CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Astragalus ampullarioides

Photographer:
Renee Van Buren

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Astragalus ampullarioides


Family: 
Fabaceae  
Common Names: 
SHEM Milkvetch, Shivwits, Shivwit's milkvetch
Author: 
(S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh
Growth Habit: 
Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
10827

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Astragalus ampullarioidesenlarge
Photographer: Renee Van Buren


Astragalus ampullarioides is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

 
Astragalus ampullarioides


Astragalus ampullarioides is an extremely rare species comprising four small populations in Washington County, Utah (Van Buren and Harper 2003). The species is restricted to Chinle soils and was Federally listed as Endangered in September 2001. Significant portions of this species habitat is threatened with extinction by multiple threats. These threats include urban development, heavy grazing by cattle and rabbits, off-road vehicle use, and mineral exploration and development.

Astragalus ampullarioides is a perennial, herbaceous plant with cream colored flowers that are produced in the spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Welsh recognize this entity at the full species level as A. ampullarioides (Welsh 1998). This taxon was originally described as a variety of Astragalus eremiticus. Later research demonstrated significant genetic differences (Stubben 1997) as well as morphological and ecological differences (Welsh 1998) to warrant full species status. This species resembles Astragalus ampullarius, but the caudex isn’t as deeply buried and the stipules are distinct (UNPS 2003).

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Utah
State Range of  Astragalus ampullarioides
Habitat
  Astragalus ampullarioides is distributed on a narrow band of the exposed Chinle formation over a distance of about 40 km (25mi) near the city of St. George, Utah. A. ampullarioides is a narrowly distributed Mojave Desert endemic in warm desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities. Associated native plant species include Dichlostemma pulchellum, Lotus humistratus, Gutierrezia microcephala,and Calochortus flexuosus. Most frequent species within monitoring plots include Bromus rubens, Bromus tectorum, Erodium cicutarium, and Dichelostemma pulchellum (Van Buren 1998).

Distribution
  Washington County, Utah

LAND OWNERSHIP:
Bureau of Land Management- St. George Field Office, National Park Service – Zion N.P., Paiute Tribal Lands, State Trust Lands, and Private.
Approximately 50% of A. ampullarioides’ habitat is found on BLM, NPS, and Shivwits Indian Reservation Lands. The rest of the populations are found on private or State lands and are not protected under the Endangered Species Act (Torti 2003).

Number Left
  The four populations contain on average 1,000 individuals in a given year (Van Buren 2003).

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1Q
 
3/6/1998
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
9/28/2001
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Utah S1 1/16/1990  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Astragalus ampullarioides is a tall member of the Fabaceae, with stems growing up to a height of 50 cm (20 inches). Each plant produces approximately 45 flowers on a single flowering stalk in the spring. Unlike many members of the Astragalus genus, A. ampullarioides is highly palatable to grazing animals (USFWS 2000). Individuals of this taxon appear to live 4-5 years, perhaps longer (Van Buren 1998). Population density of A. ampullarioides is correlated with precipitation with adult mortality affected by the previous year’s rainfall and seedling emergence affected by the current year’s rainfall (Van Buren and Harper 2003). The breeding system of this species is presently unknown. However, this species is visited and probably pollinated by bumblebees and anthophorid bees (Torti 2003).

Threats
  Habitat disturbance from urban development, off-road vehicles, grazing by cattle and rabbits, displacement by exotic weed species, mineral development clay quarry mining, and unauthorized waste disposal (USFWS 2000).

Current Research Summary
  Currently the USFWS is developing a recovery plan for this species. A seed bank study at Utah Valley State College is also currently underway.

Current Management Summary
  Currently the USFWS is developing a recovery plan for this species. A seed bank study at Utah Valley State College is also currently underway.

Research Management Needs
  (1) Fence perimeter of populations; (2) Conduct pollination biology studies to determine pollinators and breeding system of species; (3) Conduct genetic studies on all populations to manage for and address genetic diversity concerns; (4) Conduct competition studies to determine effects of alien species on seedling establishment.

Ex Situ Needs
  Seed should be collected from existing populations and stored at established conservation seed programs. Existing populations should be monitored annually and seed should also be collected from newly-established individuals to increase the genetic diversity and gene pool for this species stored at conservation seed programs.

References

Books (Edited Volumes)

Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. 1993. A Utah flora (2nd ed., revised). Provo, UT: Brigham Young Univ. 986p.

Electronic Sources

UNPS. (2003). Utah Native Plant Society Utah Rare Plant Guide. (Accessed 10/20/2003). http://www.unps.org/fg/rpg_species.html.

Utah Conservation Data Center. (Accessed 10/20/2003). http://dwrcdc.nr.utah.gov/ucdc/.

Journal Articles

USFWS. 2000. Proposed Rule: Proposed determination of Endangered Status for Astragalus holmgreniorum (Holmgren Milk-Vetch) and Astragalus ampullarioides (Shivwits Milk-Vetch). Federal Register. 65, No. 71. Wednesday April 12, 2000

USFWS. 2001. Final Rule: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered Status for Astragalus holmgreniorum (Holmgren milk-vetch) and Astragalus ampullarioides (Shivwits milk-vetch). Federal Register. 66, No. 189. September 28, 2001

Van Buren, R.; Harper, K.T. 2003. Demographic and environmental relations of two rare Astragalus species endemic to Washington County, Utah: Astragalus holmgreniorum and A. ampullarioides. Western North American Naturalist. Vol 63, 2: 236-243.

Welsh, S.L. 1998. Astragalus (Leguminosae): Nomenclatural Proposals and New Taxa. Great Basin Naturalist. 58, 1: 45-53.

Newspaper Articles

Harper, K.T. 1997. Status of knowledge of Astragalus holmgreniorum and A. eremiticus var. ampullarioides. Utah Native Plant Society Newsletter, Sego Lily 20(2): 1-3;

Personal Communications

Van Buren, R. 2003. Personal communication. Dr. Van Buren is a professor at Utah Valley State College in Provo, Utah.

Reports

Harper, K.; Van Buren, R. 1996. 1995 Field Report, Astragalus holmgreniorum and A. eremiticus var. ampullarioides. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bureau of Land Management. p.35.

Harper, K.; Van Buren, R. 1997. 1996 Progress Report: Rare Loco Weeds of Washington County, Utah. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Tepedino, V.J. 2001. Reproduction and Pollination of Two Rare Species of Astragalus from Washington County, Southern Utah: A. holmgreniorum and A. ampullarioides. Draft final report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Torti, S.D. 2003. Conservation Plans for Two Plant Species in Southwestern Utah: Southern Species in St. George BLM District, Astragalus holmgreniorum, Astragalus ampullarioides. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Van Buren, R. 1992. Field Report: Astragalus Species (A. holmgreniorum, A. eremiticus var. ampullarioides, and A. ampullarius). Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Richfield, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Van Buren, R. 1998. Final Monitor Report: Astragalus ampullarioides and Astragalus holmgreniorum. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Richfield, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Van Buren, R.; Harper, K.T. 2000. Status Report 1999: Astragalus ampullarioides, Shivwits Milkvetch. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Richfield, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Van Buren, R.; Harper, K.T. 1993. 1993 Field Report for Astragalus eremiticus var. ampullarioides, Astragalus ampullarius, Astragalus holmgreniorum Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Richfield, Utah: Bureau of Land Management. p.30.

Van Buren, R.; Harper, K.T. 1994. Annual Report for Astragalus holmgreniorum and A. eremiticus var. ampullarioides. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Richfield, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Van Buren, R.; Harper, K.T. 2001. Status Report 2000: Astragalus ampullarioides, Shivwits Milkvetch. Order No. JSP991042. Bureau of Land Management. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Van Buren, R.; Harper, K.T. 2002. Status Report 2001: Astragalus ampullarioides, Shivwits Milkvetch. Unpublished report on file with the Bureau of Land Management. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bureau of Land Management.

Theses

Stubben, C. 1997. Habitat Characteristics of Astragalus holmgreniorum Barneby and Genetic Variation Among Two Rare Milkvetches in Southwestern Utah. [Masters of Science Thesis]: Provo, Utah. 59p.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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