- N.& A. Holmgren
Ruby Mountain Primrose
Other Common Names: Ruby Mountain primrose
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s):
Primula capillaris N.& A. Holmgren (TSN 504601)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.152036
Element Code: PDPRI08020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular
- Flowering Plants
- Primrose Family
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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: Primula capillaris
Taxonomic Comments: Distinct, species in genus with few western North American taxa.
Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 05Sep1990
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Narrowly endemic to high elevations in the Ruby Mountains of Elko County, Nevada. Restricted to a very specific habitat with unstable soils on extremely steep slopes. There are seven occurrences known. About half are within a wilderness area but collection for horticultural purposes may still be a threat.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1
U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors
Range Extent Comments: Primula capillaris is endemic to the Ruby Mountains of southern Elko County, Nevada, within a convex hull covering about 80 km2.
Area of Occupancy: 6-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The known global population is estimated to occupy about 17 ha of habitat.
Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: The known global population consists of 7 occurrences (J. Morefield, pers. comm., 2015).
Population Size Comments: In 2001, the global population was estimated at 14,000+ individuals (Morefield 2001). Population value left blank because the relatively large number of individuals indicates a sense of security that is not warranted; occurs in very small patches and very specialized habitat (J. Morefield, pers. comm., 2015).
Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few (4-12)
Viability/Integrity Comments: All occurrences have excellent ecological integrity, and most have proven to contain 1000 or more plants when thorough surveys could be conducted.
Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: As of 2015, no new information about threats to this species was found. High mountain (subalpine) areas recover slowly from disturbance. Collection may still be a threat.
Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information
Primula capillaris is endemic to the Ruby Mountains of southern Elko County, Nevada, within a convex hull covering about 80 km2.
U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Range MapNo map available.
U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
U.S. Distribution by County
||County Name (FIPS Code)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed
||Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
Upper Humboldt (16040101)+,
South Fork Humboldt (16040103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A delicate perennial herb with yellow and violet petaled flowers borne on a leafless flower stalk, up to 5 cm tall, arising from a basal rosette of leaves. Flowers in July and August.
Diagnostic Characteristics: "Primula capillaris resembles P. angustifolia; it differs in its narrow, upright leaves and smaller flowers with a bluish tint. The plants are the smallest among the species in sect. Parryi and are related to the widespread polymorphic P. cusickiana. Unlike the infraspecific varieties of P. cusickiana, P. capillaris is a morphologically well-differentiated taxon marked by its diminutive, delicate appearance and characteristic leaf shape." (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2009).
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Forest - Conifer, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Turf mats in wetland margin areas on soils derived from glacial till in alpine tundra (Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2009). Solufluction lobes, mostly on north-facing, rocky, steep slopes. Often grows in association with Selaginella mats. 2710-3160 m elevation. Moist, seasonally saturated, slowly creeping, dark brown loam or sandy loam soils derived from glacial till, generally on steep north to northeast aspects at 2710-3160 m elevation, particularly just below bedrock constrictions in the soil flow that have resulted in extra churning and steepening of the soil and lowered vegetation cover, sometimes on Selaginella mats, in subalpine meadow openings in the subalpine conifer zone, with Selaginella watsonii, Draba oligosperma, Geum rossii, Potentilla fruticosa, Sedum debile, Oxyria digyna, Ribes cf. montigenum, Lithophragma glabra, Luzula comosa, Mertensia ciliata, Pinus albicaulis, etc (Morefield 2001).
Not yet assessed
Stewardship Overview: Prevent collection. Monitor population trends. Search for additional populations in remote high-elevation areas of the Ruby Mountains.
Not yet assessed
Excellent Viability: SIZE: at least 2000 maximum detectable individuals occupying at least 2 ha of apparently suitable habitat. CONDITION: multiple age classes present in ratios appropriate to generation time of element. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Less than 5% cover of exotic plant species. Less than 5% cover of significant anthropogenic impacts. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area is relatively unfragmented and includes the ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat.
Good Viability: SIZE: at least 1000 maximum detectable individuals occupying at least 1 ha of apparently suitable habitat. CONDITION: multiple age classes present in ratios appropriate to generation time of element. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Less than 10% cover of exotic plant species. Less than 10% cover of significant anthropogenic impacts. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area includes the ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat, though it may be significantly fragmented, invaded by exotics, or otherwise impacted by humans.
Fair Viability: SIZE: at least 200 maximum detectable individuals occupying at least 0.2 ha of apparently suitable habitat. CONDITION: multiple age classes present, but often in ratios indicating reduced or irregular recruitment. Evidence of flowering and fruiting, seedlings, or other indications that reproductive mechanisms are intact. Up to 50% cover of exotic plant species and/or up to 50% cover of significant anthropogenic impacts. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area may be heavily fragmented, disturbed, and/or invaded by exotics, but still includes the ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat.
Poor Viability: SIZE: less than 200 maximum detectable individuals and/or less than 0.2 ha of apparently suitable habitat occupied. CONDITION: little or no evidence of successful or sustainable reproduction (poor age class distribution, no seedlings, and/or no evidence of flowering and fruiting, etc.). Cover of exotic plant species and/or significant anthropogenic impacts may exceed 50%. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Surrounding area may be heavily fragmented, disturbed, and/or invaded by exotics, with some or all ecological processes needed to sustain the element and its habitat no longer intact.
Existing EOs of this element likely include the best that will ever exist in the future, and no significant downward trends have yet been observed, so A-rank criteria are based on the sizes, conditions, and landscape contexts of the best existing occurrences. In general, population size (area of occupancy and abundance) is the primary factor influencing EO rank. Larger populations in higher quality sites are presumed to contain a higher degree of genetic variability, to have a lower susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. Although no population viability data exist for this element, "D" ranked occurrences are estimated to have a very low probability of long-term persistence due to inbreeding depression, natural stochastic events, habitat degradation, and/or intrinsic vulnerability to human impacts. Because periodic climatic variation results in natural fluctuations in numbers of detectable individuals of this element, population abundance of an EO is based on the maximum observed abundance at that site while in its current overall condition and landscape context, unless an overall downward trend in abundance is apparent at that site. Significant anthropogenic impacts are those that reduce population size and/or viability for at least the next 25 years unless restored.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Author: J. Morefield
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 08Jun2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: J. Morefield, rev. A. Tomaino (2015)
Management Information Edition Date: 08Jun2015
Management Information Edition Author: Tomaino, A.
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).
- Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2009. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 8. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.
- Holmgren, N.H., and A.H. Holmgren. 1974. Three new species from the Great Basin. Brittonia 26: 309-315.
- Kartesz, J.T. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Ph.D. dissertation. Univ. of Nevada, Reno. 3 volumes. 1729 pp.
- 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.
- 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. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, Portland, OR. 268 pp.
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