CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Castilleja christii

Photographer:
Carol Dawson

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Castilleja christii


Family: 
Scrophulariaceae  
Common Name: 
Christ's Indian paintbrush
Author: 
N. Holmgren
Growth Habit: 
Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
804

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Castilleja christiienlarge
Photographer: Carol Dawson
Carol_Dawson[at]blm.gov
Image Owner: Denver Botanic Gardens

Castilleja christiienlarge
Photographer: Carol Dawson
Carol_Dawson[at]blm.gov
Image Owner: Denver Botanic Gardens


Castilleja christii is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Thomas Grant contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Castilleja christii


Castilleja christii is one of Idaho's rarest plants--it is found in a single population in the Albion Mountains of Cassia County, Idaho. It was named after John H. Christ, the first botanist to collect this species. This showy perennial herb grows from 6 to 8 inches tall and produces yellow to yellow-orange flowering spike. (Holmgren 1973, USFWS 1995)

This and other paintbrush species are often believed to be purely parasitic, meaning that they survive by using resources produced in another plant host. However, it is actually hemi-parasitic, meaning that it is capable of independent production of nutrients but gains additional nutrients through root attachments with surrounding plants (Kuijt 1969, Borland 1988,Burbridge 1991, Heckard 1988).

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Idaho
State Range of  Castilleja christii
Habitat
  This species is found in grassy upper sub-alpine meadows along the crest and slope of the mountain in loamy gravel and occurs most often in areas where snowdrifts remain into early summer. The rocky ridge at 9,100 ft. is scattered with quartzite and mica schist stones and boulders. (Holmgren 1973)

Found among Poa sandbergii (Little Bluegrass), Festuca idahoensis (blue bunchgrass), Solidago multiraciata (Alpine Goldenrod) Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), and Pedicularis contorta (Coiled-beak Lousewort). (Holmgren 1973)

Distribution
  Mount Harrison at the northern end of the Albion Mountains in Cassia County, Idaho. (Holmgren 1973)

Number Left
  One population at Mount Harrison in the Sawtooth National Forest, Cassia County, Idaho. (Holmgren 1973, Mosely 1997)

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
5/5/2005
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
C
 
1/19/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Idaho S1 C1 11/5/2002  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  No specific information is known, including which species or group of species that C. christii may form hemiparasitic relationships with.
Reproduction is by seed, but nothing is known about seed dispersal or seed bank dynamics. (Mancuso 1996)
Pollinators are unknown.

Threats
  Habitat loss and degradation, due mainly to road construction and recreational interference. It is also subject to trespass grazing by domestic livestock. (Dawson 1994)

Current Research Summary
  Seeds have been collected by Denver Botanic Gardens and are currently stored at the National Seed Storage Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Mancuso 1996)
Seed germination studies by Denver Botanic Gardens suggest that this species has a strong seed dormancy, as they may require three months or more of cool, moist conditions to germinate. This is likely a remnant of the species' biology, as it is found in a habitat where deep snow is common and has even been documented to last throughout the summer months. (Mancuso 1996)

Current Management Summary
  A 1995 article in Endangered Species Bulletin notes that the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) has voted to approve the draft conservation strategy for this category one listing candidate. The article also mentions a move to create a Mount Harrison Research Natural Area, which would include 23% of the species population.

Research Management Needs
  Population monitoring is necessary.

Ex Situ Needs
 

References

Books (Single Authors)

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.

Kuijt, Job. 1969. The Biology of Parasitic Flowering Plants. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

USFS. 1990. Idaho and Wyoming endangered and sensitive plant field guide. Ogden, UT: U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 192p.

Books (Sections)

Burbridge, W.R. 1991. Christ's Indian paintbrush. Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species of the Intermountain Region.

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.

Journal Articles

Borland, J. 1988. Castillejas: Dispelling the Myths. Northern Nevada Native Plant Society Newsletter. 14, 9: 3-5.

Heckard, L.. 1988. Why not try Indian paintbrush in your garden?. Northern Nevada Native Plant Society Newsletter. 14, 8: 4.

Holmgren, N.H. 1973. Five new species of Castilleja (Scrophulariaceae) from the Intermountain region. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical club. 100, 2: 83-93.

Marvier, M.A.; Smith, D.L. 1997. Conservation implications of host use for rare parisitic plants. Conservation Biology. 11, 4: 839-848.

USFWS. 1976. Proposed Endangered Status for 1700 U.S. Plants. Federal Register. 41: 24523-24572.

USFWS. 1995. Region 1 Recovery Update. Endangered Species Bulletin. 20, 3: 21.

Reports

Dawson, C. 1994. Results of seed testing for Castilleja christii. Boise, Idaho: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Boise Field Office.

Mancuso, M. 1996. Castilleja christii, Christ's Indian paintbrush. Produced by The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Heritage Network, and the Idaho Conservation Data Center.

Mancuso, M.; Evenden, A.G. 1996. Establishment record for Mount Harrison Research Natural Area within Sawtooth National Forest, Cassia County, Idaho. Ogden, Utah: U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Research Station. p.21 , plus appendices and maps.

Moseley, R.K. 1993. The status and distribution of Christ's Indian paintbrush (Castilleja christii) and Davis' wavewing (Cymopterus davisii) in the Albion Mountains, Sawtooth National Forest and City of Rocks National Reserve. Cooperative Challenge Cost Share Project, Sawtooth National Forest and Idaho Conservation Data Center, Idaho Department of Fish and Game. p.18 plus appendices.

Moseley, R.M. 1996. Christ's Indian paintbrush (Castilleja christii) monitoring on the Sawtooth National Forest: transect establishment and baseline data. Twin Falls, Idaho: Sawtooth National Forest. p.16.

Moseley, R.M. 1997. Christ's Indian paintbrush (Castilleja christii) monitoring on the Sawtooth National Forest: second-year results. Twin Falls, Idaho: Sawtooth National Forest. p.8.

Moseley, R.M. 1998. Christ's paintbrush monitoring on the Sawtooth National Forest: third-year results. Twin Falls, Idaho: Sawtooth National Forest. p.10 , plus appendices.

Packard, P.L. 1979. Status report for Castilleja christii. U.S. Fish and and Wildlife Service. p.5.

USFWS. 1995. Conservation agreement: Castilleja christii (Christ's Indian paintbrush). Cooperative agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Idaho State Office, and the Sawtooth National Forest.


  This profile was updated on 10/13/2010
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