SOS-collected plant species, 2007

January 17, 2010

Here are some photos of 8 of the 16 species that we successfully collected and sent to Kew as part of the SOS project during 2007.

Some further explanation:

During May – Sept 2007 I worked part-time as a fieldwork technician for a team in the conservation program at Red Butte Garden, a University of Utah-affiliated arboretum.  With some funding channeled from the US government’s Bureau of Land Management, our small team participated in the BLM-sponsored Seeds Of Success project.  We identified and vouchered likely populations, collected large seed collections when we were able, and shipped these to the Kew Millenium Seed Bank in England as part of the agreement between Kew and the BLM.  Kew cleaned and analyzed each collection, kept half the seeds of each collection in their modern international seedbank facility, and shipped the other half back to a BLM seedbank repository in the US.  Our work involved visits to the Utah Museum of Natural History’s Garrett Herbarium, to be certain of some species’ identifications.  That work also introduced me to Welsh et al’s 2003 revision of A Utah Flora , which is not light reading.

Our goal was to collect as many good seed collections of species in northern and central Utah that had not been collected before as part of the SOS project.  That season we were able to collect and send to Kew 16 species’ collections–thanks to the expertise of my immediate supervisor Greg Maurer, and the direction provided by the conservation program’s director Rita Dodge, and the efforts of some volunteers who assisted with a few of the collections.  Most of those 16 species Greg had in mind at the outset, based on his earlier visits to their habitats.


mid June 07, ballhead ipomopsis (Ipomopsis congesta ssp. congesta), Rush Valley area, Tooele Co, UT

This grows around 5,300 ft elevation, among Artemisia nova, Tetradymia glabrata, Eriogonum ovalifolium, Atriplex confertifolia, Krascheninnikovia lanata, Cryptantha sp., cheatgrass, and scattered juniper.  I collected seeds from this population by myself, across three evenings, working when it was cool after dark.

With my headlamp in the dark there was the only time I’ve seen Jerusalem Crickets (Stenopelmatus fuscus) moving on the surface very quickly, something they apparently only do at night.


mid June 07, nuttalls horsebrush (Tetradymia nuttallii), Cedar Mtns area, Tooele Co, UT

Here this grows around 4,900 ft elevation, among Artemisia nova, Artemisia tridentata, Ephedra nevadensis, Atriplex confertifolia, Halogeton glomeratus, Krascheninnikovia lanata, and Juniperus osteosperma.

I found this species my first time one week earlier in the foothills of the House Range in Millard Co.  That’s where I learned to differentiate T. nuttallii from the other two lower-elevation horsebrush species widespread in Utah, T. glabrata and T. spinosa.  In some places all three species can be found growing together.  T. nutallii’s peak flowering is later than T. spinosa’s but prior to T. glabrata’s.

After I found a collectable population here on 6/18/2007, four of us came back 9 days later and worked several hours to complete the seed collection.


early July 07, lavenderleaf sundrops (Calylophus lavandulifolius), San Rafael Swell, Emery Co, UT

Here this grows around 5,600 ft elevation, among Eriogonum corymbosum, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Grayia spinosa, Linum puberulum, Castilleja chromosa, Glossopetalon spinescens, Tetraneuris acaulis var. arizonica, Opuntia polycantha, Juniperus osteosperma, Achnatherum hymenoides, and Artemisia sp.


early July 07, shockleys buckwheat (Eriogonum shockleyi), San Rafael Swell, Emery Co, UT

Here this grows around 5,100 ft elevation, among Eriogonum corymbosum, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Grayia spinosa, Ephedra torreyana, Pleuraphis jamesii, Castilleja chromosa, Opuntia polycantha, Cryptantha flava, Sclerocactus sp., and Artemisia sp.

The San Rafael Swell area of east-central Utah is a place I have spent little time.  The days I participated in seed collections of these two species there have constituted most of my time there, so far.  Of the general categories of habitat across Utah, this one seems to have less infiltration of non-native plant species.  It also seems to have a higher species diversity.


mid July 07, rocky mountain fringed gentian (Gentianopsis thermalis), Uintah Mtns, Summit Co, UT

These were here in a broad wet meadow at around 8,800 ft, among Pedicularis groenlandica (elephanthead lousewort, which can be seen in this photo’s background), Carex utriculata, Carex simulata, Caltha leptosepala, Potentilla gracilis, Hackelia floribunda, Aconitum columbianum, Veratrum californicum, Achillea millefolium, Carex aquatilis, Salix sp., Pinus contorta, and Populus tremuloides.


mid July 07, analogue sedge (Carex simulata), Uintah Mtns, Summit Co, UT

Here this grows in the same big meadow as the gentian immediately above.  Greg and I were also hoping to collect seeds of Phacelia sericea near here, but we only found a few of those plants–not enough to consider trying to collect.


mid July 07, pennsylvania cinquefoil (Potentilla pensylvanica), Wasatch Mtns, Wasatch Co, UT

Here these grow on a windswept broad ridgetop at around 10,300 ft elevation, among Artemisa frigida, Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, Astragalus sp., Pseudotsuga menzeisii, and Abies concolor.  I went with Greg when we photographed and collected vouchers in peak flower, and then he returned later with a friend to collect the seed.


late July 07, Parry’s goldenrod (Oreochrysum parryi), Wasatch Mtns, Salt Lake Co, UT

I stumbled onto these while aiming for Astragalus kentrophyta, but that species here lacked enough seed that season to try to collect.  These O. parryi grow very plentifully around 10,200 ft elevation, among Ericameria discoidea, Cirsium eatonii, Monardella glauca, Artemisia ludoviciana/michauxiana, Astragalus kentrophyta, Mahonia repens, Swertia radiata, Penstemon sp., Lupinus sp., Salix sp., Ribes sp., Sedum sp., Picea engelmanni, Pinus flexilis, and Juniperus communis.


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