Antennaria arcuata - Cronq.
Meadow Pussytoes
Other English Common Names: Box Pussytoes
Other Common Names: box pussytoes
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Antennaria arcuata Cronquist (TSN 36722)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.128591
Element Code: PDAST0H050
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Aster Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Asterales Asteraceae Antennaria
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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: Antennaria arcuata
Taxonomic Comments: Distinct, although no studies have been done to show that the Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada (all significantly disjunct) populations represent the same taxon.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Jan2013
Global Status Last Changed: 02Jan2013
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Based on 34 extant occurrences (29 in Wyoming), with disjunct occurrences in Idaho and Nevada. The plants are restricted to geographically isolated wet areas, such as those that form around springs and seeps, though hydrology has not been evaluated. This habitat attracts grazing animals, and moderate grazing may be beneficial as it reduces the cover of competing vegetation; the effects of heavy grazing are not known.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Idaho (S1), Nevada (S1), Wyoming (S3)

Other Statuses

Comments on USESA: Antennaria arcuata had been under consideration for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act from 1975 to 1996. Based on the absence of significant downward population trends, and survey work completed in Wyoming, where most populations are known, A. arcuata was not recommended for federal listing (Fertig 1996).

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Regional endemic found in four disjunct areas in south-central Idaho, northeastern Nevada, central and southwestern Wyoming.

Area of Occupancy: 501-2,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy spans over 5000 acres in Wyoming, larger than Idaho and Nevada areas combined. It is associated with riverine settings, and might be more appropriately treated as occupying more or less than 25 miles of habitat.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from 29 extant occurrences in Wyoming and one possibly extirpated, 4 extant occurrences in Nevada, and 1 in Idaho, for a total of 34 extant occurrences.

Population Size Comments: The single Idaho population supports several thousand individuals (Lorain 1990). Wyoming surveys in 1995 found an estimated 99,000-130,000 individuals, expanded to 150,000-200,000 in 2012. No population size estimates are available for Nevada. Populations range in size from 200 to approximately 30,000 individuals. However, flowering stems are usually clustered, sometimes locally dominant, and may represent clones (ramets) rather than individuals (genets). The exceptionally low genetic diversity documented in the species (Bayer 1992) may reflect the vegetative reproduction, breeding bottlenecks, or relict nature of the species, with population size having little or no bearing on genetic diversity. Thus, population size may have limited bearing on species' viability.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Marriott (1986) identified overgrazing, water development (stockpond construction), placer mining, and uranium mining as potential threats to Antennaria arcuata. Exclosure studies by the BLM suggest that grazing is less of a threat than originally thought, although trampling may still be a concern. Populations of A. arcuata often abruptly stop inside of ungrazed exclosures where graminoid cover is too dense and soils are too moist. Under appropriate stocking levels and rotation, grazing appears to be beneficial to this species by maintaining low cover and moist (but not too wet) soil conditions (Fertig 1996). Off-road vehicle damage, mineral development, and water projects that include both impoundments and stockponds appear to be the primary threats at present in Wyoming. Populations in the Upper Green River Basin may also be threatened by oil and gas development. Competition from exotic weeds has also been cited as a threat in Idaho, and invasion by Cirsium arvense was noted in one Upper Green River Basin population in Wyoming. On private lands, its habitat could be threatened to plowing and reseeding to hayfields. Its habitat may also be vulnerable to dessicating climate conditions.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Short-term Trend Comments: The 1989 results in Idaho represented about the same number of plants as reported in 1985. The 1995 results in Wyoming were compared with estimates made in 1982, and total population numbers appeared to be stable or slightly decreasing.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: The association with spring and seep features and the high organic content of soils raise questions whether they function as anaerobic histosols, which has implications in evaluating whether or not the habitat is able to recover from degraded conditions.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Habitat is found on an array of Quaternary deposits and over a wide three-state area, but associated soils and hydrological conditions may be very narrow.The restricted habitat of Antennaria arcuata make this species vulnerable to habitat degradation or loss. Exclosure studies suggest that it can decline or be eliminated in habitats where graminoid cover becomes very dense, indicating that vegetation succession if part of its habitat specificity.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Regional endemic found in four disjunct areas in south-central Idaho, northeastern Nevada, central and southwestern Wyoming.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ID, NV, WY

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Blaine (16013)
NV Elko (32007)
WY Fremont (56013), Sublette (56035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Little Wind (10080002)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+, New Fork (14040102)+
16 North Fork Humboldt (16040102)+
17 Little Wood (17040221)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial herb with arching, ground-trailing stems which take root and produce erect flowering stems, up to 4 dm tall. Basal leaves are oblong, and equally white-hairy above and below. Tight clusters of white flower heads bloom at the tops of the stems from July to September. Each flower head is subtended by membranous, white-tipped bracts.
General Description: Antennaria arcuata is a loosely white-woolly perennial herb with conspicuously arching stolons. Stolons extend up to 1 dm long and give rise to new plants. Plants are dioecious (either staminate or pistillate). Basal leaves are few, wider at the top, and several cm long. Flowering stems are solitary, 3 to 4 dm tall, with well-developed, and gradually reduced stem leaves. The flower heads are moderately numerous and arranged in a close terminal cluster. Male and female plants vary slightly in size of flowers, involucre (bracts at base of flower head), and pappus (modified calyx on top of ovary/fruit) (Lorain 1990).
Technical Description: Plants white-wooly, perennial, spreading by means of conspicuously arching stolons about 1 dm long or less, the stolons rooting at the end and giving rise to another short-lived plant with a single strict flowering stem 3-4 dm tall; basal leaves oblanceolate, several cm long, but few and not persistent; cauline leaves narrow, but well developed, moderately numerous, gradually reduced upwards; heads rather many in a close terminal cluster; involucre about 5 mm high, tomentose below, the bracts whitish and minutely striate above; pappus bristles only slightly irregularly united at the base (Cronquist 1950).
Diagnostic Characteristics: The most distinctive feature of Antennaria arcuata is its conspicuously arching, woolly stolons (hence its common name). This feature is diagnostic. Other characters to look for are the single flowering stem, white-woolly pubescence, and preference for damp meadow habitats.
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Antennaria arcuata is a perennial that reproduces vegetatively by spreading stolons, or sexually by seed. Although many species of Antennaria also reproduce asexually by apomixis (the production of viable seed without fertilization or meiosis), there is no evidence of this in A. arcuata (Bayer 1984). Chromosome counts and demographic analysis of Wyoming and Nevada populations have shown this species to be a diploid, with populations containing approximately equal proportions of staminate and pistillate individuals (Bayer 1992). Mature, presumably viable fruits were commonly observed in Wyoming populations. On average, pistillate plants contained 10-12 heads per flowering stem, and 20 fruits per head (Fertig 1996). The one Idaho population is reported to be comprised of only pistillate plants (Lorain 1990). This needs further investigation. Known apomictic species of Antennaria are polyploids with populations consisting almost entirely of pistillate plants (Bayer 1984).

Bayer (1992) found the amount of genetic diversity within populations of A. arcuata to be much lower than other narrowly endemic, or wide-ranging sexual species of Antennaria. Due to inbreeding within populations and low gene flow between populations, Bayer also reports small, but meaningful differences in the genetic structure of six A. arcuata occurrences in Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming. These observations support the contention that populations have been isolated from each other for a relatively long time (Bayer 1992).

Possible hybridization or introgression between A. arcuata and A. microphylla has been reported from one Wyoming occurrence (Bayer 1992). Unlike polyploid species in Antennaria, hybridization appears to be uncommon among the diploid taxa of the genus (Cronquist 1994).

Known Pests: No pests have been documented for Antennaria arcuata. Plants with broken stems and missing heads have been observed. This damage may be the result of herbivory or trampling by cattle or native grazers. Rosettes and lower stems show no evidence of herbivory. Rodents, insects, and other small grazers may feed on fruits and inflorescence (Fertig 1996).
Ecology Comments: Antennaria arcuata appears to decrease in areas with tall or dense vegetation cover. Colonies within BLM exclosures have declined or been locally extirpated where grazing has been prevented and the vegetation notably denser and taller. High vegetation cover may also promote greater water retention in the soil, creating microsites too wet for A. arcuata. Several Wyoming colonies have also declined over time where shrubs have replaced the graminoid plant community. In Wyoming, A. arcuata is often found with Antennaria microphylla in hummocky habitats. Antennaria microphylla generally replaces A. arcuata on drier hummock tops and on wetter soil sites. Changes in soil moisture retention capacity, either through increased vegetation density or soil compaction, may favor A. microphylla at many sites (Fertig 1996).
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND
Habitat Comments: Moist meadows, often on hummocks of sedges and rushes that stay drier than the surrounding areas, or at the edges of these meadows. 1500-2400 m. The wet meadows are usually surrounded by sagebrush grassland communities.

In Wyoming, Antennaria arcuata is found primarily in subirrigated meadows within broad stream channels dominated by tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia arcuata), Baltic rush (Juncus balticus), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), Nevada bluegrass (Poa nevadensis), Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), and clustered field sedge (Carex praegracilis). These communities are often found in a matrix of silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana) and shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa). Within these communities, A. arcuata is most commonly associated with hummocky topography, but it also occurs on level ground, or shallow depressions. Soils tend to be alkaline, clayey, and high in organic matter. At higher elevations in the South Pass area, it may be found at the edge of silver sagebrush stands and willow thickets in subirrigated meadows of tufted hairgrass, Baltic rush, spike-rush(Eleocharis sp.), and meadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum). Antennaria arcuata is notably absent from riparian sites with tall, dense graminoid or shrub cover, and where soils are saturated. It is also absent from the dry, gravelly big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) grassland ridges bordering the meadow habitats (Fertig 1996).

The one Idaho population occupies a mesic natural grass-sedge meadow surrounded by sagebrush-steppe (Lorain 1990). Nevada populations are found in open, flat meadows that are not permanently wet (Mozingo and Williams 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: 02Jan2013
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Marriott, H. (2/87 and 9/90)(Rev. W. Fertig/K. Maybury 6/96 and 12/97), rev. B. Heidel (1/2013).
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Apr1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): M. Mancuso

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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