Oreoxis humilis - Raf.
Pikes Peak Spring-parsley
Synonym(s): Cymopterus humilis (Raf.) Tidestr.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Oreoxis humilis Raf. (TSN 29783)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.138731
Element Code: PDAPI1H030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Carrot Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Apiales Apiaceae Oreoxis
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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: Oreoxis humilis
Taxonomic Comments: Ackerfield (2015) lists this species as Cymopterus humilis (Raf.) Tidestr. & Kittell. Harrington (1954) notes that this may not be distinct from O. alpina.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Sep2011
Global Status Last Changed: 23Oct1995
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Known only from Pikes Peak in El Paso and Teller counties, Colorado. There are a large number of individuals in a very small area. Road construction and recreational activities are the main threats to this alpine species.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1

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 (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to Colorado; known only from the Pike's Peak vicinity in El Paso and Teller counties. Estimated range is 48 square kilometers (18 square miles), calculated in 2008 by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences.

Area of Occupancy: 1-5 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The total occupied habitat is about 557 acres.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 3 principal occurrences documented in the Colorado Natural Heritage Program database. All of the occurrences have been observed fairly recently, at least within 20 years (as of 2006).

Population Size Comments: Total estimated sum of individuals from 3 occurrences is 4240. Botanists estimate the population at tens of thousands of individuals in a very small area (personal communication, Kim Fayette CNHP 1998).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: There are 3 occurrences with an A or B rank.

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Road erosion and construction are considered to be the primary threats to the species at this time (Rondeau et al. 2011). Oreoxis humilis is a species of concern because of its restricted geographic range, small number of documented occurrences, and possible vulnerability to human-related and environmental threats. Disturbances and land management activities may maintain suitable habitat for this species, or they may negatively impact existing occurrences, depending on the intensity, frequency, size, and type of disturbance and activity. Possible human-related threats to O. humilis include road erosion and construction, structure maintenance, and motorized and non-motorized recreational activities (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2004). Possible environmental and biological threats to occurrences of O. humilis include environmental fluctuations, herbivory, genetic isolation, inadequate pollination, global climate changes, and exotic species invasion (Beatty et al. 2004).

Pikes Peak is popular for recreation activities and trampling is a threat. The largest threat is the Pikes Peak Highway which is dirt, highly used and maintained. Erosion problems are destroying habitat and possibly individuals. The Pikes Peak Multi-Use Plan (Design Workshop, Inc. 1999) developed by USFS and Colorado Springs Utilities does not specifically mention O. humilis, but it does outline plans to pave the Pikes Peak Toll Road to reduce sedimentation and to minimize trail creation to reduce trampling impacts on fragile tundra communities (Beatty et al. 2004). Paving of the Pikes Peak Toll Road started in 2001 and continues as part of a 12-year project (Beatty et al. 2004). On a larger scale, global warming potentially threatens this and other alpine species.

From Steve Olson (USFS Pike San Isabel) 2012: Sediment movement along the Pikes Peak Highway had been a concern, but since the paving of the road is nearly completed, the threat is essentially gone. There is a continuing lesser threat from unregulated recreation, such as user created trails in the alpine on Pikes Peak (Beatty, et al., 2004).

One modeling study of the Pikes Peak area suggests that the long term viability of Oreoxis humilis will be at risk given transportation and mitigation plans in the area (Casper et al. 2009).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: There are no data on population trends for O. humilis; however, there is currently no evidence of drastic population declines (Beatty et al. 2004). Overall, O. humilis is considered to be fairly resistant to human disturbance because it is small-statured, heavy-rooted, and covered with snow most of the year (W. Weber pers. comm. as cited in Beatty et al. 2004).

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Occurs in high altitude, alpine fens.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to Colorado; known only from the Pike's Peak vicinity in El Paso and Teller counties. Estimated range is 48 square kilometers (18 square miles), calculated in 2008 by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in GIS 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
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO El Paso (08041), Teller (08119)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 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 basal leaves and an erect flowering stem, 2-12 cm tall, bearing a cluster of small yellow flowers in high summer.
General Description: Oreoxis humilis is a perennial herb from 2 to 15 cm (0.78 to 5.9 inches) tall, but most frequently under 5 cm (1.97 inches) tall. Leaves are basal, 0.5 to 4.5 cm (0.20 to 1.77 inches) long and 0.5 to 1.0 cm (0.20 to 0.39 inches) wide. These are once or twice pinnately compound, each segment 1 to 2 mm (0.04 to 0.08 inch) wide and up to 10 mm (0.39 inch) long. Peduncles are up to 1 cm (0.39 inch) long. Umbels have several rays, each 2 to 5 mm (0.08 to 0.20 inch) long. The yellow flowers are subtended by involucel bracts. Plants are minutely hairy in the inflorescence. Fruits are winged, and are 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 inch) long and 1.5 to 3 mm (0.06 to 0.12 inch) wide (Beatty et al. 2004, Ackerfield 2015).is a perennial herb from 2 to 15 cm (0.78 to 5.9 inches) tall, but most frequently under 5 cm (1.97 inches) tall. Leaves are 0.5 to 4.5 cm (0.20 to 1.77 inches) long and 0.5 to 1.0 cm (0.20 to 0.39 inches) wide. These are once or twice pinnately compound, each segment 1 to 2mm (0.04 to 0.08 inch) wide and up to 10mm (0.39 inch) long. Peduncles are up to 1cm (0.39 inch) long. Umbels have several rays, each 2 to 5 mm (0.08 to 0.20 inch) long. The yellow flowers are subtended by involucel bracts. Fruits are winged, and are 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 inch) long and 1.5 to 3 mm (0.06 to 0.12 inch) wide (Beatty, et al., 2004).
Diagnostic Characteristics: From Steve Olson (USFS Pike San Isabel) 2012: The best character for determining this species is its range. This is the only Oreoxis species that has been found on Pikes Peak and it has not been found elsewhere. The key distinction from other species is the glabrous fruit. It also tends to be slightly larger than other species (Beatty, et al., 2004).

Reproduction Comments: From Steve Olson (USFS Pike San Isabel) 2012:  Relatively little is known about the ecology of this plant.  Pollination is most likely to be accomplished by non-specific insects, possibly alpine ants (Beatty, et al., 2004).  Seed may be dispersed by water or wind.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine
Habitat Comments: This species occurs on tundra, fell fields, meadows, krumholtz, and open spruce-fir woodlands. It is known only from areas at or above timberline on rocks of Pikes Peak batholith (Pikes Peak granite and Windy Point granite). Plants have been found on slopes of up to 60 degrees, and on all aspects (Beatty, et al., 2004).  Associated species include: Kobresia myosuroides (Bellardi bog sedge), Pinus aristata (bristlecone pine), Polemonium viscosum (sticky polemonium), Saxifraga bronchialis (matted saxifrage), Paronychia pulvinata (Rocky Mountain nailwort), Mertensia alpina (alpine bluebells), Telesonix jamesii (James' telesonix), Cirsium scopulorum (mountain thistle), and Erigeron pinnatisectus (featherleaf fleabane).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Oreoxis humilis is an alpine species, occurring on Pikes Peak, Colorado. It is only known from this one peak in Colorado, and there are several management considerations that should be put into place to more fully protect the species: protect occurrences from direct sunlight, documenting and monitoring the effects of land-use activities and making sure that non-native plants do not take hold in its habitat (Beatty et al. 2004). In addition, road construction and other earth disturbing activities should be avoided to preserve the habitat of this endemic species. Recreation activities should not occur around this species and specifically, trails, and parking areas should be built in areas where the species will not be disturbed. Relocation of recreation activities that currently threaten the species should be considered high priority.
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: 1000 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 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. These include appropriate temperature regime, number of snowfree days per year, lack of significant erosion impact from trails and roads, and presence of a well-drained substrate. 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: 200 to 1000 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: 20 to 200 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 20 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. Occurrence may be impacted severely by erosion or trampling. 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: 23May2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: S. Spackman, rev. Spackman/Maybury (1996), rev. Spackman, S. and D. Anderson (2000), rev. G. Doyle (2006), rev. Neuhaus, K., J. Handwerk, and S. Spackman Panjabi (2006), rev. L. Oliver (2011)
Management Information Edition Date: 21Sep2011
Management Information Edition Author: Oliver, L.
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): rev. SSP (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
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  • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Draft. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.

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

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

  • Beatty, B.L., W.F. Jennings and R.C. Rawlinson. 2004. Oreoxis humilis Raf. (Rocky Mountain alpineparsley): A Technical Conservation Assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/oreoxishumilis.pdf [2006-01-05]

  • Casper, C., M. A. Landon, P. J. Crist, and D. Walker. 2009a. Integrating conservation and long-range transportation planning using a strategic assessment framework. Road Ecology Center, John Muir Institute of the Environment, UC Davis. Permalink: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5xg8z9gw [Accessed on Sept. 21, 2011].

  • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2005. The Second Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G1 Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.

  • Design Workshop, Inc. 1999. Pikes Peak Multi-Use Plan. Unpublished report prepared for Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs, CO and U.S. Forest Service, Pikes Peak Ranger District, Colorado Springs, CO.

  • 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. 

  • Rydberg, P.A. 1906. Flora of Colorado. Bull. 100, Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado. 488pp.

  • Tidestrom, I., and T. Kittell. 1941. A flora of Arizona and New Mexico. Catholic Univ. of America Press, Washington, D.C.

  • 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.

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