CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Astragalus montii

Photographer:
Joyce Maschinski

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Astragalus montii


Family: 
Fabaceae  
Common Name: 
heliotrope milkvetch
Author: 
Welsh
Growth Habit: 
Forb/herb
CPC Number: 
448

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Astragalus montiienlarge
Photographer: Joyce Maschinski
jmaschinski[at]fairchildgarden.org


Astragalus montii is Fully Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.
The initial writing of this profile was funded by the U.S. Forest Service

 
Astragalus montii


Astragalus montii is a low-growing alpine herbaceous perennial. Its tiny, pinnately compound leaves are dwarfed by comparatively large, inflated pinkish-brown seed pods. Two to eight pink-purple flowers with white wing-tips form at the end of stems during the months of June to August. (Geer & Tepedino 1993)

The species perches on chalky white outcrops in some of the most beautiful mountains in Utah, the Wasatch Plateau. Unfortunately, this region has active oil and gas exploration. This species was listed as Federally Threatened species in 1987 in order to ensure that adequate care would be taken to conserve the species and its habitat during any energy development activities. (USFWS 1987)

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Utah
State Range of  Astragalus montii
Habitat
  Astragalus montii occurs in a very limited habitat of shale barrens at the timberline, from 3050 to 3350 meters in elevation. (Cronquist et al. 1989)

The subalpine communities where this species is found includes cushion plants and other scattered, low-growing species. Associates include Phlox pulvinata, Cymopterus lemmonii, Senecio canus, Hymenoxys acaulis, Astragalus kentrophyta, Eriogonum brevicaule, Erigeron ursinus, Potentilla ovina, Potentilla concinna and Arenaria rubella. (Tuhy 1996)

Distribution
  The species occurs in 3 populations within a total range of 8 miles across the Manti-LaSal National Forest in central Utah.

Number Left
  Known only from the southern Wasatch Plateau in Sanpete and Sevier Counties; estimate of 60,000 plants on White Mountain, estimate of 100,000 plants on the ridgecrest where Heliotrope Mountain merges into Ferron Mountain, and estimate of 40,000 plants on top of Heliotrope Mountain. (USFWS draft recovery plan 1995)

Protection

Global Rank:  
G2T1
 
11/20/1998
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LT
 
11/6/1987
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  UT S1 -  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Pollinated by Osmia (Tepedino 2002).

Threats
  Threats include:
mineral exploration
grazing animals
oil and gas exploration
drilling and production
harshness of the alpine environment and fluctuations in climate
levels of other competing plants
(Geer and Tepedino 1993)

Current Research Summary
  Geer and Tepedino (1993) conducted a pollination study of this species and determined that these plants are dependent on mid- to large-size, energy-demanding bees for pollination. When the number of available flowers declines in a population these pollinators are likely to look for other sources of pollen and the plants must rely on self-fertilization and autogamy.

Current Management Summary
  In 1995 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a draft recovery plan for this species.

Research Management Needs
  Further examination of population sizes is needed.
Futher research into basic biology and habitat requirements of the species is needed.

Monitoring Efforts
  Not Available

Ex Situ Needs
  More cross-year collections are needed to assure good genetic representation from the 3 populations.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Cronquist, A.; Holmgren, N.H.; Holmgren, P.K. 1989. Intermountain Flora, Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Bronx, New York: New York 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.

Tepedino, V.J. 2002. Section III. Environmental Monitoring. III.5 The Reproductive Biology of Rare Rangeland Plants and Their Vulnerability to Insecticides. Grasshoppers: Their biology, identification and management, User Handbook.

Conference Proceedings

Geer, S.M.; Tepedino, V.J. Breeding Systems of the Rare Heliotrope Milkvetch (Astrgalus montii Welsh: Fabaceae) and Two Common Congeners. Proceedings of the Southwestern Rare and Endangered Plant Conference; 30 March - 2 April; Santa Fe, NM. In: Sivinski, R.; Lightfoot, K., editors. 1992. New Mexico Forestry and Resources Conservation Division. p 334-344.

Electronic Sources

(2002). Rare Plant Profiles. [Searchable Web site] State of Utah Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. http://www.utahcdc.usu.edu/rsgis2/Search/SearchSelection.asp?Group=PLANT&Species=PLANT. Accessed: 2002.

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).

Journal Articles

1988. Threatened and Endangered Plants Summary. Sego Lily: Newsletter of the Utah Native Plant Society. 15: 2.

Geer, S.M.; Tepedino, V.J.; Griswold, T.L.; Bowlin, W.R. 1995. Pollinator sharing by three sympatric milkvetches, including the endangered species, Astragalus montii. Great Basin Naturalist. 55, 1: 19-28.

Tuhy, J.S. 1996. Astragalus montii. Sego Lily: Newsletter of the Utah Native Plant Society. 19, 4

USFWS. 1981. Proposed Endangered Status and Critical Habitat for Astragalus montii (Heliotrope milkvetch). Federal Register. 46, 8: 3188-3190.

USFWS. 1981. Recently Discovered Plant Proposed for Protection. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 6, 2: 1, 3.

USFWS. 1983. Endangered Plant Briefs. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 8, 10: 7-8.

USFWS. 1983. Public Hearing and Reopening of Comment Period on Endangered Status and Critical Habitat for Astragalus montii (Heliotrope milkvetch). Federal Register. 48, 167

USFWS. 1987. Final Listing Rules Approved for 10 Species. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 12, 11-12: 8.

USFWS. 1987. Final rule to determine Astragalus montii (heliotrope milkvetch) to be a threatened species, with designation of critical habitat. Federal Register. 52, 215: 42652-42657.

Reports

Tuhy, J.S. 1988. Astragalus montii Welsh (Heliotrope milkvetch) on the Ferron Ranger District, Manti-La Sal National Forest: Final report of 1988 Challenge Grant Project. Salt Lake City: Utah Natural Heritage Program. p.53 + appendices.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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