Rorippa subumbellata - Rollins
Tahoe Yellowcress
Other English Common Names: Tahoe Yellow Cress
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rorippa subumbellata Rollins (TSN 23016)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.153949
Element Code: PDBRA270M0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
Image 12178

© James D. Morefield

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Rorippa
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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: Rorippa subumbellata
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 26May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 23May2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Tahoe yellow-cress is known from approximately 44-63 occurrences. There are many historical occurrences. The species occupies a very narrow habitat band within the shore zone of Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada. The habitat experiences heavy recreational use at most sites, and is regularly subject to major contractions caused by maintenance of artificially high water levels in Lake Tahoe, with resulting further concentration of beach impacts in the habitat remaining exposed. Only the two largest occurrences (and about 20-35% of the total sub-EOs) remain active during prolonged periods of high water. Portions of the lakeside habitat have been developed for casinos (on the Nevada side of the lake) and for other tourism-related facilities, and many other portions are in heavily visited parklands.
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 California (S1), Nevada (S1)

Other Statuses

Comments on USESA: Removed from Candidate status in the October 8, 2015 Federal Register.  "We find that listing Tahoe yellow cress as a threatened species or as an endangered species throughout all of or a significant portion of its range is not warranted at this time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status." (USFWS 2015)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Restricted to the shore zone of Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, which surrounds about 500-sq km of water area.

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupied habitat has not yet been systematically determined, but is estimated to be less than 4 square km during low water years, and is highly variable depending on lake levels. Using a 4-sq km grid, area of occupancy is approximately 45 cells (EO data in the NatureServe central database as of July 2011).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from approximately sixty-two occurrences but the number maybe less depending on separation distance or year, as plants are dependent on water levels.

Population Size Comments: Population sizes fluctuate greatly with changing water levels and beach uses. In 2003, a near-optimum year for the species, with low lake levels, a total of 25,200 above-ground stems were observed in September, with over half (13,660) of these found in a single sub-EO (USFWS 2010). This total was nearly twice the total previously observed site maxima, perhaps due to the intensive nature of, and low lake levels during, the 2003 survey. On the other hand, only 4590 stems were observed during high lake levels in 2000. Note that numbers of stems, while most convenient to count, probably reflect considerably fewer physical individuals (due to vegetative spread), and even fewer genetic individuals, given the low genetic variation detected both within and among sub-EOs (DeWoody and Hipkins 2004; NFGEL 2000).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Based on the viability analysis of Pavlik et al. (2002), only the largest occurrence, covering the southern and southeastern shore zone of Lake Tahoe, is considered to have good or excellent viability. Note, however, that individuals can persist as underground rootstocks for 6 years, even when inundated (Pavlik et al. 2002).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The greatest threat to the species is recreational activities on public beaches and adjacent habitats. Other threats include artificially prolonged high-water levels, and shorezone development and maintenance activities on private lands (Morefield 2001; USFWS 2010). This species is legally protected and closely monitored in both Nevada and California, but subject to intense impacts in this high-tourism area, especially from beach use and maintenance, shore-zone development, and artificially prolonged high-water levels in Lake Tahoe which further contract and concentrate impacts on beach areas remaining exposed. Some occurrences have been fenced or otherwise protected from beach use, but long-term effectiveness depends on adequate resources for maintenance. Water levels in Lake Tahoe have peaked at or near maximum over half of the past 55 years. The species recolonizes remaining suitable habitat fairly readily when lake levels drop, if impacts have not been too severe.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Short-term Trend Comments: Beach impacts continue to increase in the short term, but it is difficult to distinguish that trend from population swings resulting from changing water levels.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: The earliest collection of this species was in 1891. Although documentation is lacking prior to 1941, it is reasonable to expect that artificially high water levels (controlled since 1871 by a dam at the lake's outlet) and tremendously increased beach use during the past century have caused a moderate reduction in the natural population of Rorippa subumbellata. A few portions of the lakeshore that once had plants of the species now lack them.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Viability of seeds is close to 100% with thousands of seeds produced each year (Pavlik, 2002). The species colonizes suitable habitat fairly readily when re-exposed. These traits are tempered by the low genetic variability observed within and among sub-EOs. (DeWoody and Hipkins 2004; NFGEL 2000)

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Occupies a narrow 3m-wide elevation band on the shores of Lake Tahoe, where it apparently requires an interaction of soil moisture, low competition from other plant species and coarse sandy soil texture. This habitat is nearly eliminated during periods when high lake levels are maintained, but in drought years, when lake levels drop up to six feet, this shoreline habitat is substantial (USFWS 2010).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Restricted to the shore zone of Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada, which surrounds about 500-sq km of water area.

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 CA, NV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA El Dorado (06017), Nevada (06057)*, Placer (06061)
NV Carson City (32510), Douglas (32005), Washoe (32031)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
16 Lake Tahoe (16050101)+, Truckee (16050102)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Perennial herb with spreading, branching, hairy stems up to 20 cm long. The leaves are 1 to 3 cm long, oblong or lance-shaped, and wavy along the edges or divided into lobes. The inflorescence is a compact raceme of mustardlike flowers with yellow petals each about 3 mm long. The fruit is a hairless silique a few millimeters wide containing tiny seeds.
General Description: Perennial herb from deeply buried rhizomes, overall color dark to purplish green (sometimes yellowish); stems generally prostrate, 5-20 cm long; leaves mainly on stems (not basal), somewhat succulent, pinnately lobed; flowers 2.5-4 mm long, crowded near tips of stems, sepals 4, purplish-green, hairless and persistent in fruit, petals 4, yellow, stamens 6; seed pods shiny, 3-6 mm long, > 1.5 mm wide, hairless, styles 1-1.5 mm long, hairless, stigmas not expanded. Distinguished from Rorippa columbiae by its glabrous sepals, fruits, and styles, styles 1-1.5 mm long, and stigmas not expanded. Distinguished from R. curvisiliqua by perennial rhizomatous habit, lack of basal leaf rosette, flowers 2.5-4 mm long, sepals persistent in fruit, fruit 3-6 mm long, > 1.5 mm wide.
Technical Description: From FNA (2010): Perennials (terrestrial or of wet habitat, not submerged, with underground rhizomes); glabrous or pilose, (trichomes crisped). Stems decumbent, much-branched distally, 0.5-2.5 (-3) dm, (glabrous or pilose proximally). Basal leaves not rosulate; blade margins subpinnatifid to sinuate. Cauline leaves sessile or shortly petiolate; blade broadly oblanceolate to oblong, (lateral lobes oblong to ovate), 1-3.2 cm × 3-12 mm, base not or minutely auriculate, margins subpinnatifid to sinuate, or (lateral lobes) usually entire, (surfaces pilose or adaxially glabrous). Racemes (subumbellate), not or slightly elongated. Fruiting pedicels erect to divaricate-ascending, straight, 3-7(-9) mm, (pilose). Flowers: sepals (persistent), erect, oblong or ovate, 2-3 × 1-1.5 mm; petals yellow, spatulate to oblanceolate, 2.5-3.5 × 1-1.7 mm; median filaments 2-2.5 mm; anthers narrowly oblong, 0.8-1.2 mm. Fruits silicles, straight, subglobose to broadly oblong, 3-6 × 2-3.5 mm; valves glabrous; ovules 30-44 per ovary; style 0.8-1.5 mm. Seeds biseriate, yellowish brown, angled, cordiform, 0.8-1.1 mm, strongly colliculate.
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Sand/dune
Habitat Comments: Coarse sand and sandy soils, often among cobbles or boulders, of active beaches, stream inlets, beach dunes, and backshore depressions, generally within a few feet of the local water table, in the shore zone of Lake Tahoe (Morefield 2001).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Continue implementation of the conservation strategy for Tahoe Yellow Cress. The conservation strategy is being implemented by various landowners and other parties in the Lake Tahoe Basin, including the U.S. Forest Service, the California Tahoe Conservancy, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Tahoe Lake Owners Association (Pavlik et al. 2002; Stanton and Pavlik 2010). And continue to monitor known populations for status of threats, site condition, and abundance of plants.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: SIZE: an average maximum of at least 4000 detectable above-ground stems in at least 1 sub-EO, or 1500 each in at least 2 sub-EOs, or 500 each in at least 3 sub-EOs, with a coefficient of variation of less than 50% in each such sub-EO. CONDITION: above-ground stems are detectable at the site in at least 70% of the years surveyed, and in at least 1 of the most recent 3 years surveyed. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Significant portions of the occurrence are below maximum lake level, and human-caused impacts in low-water years are of relatively low-intensity and scattered in 1 or more sub-EOs. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Water levels in Lake Tahoe are being maintained artificially at or near their maximum for up to 3 consecutive years.

Good Viability: SIZE: an average maximum of at least 2500 detectable above-ground stems in at least 1 sub-EO, or 900 each in at least 2 sub-EOs, or 300 each in at least 3 sub-EOs, with a coefficient of variation of less than 50% in each such sub-EO. CONDITION: above-ground stems are detectable at the site in at least 60% of the years surveyed, and in at least 1 of the most recent 4 years surveyed. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Some portions of the occurrence are below maximum lake level, and human-caused impacts in low-water years are of relatively low-intensity and scattered in 1 or more sub-EOs. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Water levels in Lake Tahoe are being maintained artificially at or near their maximum for up to three consecutive years.
Fair Viability: SIZE: an average maximum of at least 100 detectable above-ground stems in at least 1 sub-EO, or 50 each in at least 2 sub-EOs, or 35 each in at least 3 sub-EOs, with a coefficient of variation of up to 85% in each such sub-EO. CONDITION: above-ground stems are detectable at the site in at least 35% of the years surveyed, and in at least 1 of the most recent 6 years surveyed. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. The entire occurrence may be above maximum lake level, and human-caused impacts may be significant in all sub-EOs. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Water levels in Lake Tahoe are being maintained artificially at or near their maximum for up to six consecutive years.

Poor Viability: SIZE: an average maximum of less than 100 detectable above-ground stems in all sub-EOs combined, or with a coefficient of variation of more than 85% in any larger EOs or sub-EOs. CONDITION: above-ground stems are detectable at the site in less than 35% of the years surveyed, or were undetectable in at least the most recent 6 years surveyed. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact may be lacking. The entire occurrence may be above maximum lake level, and human-caused impacts may be significant in all sub-EOs. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Water levels in Lake Tahoe may be maintained artificially at or near their maximum for more than six consecutive years.


Justification: Rank criteria for Rorippa subumbellata are based directly on components of the site viability analysis and site ranking criteria developed by Pavlik et al. (2002), extended to apply to Element Occurrences that meet the October, 2004 NatureServe EO delimitation guidance. (For Rorippa subumbellata, EOs meeting that guidance are separated by at least 3 km of unsuitable shoreline or at least 10 km of continuous suitable shoreline habitat. The analyses of Pavlik et al. were based on subpopulations generally equivalent to contiguous occupied patches, or sub-EOs, based on that guidance.) Sub-EOs may be ranked individually using the same, single-sub-EO criteria for each rank. Because annual natural and human-influenced variations in water levels in Lake Tahoe result in wide variations in available habitat and concentration of impacts, criteria are based on maximum observed abundances at each site, variation in observed abundances, and observed persistence based on annual surveys conducted since 1978.

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 10Dec2004
Author: J. Morefield
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: 26May2016
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: J. Morefield (NVHP, 2004); rev. R. Bittman 5/2005; rev. L. Morse (2006), rev. R. Bittman 2006, rev. A. Tomaino (2011), rev. A. Treher and Bittman (2016)
Management Information Edition Date: 29Aug2011
Management Information Edition Author: Tomaino, A., rev. Treher (2016)

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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  • California State Lands Commission. 1998. Tahoe yellow cress draft biological assesment plan. Sacramento: California State Lands Commission, unpublished report.

  • DeWoody, J. and V.D. Hipkins. 2004. Draft Final Report for the Expanded Evaluation of Genetic Diversity in Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata). Service Agreement 14320-2-H401. National Forest Genetic Electrophoresis Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, Camino, CA.

  • Ferreira, J. 1987. The population status and phenological characteristics of Rorippa subumbellata (Roll.) at Lake Tahoe, CA and NV. Sacramento: California State University, M.A. Thesis.

  • 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.

  • Knapp, C.M. 1979. Sensitive plant investigation. II. Rorippa subumbellata Roll. its status on historical and potentially new sites. U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. 7 pp.

  • Morefield, J.D., editor. 2001. Nevada rare plant atlas [with rare plant fact sheets]. Available as a pdf file at: http://heritage.nv.gov/atlas/atlas.html. Compiled by the Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Carson City, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno, Nevada.

  • Mozingo, H.N. and M. Williams. 1980. The threatened and endangered plants of Nevada. Portland, Oregon: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Reno, Nevada: Bureau of Land Management. 268 pp.

  • Nevada Natural Heritage Program. 1986-present. Slide collection files. Carson City.

  • Nevada Natural Heritage Program. 1998-present. Index to available images (web page). Carson City: Nevada Natural Heritage Program public web site, http://heritage.nv.gov/images.htm.

  • Pavlik, B., D. Murphy, and Tahoe Yellow Cress Technical Advisory Group. 2002. Conservation Strategy for Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata). Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Zephyr Cove, Nevada. 106 pp., plus appendices. [http://www.fws.gov/nevada/es/documents/esa/Final_TYC_CS.pdf]

  • Pavlik, B., D. Murphy, and Tahoe Yellow Cress Technical Advisory Group. 2002. Draft conservation strategy for Tahoe yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata). Lake Tahoe, Nevada: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. 107 pages + appendices.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1941. Some new or noteworthy North American crucifers. Contributions from the Dudley Herbarium 3: 174-184.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1941. Some new or noteworthy North American crucifers. Contributions from the Dudley Herbarium 3: 174-184.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of Continental North America: systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. 976 pp.

  • Stanton, A. E. and B. M. Pavlik. 2010. Implementation of the Conservation Strategy for Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata). 2009 Annual Report. BMP Ecosciences, San Francisco, CA, prepared for Tahoe Yellow Cress Adaptive Management Working Group, Executive Committee, and the USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, March 2010. Online. Available: http://heritage.nv.gov/reports/rosu_annrep_2009.pdf (Aaccessed 2011).

  • Stuckey, R. L. 1972. Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Rorippa (Cruciferae) in North America. Sida 4: 279-426.

  • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2015. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings on
    Petitions To List 19 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species. Federal Register. 80(195):60834-60850.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2003. Draft Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa subumbellata) 2003 Annual Survey Report, March 2004. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Reno, Nevada.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2004. Species assessment and listing priority assignment form. Rorippa subumbellata. 17 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2010. Species assessment and listing priority assignment form. Rorippa subumbellata. 21 pp. Online. Available: http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=Q1LW (Accessed 2011).

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 27 December 2004. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; 12-month findings on resubmitted petitions to list the Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel, Sand Dune Lizard, and Tahoe Yellow Cress. Federal Register 69(247):77167-77173.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2015. 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List 19 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species. Federal Register 80(195): 60834-60850.

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