CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Rorippa gambelii

Photographer:
Dieter Wilken

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

Rorippa gambelii


Family: 
Brassicaceae  
Common Name: 
Gambel's Watercress
Author: 
(S. Wats.) Rollins & Al-Shehbaz
Growth Habit: 
Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
44446

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


Profile Links
 ITIS
 Tropicos
 PLANTS
 Fish & WildLife

Rorippa gambeliienlarge
Photographer: Dieter Wilken
dwilken[at]sbbg.org
Image Owner: Dieter Wilken

Rorippa gambeliienlarge
Photographer: Dieter Wilken
dwilken[at]sbbg.org
Image Owner: Dieter Wilken


Rorippa gambelii is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Dieter Wilken contributed to this Plant Profile.
The initial writing of this profile was funded by the U.S. Forest Service

 
Rorippa gambelii


Once found from San Luis Obispo County south to San Bernardino County, California, and in central Mexico, Gambelís watercress today is known from only three localities in the United States, and its numbers have dwindled to perhaps less than 300 individuals. Known from about 8 occurrences in the United States at the time it was listed in 1993, the number of extant populations has dwindled to only three in southern San Luis Obispo County and western Santa Barbara County (Anonymous 2008a; Parikh et al. 1998). At one of these localities, it co-occurs with marsh sandwort (Arenaria paludicola), another endangered species. The last and only report made for San Bernardino County was in 1935 at Urbita Hot Springs, currently the site of a mall next to the Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino. An early report from the mountains of San Diego County has not been confirmed (Anonymous 2008b). Although reported from Mexico, its status there is unknown (Wickenheiser, L.P. 1989). Gambelís watercress (Rorippa gambelii, Cardamine gambelii in literature) is probably best treated as a species of Nasturtium (Al-Shehbaz and Price 1998).

Gambelís water cress is an aquatic, herbaceous perennial, producing floating and emergent stems (Abrams and Ferris 1944; Mason 1957; Rollins 1993; Al-Shehbaz and Price, 1998). Vegetative shoots often sprawl over associated vegetation and have been reported to reach up to 1 meter in length, bearing pinnately compound leaves. Vegetative shoots can spread and produce new plants adventitiously. The flowering shoots produce terminal clusters of white flowers. Flowers are about 1 cm wide at anthesis, and bear the 4 white petals and 6 stamens typical of a mustard. Each fruit can produce up to 20 seeds, which are yellowish- to reddish brown in color. Flowering ranges from April through July. Plants of Gambelís watercress have been confused with the introduced watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum = Nasturtium officinale). These two species are also known to hybridize at one remaining occurrence, making identification more difficult, and also resulting in a potential threat from the apparently more competitive hybrid.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  California
State Range of  Rorippa gambelii
Habitat
  Gambelís watercress occurs naturally in open or semi-shaded sites along the edges of permanent, slow-moving streams and at the edges of freshwater marshes or lakes. The typical substrate is sandy, saturated, and with a high organic content. Gambelís watercress has been associated with such riparian species as bur-reed (Sparganium), tules (Scirpus), rushes (Juncus), cattails (Typha), wax myrtle (Myrica californica), reed-grass (Calamagrostis), and arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis). Observations of its growth at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden confirm its need for a constant source of fresh water. Studies of soil seed banks at one locality demonstrated a viable natural seed bank, based on observations of germinating seedlings, but seed age could not be determined (Mazer and Waddell 1994; Mazer 2000).

Distribution
  From southern San Luis Obispo County south to San Bernardino County, California, and in central Mexico.

Number Left
  Among approximately 8 historic occurrences, only three are believed to be extant. As recently as 1998, the number of individual plants at extant sites was collectively estimated to be fewer than 1000 flowering shoots (Anonymous 2008b). However, the number of genetically distinct plants remains unknown, and probably are fewer.

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
11/28/2005
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
8/3/1993
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
9/28/1998

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  California S1.1  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Gambelís watercress occurs naturally in open or semi-shaded sites along the edges of permanent, slow-moving streams and at the edges of freshwater marshes or lakes. The typical substrate is sandy, saturated, and with a high organic content. Gambelís watercress has been associated with such riparian species as bur-reed (Sparganium), tules (Scirpus), rushes (Juncus), cattails (Typha), wax myrtle (Myrica californica), reed-grass (Calamagrostis), and arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis). Observations of its growth at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden confirm its need for a constant source of fresh water. Studies of soil seed banks at one locality demonstrated a viable natural seed bank, based on observations of germinating seedlings, but seed age could not be determined (Mazer and Waddell 1994; Mazer 2000).

Threats
  ēLoss of wetlands and sporadic inundation of stable wetland habitats.

ēCompetition from alien invasives.

ēHybridization with the common European watercress (Nasturtium officinale).

ēEutrophication resulting from increased nutrient levels.

Current Research Summary
  Experimental studies have shown that Gambelís watercress propagates readily from seeds and from vegetative cuttings, using single shoots bearing adventitious roots at the base.

Studies of plants at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden have provided mixed results regarding the breeding system. Overall, flowers are self-compatible, but seed set, relative to a larger number of ovules, is enhanced by augmented pollination, suggesting that visitation by insects are important to pollination in nature

Field studies of potential suitable habitat are being conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Current Management Summary
  One natural population at Oso Flaco Lake in San Luis Obispo County occurs on lands owned by the State of California, and is managed by State Park staff. Another population on Vandenberg Air Force Base, Department of Defense, is managed by base environmental staff.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden maintains a living collection of plants representing limited genetic diversity from one natural population and seed collections secured from one other occurrence, currently believed extirpated.

Research Management Needs
  Currently the highest priority for further research and management depends on the identification of suitable habitats where experimental recovery projects can be implemented, especially to determine limits and requirements of population stability.

The number of distinct genetic strains needs to be estimated, using molecular markers.

Monitoring Efforts
  Natural populations in San Luis Obispo County are monitored jointly by biologists working for California State Parks, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the San Luis Obispo Conservancy. Biologists working for Vandenberg Air Force Base and the US Fish and Wildlife Service monitor the other population.

Ex Situ Needs
  Development of an adequate and representative conservation seed collection.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Abrams, L.; Ferris, R.S. 1944. Illustrated flora of the Pacific states. Volume II. Stanford, California. Stanford University Press. 635.

Anonymous. 2008a. Vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens list. California Department of Fish and Game, Natural Diversity Database, Sacramento. Quarterly Publication. 70p.

Anonymous. 2008b. California Natural Diversity Data Base. RareFind.Version 3.1.1. Sacramento. California Department of Fish and Game.

Hoover, R.F. 1970. The vascular plants of San Luis Obispo County, California. Berkeley. University of California Press. 350.

Mason, H.L. 1957. A flora of the marshes of California. Berkeley. University of California Press. 868.

Rollins, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of continental North America. Stanford, California. Stanford University Press. 976.

Books (Sections)

Hitchcock, C.L. 1964. Arenaria. In: C. L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist, editor. Vascular plants of the Pacific northwest. 2. Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. University of Washington Press. Seattle. p597 p.

Journal Articles

Al-Shehbaz, I.; Price, R. 1988. Delimitation of the genus Nasturtium (Brassicaceae). Novon. 8: 124-126.

Al-Shehbaz, I.; Rollins, R.C. 1988. A reconsideration of Rorippa curvisiliqua and C. gambelii as species of Rorippa (Cruciferae). Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 69: 65-71.

Reports

Mazer, S.J. 2000. Arenaria paludicola (marsh sandwort: Caryophyllaceae) and Rorippa gambelii (Gambelís watercress: Brassicaceae) in Black Lake Canyon and the Oso Flaco Lake Region. Sacramento. California Department of Fish and Game. p.62.

Mazer, S.J; Waddell, T.A. 1994. Study to determine preliminary recommendations for the management and recovery of Gambelís watercress (Rorippa gambelii: Brassicaceae) and marsh sandwort (Arenaria paludicola: Caryophyllaceae). Recommendations for management and recovery. Sacramento. Report to the California Department of Fish and Game. p.141.

Parikh, A.K.; Gale, N; Rutherford, C. 1998. Recovery plan for marsh sandwort (Arenaria paludicola) and Gambelís watercress (Rorippa gambelii). Portland, Oregon. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. p.50.

Wickenheiser, L.P. 1989. Report to the Fish and Game Commission on the status of Gambel's watercress (Rorippa gambellii). Sacramento. State of California Department of Fish and Game, Endangered Plant Program, Natural Heritage Division. p.18.

Wickenheiser, L.P.; Morey, S.C. 1990. A management strategy for the recovery of Gamble's watercress (Rorippa gambellii). Sacramento. State of California Department of Fish and Game, Endangered Plant Program, Natural Heritage Division. p.19.


  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