CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Sericocarpus rigidus

Photographer:

Heading for profile page
CPC Home Join now
About CPC
CPC National Collection
Conservation Directory Resources
Invasive Plant Species Plant News
Plant Links Participating Institutions
Contribute
Search CPC
Search    Alphabetical List    Reference Finder    CPC Home


CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Sericocarpus rigidus


Family: 
Asteraceae  
Common Names: 
Columbia white top aster, Curtus' aster, white-top aster
Author: 
Cronquist
Growth Habit: 
Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
335

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


Profile Links
 ITIS
 Tropicos
 PLANTS
 Fish & WildLife

Sericocarpus rigidus is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

 
Sericocarpus rigidus


This perennial herb from the Sunflower family (Asteraceae) is distinguished by tightly clustered flower heads on the shoot ends. They are usually in colonies of 50-200+ shoots that spread vegetatively by rhizomes (an underground, horizontal stem). The shoots that are not flowering are usually less than half the length of the flowering shoots. The leaves can be as long as one inch, are alternate and are placed evenly along the stem. (Pojar &MacKinnon, NHP field Guide, Hitchcock). White top aster habitat is open grassland and is dominated by Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis). “Fire is thought to have played a major historical role in the maintenance of the grassland habitats occupied by A. curtus.” (NHP Field Guide). Major threats to the species are loss of habitat by Scots broom (Cytisus scoparius), an invasive plant, and by encroaching Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) because of the loss of fire. (Hitchcock, et al 1973 ; Giblin 1997; NatureServe 2003; Selected Rare Vascular Plants of Washington 2000; USDA, NRCS. 2002)

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Oregon
Washington
State Range of  Sericocarpus rigidus
Habitat
  Open grasslands dominated by Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis) are home to the white-topped aster. And these grasslands are surrounded by Douglas fir trees (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The grasslands are typically moist most of the year, but dry, or moisture-stressed, during late summer. Southern populations occur in clayey soil, central populations in glacial outwash soil and northern populations in exposed bedrock. Other native species found in the grassland home of white-topped aster are snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), service berry (Almelanchier alnifolia), Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) and early blue violet (Viola adunca). A non-native species found within white-topped aster’s habitat is Scot’s broom (Cytisus scoparius). This species poses a threat to Aster curtus by growing in dense stands and altering the soil nutrients. (Rare Care)

Distribution
  Aster curtus is restricted in distribution to only a few regions within the west coast of North America: the Willamette Valley-Puget Lowlands in Oregon and Washington and the southeastern portions of Vancouver Island, British Columbia (Hitchcock, NHP).

Number Left
  Of the more than 80 sites, many are small, fragmented and isolated. (NHP 2000, Giblin 1997).

Protection

Global Rank:  
G3
 
7/9/2007
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
SC
 
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Oregon S2 12/31/1992  
  Washington S3 12/31/1990  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  A. curtus is thought to have a relationship with fire where fire maintains its grassland habitat; frequent fires that burn at low intensity and soils that are seasonally dry keep the grasslands free from encroaching trees (Giblin 1997).

Threats
  Habitat loss: Loss of habitat by invasion of the noxious weed Scots broom (Cytisus scoparius). Fire suppression: The loss of fire allows Douglas fir (Pseduotsuga menziesii) to encroach onto the grasslands (NHP 2000, Giblin 1997).

Possibly military training exercises: A population of Aster curtus is located on Fort Lewis, WA. The Army, in conjunction with the University of Washington and the Nature Conservancy, is studying the effects of military training exercises. The exercises involve tank operations. (NatureServe 2003, Kareiva, 1997)

Current Research Summary
  • "A Demographic Analysis of the Impact of Army Disturbance on Aster curtus Population Viability"; lead researchers are University of Washington, The Nature Conservancy, and Range Control – LCTA http://www.lewis.army.mil/ITAM/research.htm. On going.
• Ewing, K. 2002. “Mounding as a technique for restoration of prairie on a capped landfill in the Puget Sound lowlands”. Restoration Ecology 10:289-296.
• Kareiva, Peter. 1997. Designing a research plan for an endangered plant on Ft. Lewis
• Giblin, David Emmett. 1997.“The relationships of reproductive biology and disturbance to the rarity of Aster curtus (Cronq.), a Pacific Northwest endemic”
• Clampitt, Christopher Alan. 1984. The ecological life history of Aster curtus, a grassland endemic in a forested region

Current Management Summary
  The Washington sate Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Program holds responsibility for managing the species. Mechanical removal of the invasive Scot’s Broom (Cytisus scoparius) and prescribed fire to prevent the encroachment of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) are two management tools the agency recommends for controlling threats to white-topped aster.

Research Management Needs
  In addition to research on Scot’s broom control and prescribed burns, the Washington Natural Heritage Program and the U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management are calling for additional inventories throughout the species’ range.

Ex Situ Needs
  A. curtus seeds were banked in the Miller Seed Vault at the Center for Urban Horticulture; Seattle, WA in the summer of 2003. Additional ex situ resources are needed to ensure conservation of the species.

References

Books (Sections)

Pojar, J.; MacKinnon, A. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. B.C. Forest Service, Research Program. p 287.

Electronic Sources

NatureServe. (2008). NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. [Internet].Version 7.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. Accessed: (June 17, 2008).

USDA, NRCS. 2008. The PLANTS Database ( http://plants.usda.gov , 2 December 2008). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Washington Natural Heritage Program and U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management. (2000). Field Guide to Selected Rare Vascular Plants of Washington. http://www.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/fguide/htm/fgmain.htm. Accessed: 2003.

Journal Articles

Bigger, D.S. 1999. Consequences of patch size and isolation for a rare plant: pollen limitation and seed predation. Natural Areas Journal. 19, 3: 239-244.

Clampitt, C.A. 1987. Reproductive biology of Aster-curtus asteraceae a Pacific Northwest endemic. American Journal of Botany. 74, 6: 941-946.

Clampitt, C.A. 1993. Effects of human disturbances on prairies and the regional endemic Aster curtus in western Washington. Northwest Science. 67, 3: 163-169.

Douglas, G.W.; Illingworth, J.M. 1997. Status of the white-top Aster, Aster curtus (Asteraceae) in Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 111, 4: 622-627.

Thomas, T.B.; Carey, A.B. 1996. Endangered, threatened, and sensitive plants of Fort Lewis, Washington: distribution, mapping, and management recommendations for species conservation. Northwest Science. 70, 2: 148-163.

Theses

Giblin, David E. 1997. The Relationships of Reproductive Biology and Disturbance to the rarity of Aster curtus (Cronq.), a Pacific Northwest Endemic. [Master of Science]: C. Hamilton, Advisor.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
California
Oregon
Washington
Idaho
Nevada
Arizona
Utah
Montana
Wyoming
Colorado
New Mexico
North Dakota
South Dakota
Nebraska
Kansas
Oklahoma
Texas
Minnesota
Iowa
Missouri
Arkansas
Louisiana
Wisconsin
Illinois
Michigan
Michigan
Indiana
Ohio
Kentucky
Tennessee
Mississippi
Alabama
Florida
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina
Virginia
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
Delaware
Maryland
New Jersey
Connecticut
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
Vermont
New Hampshire
Maine
New York
New York
Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii