Packera castoreus - (Welsh) Kartesz
Beaver Mountain Groundsel
Synonym(s): Senecio castoreus Welsh
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Packera castoreus (S.L. Welsh) Kartesz (TSN 565348)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.133698
Element Code: PDAST8H0P0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Packera
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: 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.
Concept Reference Code: B99KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Packera castoreus
Taxonomic Comments: Newly described as Senecio castoreus in 1993 (Welsh 1993). Kartesz (1999) recognizes but places in the genus Packera. The legitimacy of this taxon has been questioned by some field botanists, as the lack of ray flowers is apparently the only diagonostic feature separating it from other Senecio in the field.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Nov2017
Global Status Last Changed: 20Apr1995
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to high elevations of the Tushar Mountains of Piute and Beaver Counties, central Utah. Approximately 7-10 occurrences are known, and approximately 2350 individuals have been documented. Further survey efforts may discover some additional sites within the Tushars, but it is unlikely that the species occurs beyond this mountain range. Occurrences are predominantly within the Fishlake National Forest and managed by the U.S. Forest Service; at least one is within a Research Natural Area and others may soon be within designated wilderness. Some plants have been documented on private lands in the vicinity. When last reviewed in 2009, threats weren't known, and the species was presumed to be secure given that it is difficult to access at the high elevations it inhabits, however, in 2017 the threat level had increased significantly within the Fishlake National Forest and the Tushar Mountains given the growth of the mountain goat populations.
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 Utah (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to high elevations of the Tushar Mountains in the Southern Utah High Plateaus of Piute and Beaver Counties, central Utah; known from at least Mount Belknap and Gold Mountain.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Surveys in the Fishlake National Forest in 2000 and 2001 detected this species (although their primary target was Draba sobolifera); 10 S. castoreus sites were located, with "site" defined as plants separated by > 0.25 miles (0.4 km) (D. Tait, pers. comm. 2009). Subsequently, additional S. castoreus plants were documented on private lands in the vicinity; it is not known for certain whether these plants were tallied as part of the 2000-2001 sites, but they are probably additional (D. Tait, pers. comm. 2009). Rodriguez (2006) reports that the species is known from 7 occurrences within 9-quarter sections on the Beaver Ranger District of the Fishlake National Forest. A number of mountains in the Tushar range have not yet been combed for this species, so it is possible that additional sites will be documented in the future with further survey efforts; however, the species is unlikely to be documented beyond the Tushars, as other relatively nearby mountain ranges are very different in character and appear to lack suitable habitat (D. Tait pers. comm. 2009).

Population Size Comments: In the Fishlake National Forest, surveys in 2000 counted 844 plants and surveys in 2001 estimated approximately 1500 plants (D. Tait pers. comm. 2009). Plants likely additional to this total were subsequently found on private lands in the vicinity (D. Tait pers. comm. 2009).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: In 2009 there were no known threats to this species within the Fishlake National Forest (D. Tait, pers. comm. 2009), however, as of 2017 the threat level has increased significantly due to the introduction increase in the number of mountain goats in the Tushar Mountains (Alexander 2016). This species occurs in high alpine, difficult-to-access areas, and previously Rocky Mountain goats were not considered a threat because S. castoreus plants are small, of low palatability, and occur in very rocky, sparsely vegetated areas not preferred by the goats (D. Tait, pers. comm. 2009).  After review in 2016, the increased goat populations raised concerns and Alexander (2016) recommends that this species be monitored for detrimental impacts.  While goats may not prefer to eat this species, trampling and soil/rock disturbance could damage plants.  In the past, ORV use was a potential threat to this species; however, the Travel Management Plan now in place for the Fishlake National Forest prohibits cross-country travel (D. Tait pers. comm. 2009). Trampling by hikers does not appear to be a threat; in general, plants are not located close to trails, and the steep relief of the substrates on which it grows discourages exploration (D. Tait pers. comm. 2009). No noticeable climate change impacts have yet been observed at these elevations, although some changes have been noted at lower elevations in this region (D Tait, pers. comm. 2009). Some plants occur on private lands and it is possible that they may face threats that are difficult for National Forest land managers to document or mitigate (D. Tait, pers. comm. 2009).

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Trends are very difficult to estimate, as there have not been repeat survey efforts at different timepoints as yet (D. Tait pers. comm. 2009).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to high elevations of the Tushar Mountains in the Southern Utah High Plateaus of Piute and Beaver Counties, central Utah; known from at least Mount Belknap and Gold Mountain.

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 UT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
UT Beaver (49001), Piute (49031)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
16 Middle Sevier (16030003)+, Beaver Bottoms-Upper Beaver (16030007)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb, 7-16 cm tall, with woolly stems and leaves. Leaves are oval, with somewhat toothy margins. Flower heads have yellow disc flowers only (no ray flowers), subtended by bracts that are partially to entirely purple. Flowering occurs late July to late September.
General Description: A perennial herb 7-16 cm tall, erect or ascending. The leaf blades are 1-1.5 cm long and 5-10 mm wide. Herbage is woolly-tomentose; basal leaves are petiolate (stalked) and are usually the largest in size. The upper leaves are smaller and clasping. Plants have 1-5 flower heads with yellow disc flowers only (no ray flowers). Heads are subtended by a cluster of lance-shaped main bracts which are suffused with purple throughout or only at the tips or bases; outer bracts are very short. Fruit is a glabrous (smooth) achene (Rodriguez 2006).
Technical Description: From Welsh et al. (2008): "Perennial herbs, typically with a subterranean caudex, sometimes somewhat soboliferous; plants 7-16 cm tall, erect or ascending; herbage more or less woolly- or arachnoid tomentose; basal leaves petiolate, the blades 1-1.5 cm long, 5-10 mm wide, oval to oblanceolate or oblong to suborbicular, entire or denticulate apically, obtuse to rounded apically; main lower cauline leaves the largest, with oval to obovate or oblanceolate blades 1.2-3.2 cm long, these entire, somewhat toothed or rarely pinnatifid, the upper ones often clasping, finally bracteate; heads mainly 1-5, subumbellately corymbose; involucres 6-9 mm long, 7-13 mm wide when pressed; main bracts 13-10, lance-attenuate, suffused with purple throughout or only at the tips or bases, typically somewhat tomentose; outer bracts very short; rays lacking; achenes glabrous."
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from S. werneriifolius in its lack of ray flowers and in its broadly oblanceolate to suborbicular leaves (Utah Native Plant Society 2008, Welsh et al. 2008). Also differs from S. canus in its lack of ray flowers; in addition, S. castoreus has larger (on average) involucres and shorter basal leaves than S. canus (Welsh 1993). Other diagnostic features for S. castoreus include its entire or toothed leaves and woolly-tomentose herbage (Utah Native Plant Society 2008).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest/Woodland, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Often on windswept ridges, talus/scree slopes, and gravelly barrens above timberline, in sparsely vegetated alpine tundra communities of Polemonium viscosum, Trisetum, Festuca, and/or Arenaria; less commonly downward to the spruce-fir community. Substrate is thermally modified Tertiary igneous outcrops and gravel (hydrothermally altered intercaldera siliceous alkali rhyolite lava flows, lava domes, and ash-flow tuffs of the Mount Belknap Volcanics); these rocks are resistant to weathering, creating steep talus slopes and cliffs with limited soil development. Co-occurring species include Draba sobolifera and Draba ramulosa. 3300-3900 m.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Monitoring populations is recommended by Alexander (2016) due to increased Rocky Mountain goat populations.  Previously, mountain goats weren't considered a threat, however, given repeated introductions and population growth, there are concerns that the goats will cause damage by trampling or other mechanical damage (i.e. soil and rock disturbance from above could smother plants).  The Travel Management Plan in place for the Fishlake National Forest prohibits cross-country travel and is believed to benefit this species by eliminating ORV use in its habitat.  Actions to ensure and monitor compliance with this Plan could therefore be of benefit. Also, because this species is restricted to the high alpine, monitoring for climate change impacts could be helpful.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A natural occurrence of one or more plants.
Separation Barriers: EOs are separated by either: 1 kilometer or more across unsuitable habitat or altered and unsuitable areas; or 2 kilometers or more across apparently suitable habitat not known to be occupied.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation 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 occurrences will eventually be found to be more closely connected. No information on mobility of pollen and propagules is available on which to base the separation distance for this species.
Date: 29May2002
Author: Ben Franklin
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: SIZE: There are no quantitative data available for this species. 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.This includes the presence of the appropriate edaphic requirements of this species, i.e., igneous outcrops and gravels at upper elevations. It is endemic to the Tushar Mountains.
Good Viability: SIZE: There are no quantitative data available for this species. CONDITION: There are no quantitative data available for this species. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: 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.
Fair Viability: SIZE: The surrounding landscape should contain the ecological processes needed to sustain the occurrence but may be fragmented and/or impacted by humans. CONDITION: There are no quantitative data available for this species. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: 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).
Poor Viability: SIZE: There may be significant human disturbance, but the ecological processes needed to sustain the species are still intact. CONDITION: There are no quantitative data available for this species. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: 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.
Justification: SIZE: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. 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. CONDITION: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. 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. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. 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: 21Nov2017
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: B. Franklin (1995), rev. B. Franklin/K. Maybury (1996), rev. K. Gravuer (2009), rev. L. Oliver
Management Information Edition Date: 22Sep2009
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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  • Alexander, J. 2016. The Utah Native Plant Society Rare Plant List:  Version 2. Calochortiana. 3: 1-248.

  • Clark, D. J., and D. A. Tait. 2007. Interagency rare plant team inventory results - 1998 through 2003. In: Barlow-Irick, P., J. Anderson, and C. McDonald, tech eds. Southwestern rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of the fourth conference; March 22-26, 2004; Las Cruces, New Mexico. Proceedings. RMRS-P-48CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 32-38. [http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_p048/rmrs_p048_032_038.pdf]

  • Cronquist, A., A. H. Holmgren, N. H. Holmgren, J. L. Reveal, and P. K. Holmgren. 1994. Intermountain flora: Vasculr plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A., Volume 5. Published for The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006b. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 20. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 7: Asteraceae, part 2. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxii + 666 pp.

  • 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.

  • Rodriguez, R. L., compiler. 2006. Life History and Analysis of Endangered, Threatened, Candidate, Sensitive, and Management Indicator Species of the Fishlake National Forest. Version 4.1 July 2006.[www.fs.fed.us/r4/fishlake/publications/Life_History/v4-1/full_doc.pdf]

  • Taye, A. C. 1995. Alpine vascular flora of the Tushar Mountains, Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 55(3): 225-236.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2009. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Partial 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List 206 Species in the Midwest and Western United States as Threatened or Endangered With Critical Habitat. Federal Register 74(23): 6122-6128. 5 February 2009.

  • Utah Native Plant Society. 2003-2008. Utah Rare Plant Guide. Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Rare Plant Guide Home Page. Online. Available: http://www.utahrareplants.org (accessed 2009).

  • Welsh, S. L. 1993 [1994]. New taxa and new nomenclatural combinations in the Utah flora. Rhodora 95(883/884): 392-421.

  • Welsh, S. L., N. D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L. C. Higgins [eds]. 1993. A Utah Flora (2nd ed., revised). Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 986 pp.

  • Welsh, S.L. 1993. New taxa and new nomenclatural combinations in the Utah flora. Rhodora 95(883/884):392-421.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2008. A Utah Flora. 4th edition, revised. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 1019 pp.

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