoots beneath the soil surface also occurs. M. macfarlanei is primarily an outcrosser, but is able to produce a small proportion of one-seeded fruits through autogamy (self-pollination). Inflorescences bagged to exclude pollinators produced fewer fruits than open-pollinated inflorescences. Seed dispersal has not been studied, but apparently seeds fall to the ground and are transported by gravity and rain (Kaye 1992). Seed viability is low.
Known Pests: Spittlebug nymphs (Aphrophora sp. and Philaenus sp.) can cause shoot death and floral abortion; lepidopteran larvae of families Arctiidae, Heliodinidae, and Sphingidae are known to feed on the leaves; and heliodinid moth (Lithariapteryx sp.) larvae mine leaves and are apparently host specific to M. macfarlanei (Baker 1985).
Ecology Comments: Mirabilis macfarlanei is a taprooted perennial that reproduces by seed, but also colonizes via long spreading rhizomes. Individual plants tend to produce a few to several hundred stems in clusters ranging up to about nine square meters in size (Callihan 1988). The species has been able to persist in areas historically grazed by livestock since the 1870's, and presently in poor ecological condition. Preliminary data suggests grazing may have a negative effect on plant height, but additional research is needed (Kaye 1995). The most serious consequences of livestock grazing are likely indirect, most notably habitat degradation. At one site in Idaho, the number of M. macfarlanei plants appears to be stable several years after a range fire. An increase in Bromus tectorum, however, suggests that habitat degradation is an ongoing problem. The underground stems of M. macfarlanei would survive most natural fires, especially since they would likely occur later in the summer, when the plant is dormant. Genetic studies (Barnes 1994; 1995; Wolf et al. 1994) have shown that measures of genetic diversity in M. macfarlanei were lower than for plants with a similar life history. The greatest level of gene flow occurred between populations that were 0.5 km apart. Levels of gene flow decreased as distances between populations increased.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: SUMMARY: Gentle to very steep, open river canyon slopes. Aspects vary, but are usually southeast to west. Soils are often sandy and underlain by talus. Associated plants include bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum), cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), and scorpion weed (Phacelia heterophylla). END SUMMARY. Mirabilis macfarlanei occurs in river canyon habitats characterized by regionally warm and dry conditions. Precipitation occurs mostly as rain during the winter and spring. Sites are dry and open, or with scattered shrubs. Plants can be found on all aspects, but most often on southeast to western exposures. Slopes are often steep, but range to nearly flat. Plants can occur along any slope position. Soils vary from sandy to rocky. Talus rock often underlies the soil substrate and several sites are relatively unstable and prone to erosion. The associated vegetation is usually in early to mid-seral condition, and the grasslands are typically grazing modified versions of Agropyron spicatum communities. Sporobolus cryptandrus, Aristida longiseta, and Poa secunda are other common native bunchgrass associates. Other commonly associated species include Bromus tectorum, Bromus mollis, Alyssum alyssoides, Hypericum perforatum, Phacelia heterophylla, Achillea millefolium, Oenothera ceaspitosa, Astragalus inflexus, Rhus glabra, Chrysothamnus nauseosus, and Celtis reticulata. In a habitat analysis study conducted at a site in Oregon, the vegetation associated with a population of M. macfarlanei appeared to be influenced by aspect, soil development and topographic position, at least on a local scale (Kaye 1992). Nearby sites without M. macfarlanei had a higher number of weedy annual species, and more gentle slopes with deeper, more stable soils.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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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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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: 04Oct2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Roth, E., rev. E. Joyal, rev. A. Treher (2012)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15May1996
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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  • Baker, C. 1985. Insects associated with Mirabilis macfarlanei (Nyctaginaceae) with emphasis on the life cycle of Lithariepteryx n. sp. (Lepidoptera: Heliodinae). Proceedings - Washington State Entomological Society April/September 1985. 47: 756. Abstract.

  • Barnes, J. L., V. Tepedino, and P. Wolf. 1993. Population genetics, breeding systems, and pollinators of MacFarlane's Four O'Clock. Proposal summary submitted to Dennis Mackey for USFWS permit. Utah State University, Logan, UT.

  • Barnes, J. L., and P. G. Wolf. 1994. Genetic diversity and gene flow in Mirabilis macfarlanei. Northwest Science 68(2): 114. Abstract.

  • Barnes, J.L., P.G. Wolf, and V.J. Tepedino. 1995. Genetic diversity, gene flow and clonal structure of the Salmon River populations of Macfarlane's four o'clock. Cooperative Challenge Cost-share Project, Utah State University and Upper Columbia - Salmon Clearwater Districts BLM, Cottonwood Resource Area.

  • Brooks, P.J., K. Urban, E. Yates, and C.G. Johnson Jr. 1991. Sensitive plants of the Malheur, Ochoco, Umatilla, and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region.

  • Callihan, R. H. 1988. Research and development proposal to the W. Alton Jones Foundation for repopulating MacFarlane's Four-o'clock. University of Idaho, Department of Plant, Soil, and Entomological Sciences.

  • Constance, L., and R. Rollins. 1936. New or otherwise noteworthy northwestern plants - II: two new species from the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 49: 147-150.

  • Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; availability of draft revised recovery plan for MacFarlane's four o'clock (Mirabilis macfarlanei) for review and comment. Federal Register 64(64):16478-16479.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2003b. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 4, Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, part 1. Oxford University Press, New York. 559 pp.

  • Heidel, B. 1979. Endangered and threatened plants in the Northern Idaho BLM District. Unpublished report. 100 pp.

  • Hitchcock, C.L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson. 1964. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae, by C.L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist. Univ. Washington Press, Seattle. 597 pp.

  • Johnson, C. 1988. Proposed experimental Macfarlane's Four-O'Clock (Mirabilis macfarlanei) planting. Unpublished study plan. 3 pp.

  • Johnson, C. A. 1983. Helicopter survey of the lower Salmon River Canyon for Macfarlane's four o'clock (Mirabilis macfarlanei). Prepared for U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Coeur d' Alene District, Cottonwood, ID. not paged.

  • Johnson, C.A. [n.d.]. An endangered plant's (Mirabilis macfarlanei) response to cattle grazing and protection from grazing, and other ecological effects. Unpublished report on file at Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Conservation Data Center, Boise, Idaho.

  • 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.

  • Kaye, T. N. 1995. Evaluation of population monitoring for Mirabilis macfarlanei, 1990-1995. Cooperative Challenge Cost Share Project between Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and Oregon Department of Agriculture, Plant Conservation Biology Program. 11 pp.

  • Kaye, T.N. 1992. Status report update for MIRABILIS MACFARLANEI. Oregon Dept. of Agricuture (for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). 40 pp + Appendices.

  • Mancuso, M., and R. K. Moseley. 1991. Summary of 1991 surveys for threatened, endangered and sensitive plants in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. 13 pp. plus appendices.

  • Meinke, R.J. 1982. Threatened and Endangered Vascular Plants of Oregon: An Illustrated Guide. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, Portland, Oregon. 326 pp.

  • Moseley, R. K. 1993a. Inventory for Macfarlane's Four-o-clock (Mirabilis macfarlanei) in the Lower Salmon River Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Coeur d'Alene District, BLM. Cooperative Challenge Cost Share Project, Coeur d'Alene District BLM and Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 2 pp. plus maps.

  • Moseley, R. K., and S. Bernatas. 1991. A floristic and vegetation survey of Lucile Caves Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Coeur d'Alene District, BLM. Technical Bulletin 91-3. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office, Boise Idaho. 31 pp. plus appendices.

  • Oakley, G. 1988. The Mirabilis and the moth. Boise State University Focus XIII(4): 28-29.

  • Parenti, R. 1993. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; Proposed reclassification of Mirabilis macfarlanei (MacFarlane's four-o'clock) from endangered to threatened status. Federal Register 58(164): 45085-45091.

  • Pilz, G. E. 1978. Systematics of Mirabilis subgenus Quamoclidion (Nyctaginaceae). Madrono 25(3): 113-132.

  • Siddal, J. L. 1978. Status report for Mirabilis macfarlanei. Not paged.

  • Steele, B., F. Johnson, and S. Brunsfield, eds. 1981. Vascular plant species of concern in Idaho. Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, Moscow, ID. 161 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Endangered Species Program. 1979. Service lists 32 plants. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin 4(11): 1-8.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1985. Recovery plan for the Macfarlane's Four-o'clock, Mirabilis macfarlanei. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon. 47 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2009b. MacFarlane's Four-o'clock (Mirabilis macfarlanei) 5-Year review Summary and Evaluation. USFWS, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, Boise, Idaho. 26 pp.

  • Wolf. P. G., J. Barnes, and V. J. Tepedino. 1994. Population genetics of the Salmon River populations of MacFarlane's Four O'clock, Mirabilis macfarlanei. Proposal for research submitted to Challenge Cost Share Program, USDI Bureau of Land Management, Coeur d'Alene District. Utah State University, Logan. 8 pp.

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