CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Cryptantha subcapitata

Photographer:
J. Locklear

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Cryptantha subcapitata


Family: 
Boraginaceae  
Common Names: 
miner's candle, Owl Creek miner's candle, Wallowa cat's-eye
Author: 
Dorn & Lichvar
Growth Habit: 
Subshrub, Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
1140

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Cryptantha subcapitataenlarge
Photographer: J. Locklear
jlocklear1[at]unl.edu
Image Owner: Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

Cryptantha subcapitataenlarge
Photographer: J. Locklear
jlocklear1[at]unl.edu
Image Owner: Nebraska Statewide Arboretum


Cryptantha subcapitata is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Jim Locklear contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Cryptantha subcapitata


The foothills of Wyoming's Owl Creek and Bridger mountains are dry, desolate jumbles of rock and clay, yet the Owl Creek miner's candle occurs nowhere else, part of the tapestry of dwarf plants that mantles the rocky ridges and slopes. When not in bloom, it is hard to distinguish this plant from the other silver and gray cushions and mats that grow here. But during the brief flowering season of spring, Owl Creek miner's candle is lit up by clusters of sparkling white forget-me-not flowers.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Wyoming
State Range of  Cryptantha subcapitata
Habitat
  Sandy-gravelly slopes and barren ridges. Appears to be restricted to sandstones and conglomerates derived from the Eocene-age Wind River Formation, although it has been reported from limestone soil. Occurs in cushion plant communities, often dominated by Sphaeromeria capitata or Artemisia nova, within more densely vegetated cold desert shrubland dominated by big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). Elevation 4700-6000 ft.

Distribution
  Limited to the Owl Creek and Bridger Mountains in the vicinity of Boysen Reservoir and the northern Wind River Basin in Fremont County, Wyoming.

Number Left
  Known from 3 extant populations, with approximately 38,000 individuals in an area of 1460 acres (Fertig 2000).

Protection

Global Rank:  
G2
 
10/8/2004
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
SC
 
1/19/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Wyoming S1 E5 4/19/1991  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Unknown.

Threats
  Threats are generally low due to the rugged and inaccessible nature of the plant's habitat. Its small natural range makes the species vulnerable to extirpation from chance natural events (Fertig 2000).

Current Research Summary
  None known.

Current Management Summary
 

Research Management Needs
  • Additional surveys.
• Population monitoring.
• Exact habitat characterization.

Ex Situ Needs
  Seed germination studies.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Dorn, R.D. 1992. Vascular Plants of Wyoming. Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing.

Electronic Sources

Fertig, W. (2000). State Species Abstracts. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/wyndd/Plants/plant_species.htm. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Dorn, R.D. 1999. Our Most Endangered Plants Have Yet to be Discovered. Castilleja: The Newsletter of the Wyoming Native Plant Society. 18, 4: 6-7.

Dorn, R.D.; Lichvar, R.W. 1981. A new species of Cryptantha (Boraginaceae) from Wyoming. Madroño. 28, 3: 159-162.

Reports

Fertig, W. 1993. Field survey for Cryptantha subcapitata, Physaria eburniflora, and Sphaeromeria simplex on Bureau of Land Management lands in central Wyoming. Laramie: Casper District, Bur. Land Management by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. p.116.

Fertig, W.; Refsdal, C.; Whipple, J. 1994. Wyoming rare plant field guide. Cheyenne, Wyoming: Wyoming Rare Plant Technical Committee.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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