CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Bonamia ovalifolia

Photographer:
Kathy Rice

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Bonamia ovalifolia


Family: 
Convolvulaceae  
Common Names: 
bigpod bonamia, bonamia, convolvula big pod
Author: 
(Torr.) Hallier f.
Growth Habit: 
Subshrub, Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
607

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Bonamia ovalifoliaenlarge
Photographer: Kathy Rice


Bonamia ovalifolia is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Kathleen C. Rice contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Bonamia ovalifolia


Bonamia ovalifolia is a very attractive herbaceous perennial growing from a woody crown. Stems are deciduous, dying back to the crowns in November, and re-emerging in April. Leaves are round, about 1 cm in diameter, and are silvery blue-green, on stems that reach 30-40 cm in height. Plants are generally unbranched, with many single stems emerging from a woody crown. They may also be clonal, connected by rhizomes. Flowers are ca 2 cm in diameter, lavender-blue, rotate, and open at the terminal ends of stems in May-June. Fruits are pods or round capsules, containing 4 ovules in early fruit, but developing only 1-2 seeds to maturity in late July. Dispersal appears to be facilitated by wind, gravity (seeds rolling downhill), and water from the occasional strong summer rains.

Bonamia ovalifolia has no legal protection under the Endangered Species Act, although globally it is considered to be in danger of extinction.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Texas
State Range of  Bonamia ovalifolia
Habitat
  The habitat is generally on sandy substrates. Both sites are within 50 yards of the Rio Grande River, with one occurring on a steep sandslide located just below a large cave that attracts hikers. The other, smaller population grows in the middle of a flat, sandy wash, on sandbars stabilized by Prosopis and Acacia (USFWS 1985). Population size in terms of numbers of individuals is difficult to ascertain, as plants grow in clumps, and without digging between them, it is difficult to determine whether plants are clonal or not (USFWS 1985, Austin 1988). The estimated number of plants at the steep site is ca 200-300 (USFWS 1985).

Distribution
  The known occurrences are located directly on the Mexican border, within 50 yards or less, of the Rio Grande (Austin 1988).

Number Left
  Only 2 populations are known within U.S. boundaries, but there may be more in Mexico (USFWS 1984, Austin 1988). There are undocumented reports of occurrences in Mexico.

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
11/10/1997
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  
  Mexico *FR85 8/26/1988  
  Texas S1 10/16/1984  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Unknown.

Threats
  Threats at this site include trampling by hikers trying to get to the cave, trampling or grazing by horses fording the Rio Grande from Mexico, and the transitory nature of the site itself, with blowing and rain scattered sand moving over and around plants (USFWS 1985). At the flat site, the movement of sand is the main threat.

A new threat in the form of Buffel Grass has appeared in the last several years, and plants have quickly become established among Bonamia clumps at bouquillas (USFWS 1985). Volunteer groups organized by Big Bend National Park staff removed the grass plants, but they have re-appeared each year, in smaller numbers (Desert Botanical Garden 2000).

Current Research Summary
  The Garden has formed a cooperative agreement with Dr. Bonnie Amos of San Angelo University, San Angelo, Texas to investigate germination requirements for this species. Dr. Amos and a graduate student gathered a sufficient number of seeds during 1998 to conduct germination tests. With Dr. Amos, the Garden has developed a germination experiment protocol, and will soon begin the experiment. Plants grown from these seeds could be used for reintroduction, under a carefully planned regimen developed in conjunction with personnel from Big Bend National Park. Other plants from the study could be used to study reproductive biology of Bonamia in greater detail.

Current Management Summary
  Big Bend National Park is currently working with Dr. Bonnie Amos of San Angelo University to study the reproductive biology of this species.

Research Management Needs
  Regular, seasonal checking for Buffel Grass invasion at Bouquillas Canyon is needed. Immediate removal is mandatory, as the Bonamia population there is small enough in numbers of plants that it could be decimated by this exotic invasive grass.

Ex Situ Needs
  Desert Botanical Garden has small, inadequate collections from both populations. The Garden visits west Texas 2 to 4 times annually, and has been fortunate enough to be able to collect seeds from Bonamia from three good years (years having adequate rainfall to allow flowers to form). We currently have 953 seeds from the larger population, and 103 seeds from the other site. A germination test conducted in 1993 produced 6 plants, which finally produced a single flower in 1994. In the fall of 1994, plants went dormant, but never emerged with new growth in the spring.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Adkins, C.L. 1997. Chromosome numbers for two species of morning glory: Bonamia ovalifolia and Bonamia repens (Convolvulaceae). San Angelo, TX: Angelo State University. 8p.

Correll, D.S.; Johnston, M.C. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Renner: Texas Research Foundation. 1881p.

Kartesz, J.T. 1993. Species distribution data for vascular plants of 70 geographical areas, from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Electronic Sources

(2000). Center for Plant Conservation's National Living Collection--Profiles. Desert Botanical Garden. http://www.dbg.org/Collections/cpc.html. Accessed: 2002.

(2002). Botany: Investigator's Annual Reports. The National Park Service: Big Bend National Park. http://www.nps.gov/bibe/iar/botany.htm. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Austin, D.F. 1988. The rarest morning glory. Fairchild Tropical Garden Bulletin. 43: 22-28.

Austin, D.F. 1992. Rare Convolvulaceae in the Southwestern United-States. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 79, 1: 8-16.

Austin, D.F.; Staples, G.W. 1985. Petrogenia as a synonym of Bonamia convolvulaceae with comments on allied species. Brittonia. 37, 3: 310-316.

Shinners, L.H. 1962. Synopsis of U.S. Bonamia, including Breweria and Stylisma (Convolvulaceae). Castanea. 27: 65-77.

USFWS. 1985. Review of plant taxa for listing as endangered or threatened species. Federal Register. 50, 188: 39526-39527.

Reports

Amos, B. 1996. Draft: bigpod bonamia (Bonamia ovalifolia) Status Report. Albuquerque, NM: Region 2 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.13.

Theses

Adkins, Christie Lee. 1999. The pollination ecology and reproductive biology of the rare morning glory, Bonamia ovalifolia (Convolvulaceae). [M.S. Thesis]: Angelo State University. 53p.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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