Penstemon gibbensii - Dorn
Gibbens' Beardtongue
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Penstemon gibbensii Dorn (TSN 504212)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.154955
Element Code: PDSCR1L6U0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Figwort Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Scrophulariaceae Penstemon
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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: Penstemon gibbensii
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 19Feb2009
Global Status Last Changed: 12Apr2007
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Known only from southcentral Wyoming, northwestern Colorado, and adjacent northeastern Utah. This endemic species is restricted to a particular soil type and is intrinsically rare. Its numbers have declined sharply at two monitoring sites, and it is threatened by trampling and weed encroachment associated with off-road vehicles and grazing, as well as by habitat loss related to oil and gas development.
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), Utah (S1), Wyoming (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: South-central Wyoming, northwestern Colorado and adjacent northeastern Utah.

Area of Occupancy: 1-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy exceeds 105 mi² (67,000 acres) in the Washakie Basin, WY, but there are only about 300 acres of occupied habitat (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2003, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database 2009).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from nine extant occurrences, including six from Wyoming and two from Colorado, and one in adjacent Utah (Dorn 1989, Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2003, Utah Natural Heritage Program 2003, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database 2008). Five of the nine occurrences are less than 5 miles from another occurrence, but might be tallied separately.

Population Size Comments: Estimated 6000-9000 plants in Wyoming (Heidel 2009), up to 5000 plants in Colorado (Spackman and Anderson 1999), and unknown numbers in Utah.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few to few (1-12)

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Summer grazing by livestock and large native ungulates was cited as the primary threat to Penstemon gibbensii, though forage production is low and some settings are steep. Grazing exclosure studies at the Cherokee Basin site have documented an initial increase in P. gibbensii numbers since grazing has been removed. Oil and gas exploration and development may pose a serious threat, particularly where P. gibbensii occurs on flatter terrain, including affects of seismic exploration and road development. Exotic species encroachment and trampling by OHV and humans are also threats, particularly in Colorado (Fertig and Neighbours 1996, Spackman and Anderson 1999, Heidel 2009).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <70% to Relatively Stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Severe and moderate drought-related declines were documented at two monitored occurrences and inferred one other occurrence comparing field survey data over time (Fertig and Neighbours 1996, Warren 1992, Heidel 2009). It was previously reported as stable or increasing (Fertig and Neighbours 1996, Warren 1992). Trends are unknown in Colorado and Utah.

Long-term Trend: Unknown
Long-term Trend Comments: Unknown. There is insufficient data to characterize long-term trends.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Plants outside the exclosure at Cherokee Basin site (Wyoming) were heavily browsed by livestock and wildlife. The population showed initial increase within the exclosure (1985-1991). The species declined sharply inside and outside the exclosure by at least a magnitude under drought (2001-2007). Monitoring at Flat Top (Wyoming) likewise showed declines but less severe (1995-2008; Heidel 2009).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: South-central Wyoming, northwestern Colorado and adjacent northeastern Utah.

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, UT, WY

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Moffat (08081)
UT Daggett (49009)
WY Carbon (56007), Sweetwater (56037)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Upper North Platte (10180002)+
14 Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+, Little Snake (14050003)+, Muddy (14050004)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb, 1-2 dm tall. Leaves are linear to oblong (less than 5 mm wide) and arranged opposite each other on the stem. Blue, sticky-hairy, funnel-shaped flowers bloom near the tops of the stems in summer.
General Description: Perennial plants 10-20 cm tall, with pubescent stems.  Stem leaves are narrow (5 mm wide) and are often folded.  Basal leaves tend to be narrow and deciduous.  Flowers are blue-purple, and glandular hairy.  Anther sacs are villous on side opposite dehiscence.  Staminode is sparsely white-bearded, usually just at the tip (Ackerfield 2012, Spackman et al. 1997, Fertig and Neighbours 1996, Dorn 1990).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Barrens, Desert, Forest/Woodland, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Yellowish (selenium-rich) sparsely vegetated shale or sandy-clay, 20-30 degree slopes at 1675-2350 m elevation. Indicator species are reportedly Stanleya pinnata and Astragalus grayi (Whisky Basin Consultants, 1981).
Sparsely vegetated shale or sandy-clay slopes of the Browns Park Formation. Surrounding vegetation is pinyon-juniper woodland, sagebrush or greasewood-saltbush. 5500-7700 (Spackman et al. 1999)

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: A natural occurrence of one or more plants.
Separation Barriers: Unsuitable habitat or altered areas; or markedly distinct features on the landscape such as ridges, rivers, or roads.
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: 04Sep2003
Author: Jill Handwerk
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: 1500 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. This includes the presence of the appropriate, very specific edaphic requirements of this species, i.e., barren shale or sandstone slopes of the Browns Park Formation or the Laney member of the Green River Formation.

Good Viability: Size: 500 to 1499 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: 50 to 499 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 moderate human disturbance, but the ecological processes needed to sustain the species are still intact.

Poor Viability: Size: Less than 50 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.

Justification: Large populations in high quality sites ("A", "B" or "C" ranked EOs) 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. "D" ranked occurrences have a low probability of long-term persistence due to inbreeding depression, natural stochastic events, and their intrinsic vulnerability to human impacts.
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: 19Feb2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jill Handwerk 2003; B. Heidel 2009
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): rev. SSP (2014)

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.


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

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  • Dorn, R.D. 1989. Report on the status of Penstemon gibbensii, a candidate Threatened species. Unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 23 pp.

  • Dorn, R.D. 1990. Report on the status of Penstemon gibbensii, a candidate threatened species. Unpublished.

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  • Fertig, W., and M. Neighbours. 1996. Status report on Penstemon gibbensii in south-central Wyoming. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY. 24 pp.

  • Heidel, B. 2009. Survey and monitoring of Penstemon gibbensii (Gibbens' beardtongue) in south-central Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the Bureau of Land Management Rawlins Field Office by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • 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.

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  • Spackman, S. and D. Anderson. 1999. Field Survey and Protection Recommendations for the Globally Imperiled Gibben's Beardtongue, Penstemon gibbensii Dorn in Colorado. Unpublished report for the Colorado Natural Areas Program. 36pp.

  • Spackman, S. and D. Anderson. 1999. Field survey and protection recommendations for the globally Imperiled Gibben's beardtongue, Penstemon gibbensii Dorn in Colorado. Unpublished report prepared for the Colorado Natural Areas Program by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. (Web authors: Johnson, C.S. and M. Barry). 1999. 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. Online. Available: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/rareplants/cover.html (Accessed 2005)

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