Swallenia alexandrae - (Swallen) Soderstrom & Decker
Eureka Dunegrass
Other Common Names: Eureka dunegrass
Synonym(s): Ectosperma alexandrae Swallen
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Swallenia alexandrae (Swallen) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker (TSN 42201)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.142060
Element Code: PMPOA5Y010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
Image 12181

© James D. Morefield

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Swallenia
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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: Swallenia alexandrae
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Feb2012
Global Status Last Changed: 20Aug2013
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to Inyo County, California, Swallenia alexandrae is known from only five occurrences on the desert dunes in Death Valley National Park. Although vehicular traffic is prohibited, vehicular trespass and recreational campers still pose threats to this taxon. Its desert dune habitat is extremely fragile.
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 California (S2)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (27Feb2018)
Comments on USESA: In a final rule published in the February 27, 2018 Federal Register, Swallenia alexandrae was reclassifed from an endangered to a threatened species.  "We conclude that the stressors acting upon Eureka dune grass are of sufficient imminence, scope, or magnitude to indicate that they are continuing to result in impacts at either the population or rangewide scales, albeit to a lesser degree than at the time of listing, and we find that Eureka dune grass meets the statutory definition of a threatened species" (USFWS 2018).
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: California endemic, known only from the desert dunes in Eureka Valley in Inyo County (Skinner, 1997).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from only four occurrences (Bittman 1998). A fifth occurrence reported in 1999.

Population Size Comments: Based on acreage (Bittman 1998).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat loss/alteration through the use of unauthorized off-road vehicles is the primary threat. Although the dunes are closed to vehicles, vehicular trespass and recreation (camping and campers) is still a threat (Skinner 1997).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Populations are recovering well after the dunes were closed to all vehicular traffic. However, with recent changes within the National Park Service, recreation-related impacts have become a problem (Bittman 1998).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: Discovered in 1949, populations steadily declined until 1983 primarily as a result of ORV use and trampling of seedlings. ORV use is now prohibited, however, unauthorized use still occurs. Populations are said to have recovered well.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Desert dune habitat extremely fragile (Bittman 1998).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: California endemic, known only from the desert dunes in Eureka Valley in Inyo County (Skinner, 1997).

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

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Inyo (06027)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Eureka-Saline Valleys (18090201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial grass with stiff, sharp-tipped leaves. The aerial parts grow from long, freely branching rhizomes which root at the nodes. A distinguishing character is the free caryopsis which falls from the floret very early and easily, sometimes even before it is entirely mature. Monotypic genus.
Diagnostic Characteristics: This species is characterized by its rigid stems, leaves short and rigid with hard, pointed tips, and inconspicuous flowers.
Duration: PERENNIAL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Desert, Sand/dune
Habitat Comments: Desert dunes with a unique topographic feature which results in an unusual amount of precipitation in certain regions of the closed drainage system of Eureka Valley, California. Small populations are located on ancillary dunes which do not receive the full benefit of the moisture trapping topography of the main dune (Smithsonian Institution, 1980).
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: 18Jul2003
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: D. Gries, rev. R. Bittman (7/98), rev. M. Fellows (7/03)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 30Jan1990

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 Native Plant Society (CNPS). 2001. Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California (sixth edition). Rare Plant Scientific Advisory Committee, David P. Tibor, Convening Editor. California Native Plant Society. Sacramento, CA. x + 388pp.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1991. Synonym names from 1991 checklist, as extracted by Larry Morse, TNC, June 1991.

  • 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.

  • Munz, P.A. 1968. Supplement to a California flora. Univ. California Press. Berkeley. 224 pp.

  • Skinner, M.W., and B.M. Pavlik, eds. 1997 (1994). Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 1997 Electronic Inventory Update of 1994 5th edition, California Native Plant Society, Special Publication No. 1, Sacramento.

  • Smith, J.P., and K. Berg. 1988. California native plant society's inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 4th edition. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 168 pp.

  • Smithsonian Institution. 1980. Draft abstracts on rare plants. Unpublished. Perhaps 100 individual abstracts.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2018. Removing Oenothera avita ssp. eurekensis from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants, and Reclassification of Swallenia alexandrae From Endangered to Threatened. Final rule and availability of post-delisting monitoring plan. Federal Register 83(39): 8576-8603.

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