Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Known from Delta and Montrose counties, Colorado. Estimated range is 420 square kilometers, calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences. Imprecisely reported occurrences are not included.

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eriogonum clavellatum Small:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eriogonum pelinophilum Reveal:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Colo.
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Colo., N.Mex., Utah.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Historic Range:
U.S.A. (CO)

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Subshrubs, spreading, not scapose, 0.5-1(-1.2) × 0.8-3(-4) dm, floccose or glabrous, grayish. Stems spreading, without persistent leaf bases, up to 1/ 3 height of plant; caudex stems absent or compact; aerial flowering stems spreading to erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, 0.05-0.1 dm, thinly floccose or glabrous. Leaves cauline, 1 per node; petiole 0.05-0.1 cm, floccose; blade oblanceolate, 0.5-1.2(-1.5) × 0.08-0.2(-0.3) cm, densely white-tomentose abaxially, subglabrous or glabrous and green adaxially, margins tightly revolute. Inflorescences cymose, compact, 0.1-2 × 1-3 cm; branches dichotomous, thinly floccose or glabrous; bracts 3, scalelike, triangular, 0.5-1 mm. Peduncles absent or erect, 0.1-0.5 cm, floccose or glabrous. Involucres 1 per node, narrowly turbinate, (2-)2.5-3.5 × 1-1.5 mm, floccose or glabrous; teeth 5, erect, 0.3-0.4 mm. Flowers (2.5-)3-3.5 mm; perianth cream, glabrous; tepals connate proximal 1/ 2, essentially monomorphic, oblong; stamens slightly exserted, 2.5-4 mm; filaments sparsely pilose proximally. Achenes light brown, 3-3.5 mm, glabrous. 2n = 40.
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Description

Subshrubs, spreading, not scapose, 1-2.5 × 3-8 dm, thinly floccose or glabrous, greenish to grayish. Stems spreading, with-out persistent leaf bases, up to 1/ 3 height of plant; caudex stems compact; aerial flowering stems spreading to erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, 0.06-0.2(-2.5) dm, thinly floccose or glabrous. Leaves cauline, 1 per node or fasciculate; petiole 0.05-0.1 cm, tomentose to floccose, rarely glabrous; blade oblanceolate, 1-1.5(-2) × 0.08-0.2 cm, densely white-tomentose abaxially, thinly tomentose and grayish or rarely glabrous and green adaxially, margins tightly revolute. Inflorescences umbellate to cymose, compact, 0.5-2 × 1-2 cm; branches dichotomous, thinly floccose or glabrous; bracts 3, scalelike, triangular, 1.5-2.5(-3) mm. Peduncles erect, 0.15-0.8 cm, glabrous. Involucres 1 per node, turbinate-campanulate, (3-)3.5-4.5(-5) × 2.5-4.5 mm, glabrous; teeth 5, erect, 0.6-0.9(-1.1) mm. Flowers (2.5-)3-3.5 mm; perianth white, glabrous; tepals connate proximal 4- 3, dimorphic, those of outer whorl broadly obovate to nearly fan-shaped, 2-2.5 mm wide, those of inner whorl slightly shorter and oblanceolate to spatulate, 0.9-1.5 mm wide; stamens long-exserted, 3-6 mm; filaments sparsely pilose proximally. Achenes light brown, 3-3.5 mm, glabrous.
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Diagnostic Description

Eriogonum pelinophilum differs from the similar E. clavellatum in that the latter is larger (10-20 cm vs. 5-10 cm high) and has glabrous stems with involucres 4.0-4.5 mm long vs. floccose to glabrous stems and involucres 3.0-3.5 mm long (Weber 1987).

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Type Information

Holotype for Eriogonum clavellatum Small
Catalog Number: US 267299
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Eastwood
Year Collected: 1895
Locality: Barton Range, probably south west of bluff near river., San Juan, Utah, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Small, J. K. 1898. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 25: 48.
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Holotype for Eriogonum pelinophilum Reveal
Catalog Number: US 2632304
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. L. Reveal & C. Reveal
Year Collected: 1972
Locality: 3 mi W of Lazear., Delta, Colorado, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Reveal, J. L. 1973. Great Basin Naturalist. 33: 120.
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Ecology

Habitat

Heavy clay flats and slopes, saltbush communities; of conservation concern; 1600-1900m.
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Sandy to heavy clay washes and slopes, saltbush communities; of conservation concern; 1300-1800m.
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Comments: Sandy to heavy clay washes, hills, and slopes; also on shales. Occurs on the Cutler Formation as well as the Mancos Shale Formation. Found within shadscale, blackbrush, and saltbush communities. Co-occurring species include Astragalus cronquistii and Astragalus tortipes. 1300-1800 m.

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Comments: Whitish, alkaline clay soils on Mancos shale. Vegetation is a sparse salt desert shrub community. 1580-1950 m elevation.

Eriogonum pelinophilum is found in substrates derived from the Mancos Formation shales. The entire area is typified by rolling adobe (clay) hills and flats. Generally, the plants are found in a sharply defined soil microhabitat with shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), on mid to lower slopes of the hills. The soil types are part of the Billings Series, known for its fine texture and weak and unstable structure. These soils are calcareous throughout and in some places have visible accumulations of calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate (Cline et al. 1967). Steeper barren slopes (badlands) are above, with flatlands below dominated by mat saltbush (A. corrugata) (Cline et al. 1967, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1988). The change from the lower slope soils to the flatland soils is characterized by a jump in soil sulfate level (from <100 ppm to 1650 ppm) and sodium level (Potter et. al. 1985). Clay soils have a high water holding capacity, but this moisture is not readily available to plants (Barbour et. al. 1980, cit. in O'Kane 1985). Rainfall in the E. pelinophilum habitat averages 7-10 inches annually, further contributing to the low moisture availability (Colorado Climate Center 1984). Eriogonum pelinophilum generally prefers swales and bottoms where useable moisture is more available (O'Kane 1985). The locality elevations vary from 5180-6350 ft (CNAP 1990). Because of the low moisture availability, communities in which E. pelinophilum occur are characterized by low species diversity, low productivity and minimal canopy cover. Eriogonum pelinophilum is codominant with other xerophytic shrubs or subshrubs such as shadscale, the rare Penstemon retrorsus, Castle Valley clover (Atriplex cuneata), mat saltbush, black sagebrush (Artemesia nova) and Xylorhiza venusta (Neely 1985, O'Kane 1985). The communities are apparently stable, climax associations, judging from the lack of invading species capable of dominating the sites.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: There are 19 principal occurrences documented in the Colorado Natural Heritage Program database. Five of the occurrences have not been observed in over 20 years, and one can not be relocated (as of 2012).

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General Ecology

Results from the Colorado Natural Areas Program (CNAP) monitoring program on ERIGONUM PELINOPHILUM (1987, 1988) provide previously unknown information about E. PELINOPHILUM biology and ecology. The program is in its 3rd of 12 years, so data collected thus far may not accurately portray the species' life characteristics over time. Preliminary conclusions are: i) E. PELINOPHILUM is a long-lived perennial with a probable population turnover rate of approximately 20-50 years, ii) flowering, and therefore reproduction, does not occur until an individual plant reaches a critical size of approximately 100 cm2, iii) plant density does not appear to be limiting the success of E. PELINOPHILUM (i.e. plants with close neighbors have life characteristics comparable to solitary plants), iv) E. PELINOPHILUM appears to be distributed randomly among its associated species, v) after 2 years, the average mortality rate per year was 2.7 percent, and the average recruitment rate per year was 4.6 percent.

Unless otherwise noted, the following is from O'Kane (1985). Densities of E. PELINOPHILUM range from 75-500 individuals per acre (180 per acre average). Because the plants prefer swales and lower slopes, those smaller areas have a considerably higher density than the per acre densities calculated above. Pollination agents are not precisely known, though ants have been observed pollinating other Eriogonum species. Flowers are proandrous, with the androecium maturing 1-2 days before the stigma is receptive. Seed dispersal is usually passive, either being consumed or carried by animals, windblown, or moved by gravity or water. Flowering occurs in June-July, fruiting in late June-early August. All Eriogonum species studied thus far have seeds that require a cold period to break dormancy (not necessarily a freeze), and some Eriogonum species have seeds with a 5 year shelf life (Reveal undated, cit. in O'Kane 1985).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering May-Jul.
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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering May-Jul.
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Reproduction

Flowers are protandrous. Each individual flower is short-lived (about 30-42 hours), but the bloom period at the plant and population level is relatively long: individual plants have open flowers for 3-6 weeks, and one large population near Montrose, Colorado had open flowers from late May through early September (Bowlin et al. 1993).

E. pelinophilum requires an insect pollinator in order to set seed (Bowlin et al. 1993). Experimental study showed that the species is self-compatible (sets viable seed when pollen is transferred between flowers on the same plant); the authors believe that "pollinators moving from male-stage to female-stage flowers on the same plant will occasionally effect pollination" (Bowlin et al. 1993). Pollinators also frequently move between plants, resulting in a mixed breeding system with some pollination from other flowers on the same plant and some from flowers on different plants (Bowlin et al. 1993).

A wide variety of insects visit and probably pollinate the flowers. Over 50 species of insects, about half of them native bees, were recorded foraging on E. pelinophilium in one large population near Montrose, Colorado (Bowlin et al. 1993). 18 species of ants were observed foraging; most were either harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex occidentalis) or aphid-tending ants (Formica spp., most often F. obtusipilosa), with the aphid-tending ants generally carrying pollen more often and further than the harvester ants, especially early in the season (Bowlin et al. 1993). Both ants and flying insects appear to be effective pollinators, with a field experiment showing no significant difference in seed set among flowers visited only by ants, only by flying insects, or by both groups (Bowlin et al. 1993).

Most seed is dispersed locally (Bowlin et al. 1993).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 07/13/1984
Lead Region:   Mountain-Prairie Region (Region 6) 
Where Listed:


Population detail:

Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Eriogonum pelinophilum, see its USFWS Species Profile

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Large numbers of individuals over a small range and restricted to a very specific habitat. Known from 19 occurrences with threats at almost every location; some occurrences are reported to be extirpated (Reveal 2003).

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Monitoring of a few populations was conducted by TNC, FWS and CNAP beginning in 1980. TNC completed it's monitoring program in 1994. They reported the monitored population at Wacker Ranch to be stable (Carpenter and Schultz 1994). The CNAP monitoring program was designed to monitor the impacts of winter sheep grazing, however, there was no control plot, and the study was abandoned in 1989 (Coles 2003). In 2008 monitoring was reinstated to attempt to repeat the demographic study conducted in 1990-94 by Alan Carpenter and Terri Schultz/TNC. Results show that both the number of individuals and the average size of plants increased significantly between 1990 and 2008 at the monitoring site (Lyon 2008). However, many other occurrences in Montrose County have been extirpated or undergone recent degradation due to residential development (Reveal 2003).

Global Long Term Trend: Unknown

Comments: Eriogonum pelinophilum appears to be a long-lived plant, with a calculated half-life of nearly 200 years (Carpenter and Schultz 1994). However, it is facing extreme pressure from residential and agricultural development, and occurrences have been extirpated.

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Threats

Degree of Threat: Very high - high

Comments: Fragmentation of Eriogonum pelinophilum habitat into small units of possibly nonviable population size is the greatest threat at this time (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1988). Habitats are being destroyed by rapid encroachment of irrigated agricultural land and residential development. Known occurrences are reported to be extirpated or have undergone recent degradation due to residential development (Reveal 2003). Subsequent impacts such as road building and off-road vehicle use are also significant threats. A large portion of the critical habitat type is on public land and is not in danger of being developed. However, due to the close proximity of human development, many of these sites suffer from right-of-way access, off-road vehicle use and overgrazing. These activities not only endanger known populations, but also damage or destroy potential habitat recovery areas. Other threats include gas and oil exploration, pipelines and new irrigation canals, which often skirt the bases of the adobe hills, potentially interfering with E. pelinophilum habitats (Neeley 1985, O'Kane 1985, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1988).

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Management

Restoration Potential: Due to the highly fragmented nature of many of the Eriogonum pelinophilum populations, the potential for recovery into viable populations is severely limited. Agricultural and residential developments often occupy potential habitat recovery areas. Some of the larger populations on public land have potential for recovery, provided they are managed to control off-road-vehicle use and overgrazing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has written a recovery plan for E. pelinophilum, but it has not yet been implemented.

Management Requirements: This species requires intensive monitoring and oversight to insure that no more habitat is destroyed. The top priority is protection of remaining large populations. The occurrences on public lands (mainly Bureau of Land Management) should be actively monitored to eliminate off-road vehicle use and overgrazing. Rapid encroachment of residential and agricultural development on private lands makes these public lands even more vital for maintaining viable Eriogonum pelinophilum populations. A public awareness program should be initiated, and any possible viable populations on private land ought to be actively pursued as possible preserve sites.

Eliminate threats of grazing, residential and agricultural development, and recreational use (off-road vehicles). The Bureau of Land Management has allowed grazing to continue on their lands containing E. pelinophilum habitat, and will continue, unless studies determine the plants or their potential habitats are being damaged (Bureau of Land Management 1989). The Nature Conservancy has eliminated all use of a preserve except for the monitoring program.

Management Programs: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released an Eriogonum pelinophilum recovery plan in 1988. It outlines needed scientific research, key threats to the species and proposes measures to eliminate those threats, with the objective of downlisting or delisting the species from the Endangered Species list.

The Bureau of Land Management released its Uncompahgre Basin Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision in July, 1989. This plan completes the designation process for the Fairview RNA/ACEC. The plan prohibits surface occupancy of the RNA for oil, gas or mineral extraction, but not grazing or utility facilities (above ground). Grazing will continue, unless studies determine the E. pelinophilum plants or their potential habitats are being damaged (Bureau of Land Management 1989).

Monitoring Programs: The Colorado Natural Areas Program is currently conducting a 12 year monitoring program in the Bureau of Land Management's Fairview RNA. Performance reports have been written for 1987 and 1988. Following the 1988 survey, the monitoring interval was increased to every three years, based on the slow rate of change in individual plants. The Nature Conservancy will initiate a monitoring program on a preserve in 1990, and will work with the Colorado Natural Areas Program to correlate information from both programs.

Management Research Needs:

Baseline information is needed to determine the conditions necessary for the long-term protection of the species. The Colorado Natural Areas Program initiated a 12 year monitoring program on Eriogonum pelinophilum in 1987. Its objective was to answer the following questions:

1. What is the density, frequency and dominance of associated species in each plot?

2. What are the life history characteristics of E. pelinophilum? (ie. recruitment, mortality, growth rate, reproductive success and population dynamics)

3. What are the micro-habitat requirements? (ie. soil texture, soil chemistry and nearest neighbor distance and composition)

4. Determine the relationship between population and habitat characteristics.

It is important with the current status of this species to determine viable population sizes, so that those populations above the minimum can be the focus of recovery efforts.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's E. pelinophilum recovery plan (1988) also outlines needed scientific research.

Biological Research Needs: A research program in Eriogonum pelinophilum genetics is needed to help determine minimum viable population requirements. Transition probabilities between different plant stages (i.e., seed to seed, seed to seedling, etc.) and viable seed production data are also required.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Stewardship Overview: Elimination of threats from publicly held land containing current or potential E. pelinophilum habitat. Initiate monitoring program at one site and correlate information with Colorado Natural Area Program's monitoring program. Initiate research necessary to determine minimum viable population size and identify viable populations for future protection.

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Wikipedia

Eriogonum pelinophilum

Eriogonum pelinophilum is a rare species of wild buckwheat known by the common name clay-loving wild buckwheat. It is endemic to the state of Colorado in the United States, where it is known from only two counties.[1] The most recent estimates available suggest there are 12 occurrences in existence for a total of about 278,000 individual plants in Delta and Montrose Counties.[1] At least 7 occurrences observed in the past have not been relocated but are not yet believed extirpated.[1] This plant is federally listed as an endangered species of the United States.[2]

This plant was first collected in 1958 but proved difficult to relocate in the wild.[3] When it was finally found, Eriogonum expert James L. Reveal examined it in the field, compared it to the similar buckwheat Eriogonum contortum, and named it as a new species in 1973.[3] Recent genetic analysis confirms that these two species and Eriogonum clavellatum are indeed similar but are 3 distinct species.[1]

The clay-loving wild buckwheat is known only from the adobe clay hills and flats near Delta and Montrose, Colorado. All the occurrences can be found within an area of land 28.5 miles long by 11.5 miles wide. The substrate is pale whitish clay with an alkaline pH that originated from Cretaceous marine sediment. This is not generally a soil type that is hospitable to most plant life; it is very fine-grained, dense, compacted, rich in calcium carbonate, and prone to shrinking and swelling. The soil does not retain water, the pH is high, it is not easy for roots to penetrate, and there is little oxygen. The clay-loving wild buckwheat grows in areas where some moisture is retained, such as swales, where snow persists a bit longer. The habitat supports a few other plants that tolerate the landscape, including mat saltbrush (Atriplex corrugata) and black sagebrush (Artemisia nova), and another adobe-adapted local endemic, the Adobe Hills beardtongue (Penstemon retrorsa). In most areas, the clay-loving buckwheat is the dominant species.[1]

This is a subshrub with branches spreading wider than they grow tall, the plant reaching perhaps 12 centimeters tall by 40 wide. The woody stem bases emerge from a big taproot, and as they age the bark comes off in strips or plates. The upper branches are hairless or tufted with bits of hair. There are solitary leaves widely spaced on the branches. They are lance-shaped, no more than 1.5 centimeters long, and hairy on the undersides. The inflorescence is a small, dense cyme of flowers 2 or 3 centimeters long and packed with tiny whitish or cream-colored flowers.[3][4][5] The flowers are pollinated by ants,[4] of which 18 species have been observed on the plants.[6]

This plant has a limited distribution and is found only on a specific substrate. 75% of its habitat is on privately owned land with little protection.[1] Its limited range is threatened by a number of forces. Nearby towns have experienced rapid growth, which has led to an expansion of residential areas with construction of houses, power lines and other utilities, and roads. The area lies within the Uncompahgre River Valley, which hosts agricultural operations fed by a number of canals and ditches. These have access roads. The construction and maintenance of the canals and roads create disturbance in the habitat and help introduce invasive plants to the area. Sediment scooped from the canals is dumped in the plant's habitat. About 40% of the plant's total habitat is affected by these activities.[1] Off-road vehicle use damages the landscape by compacting and eroding soil, creating dust, fragmenting the habitat, and crushing individual plants.[1] The adobe clay substrate is easily broken and eroded because it is bare and contains few plant roots to hold it together. ORV use is currently prohibited in much of the plant's habitat, but if federal protection was removed the threat would be greater.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i USFWS. Eriogonum pelinophilum Five-year Review. September 2009.
  2. ^ Eriogonum pelinophilum. The Nature Conservancy.
  3. ^ a b c Reveal, J. L. (1973). A new subfruticose Eriogonum (Polygonaceae) from western Colorado. Great Basin Naturalist. 33, 2: 120-122.
  4. ^ a b Eriogonum pelinophilum. Flora of North America.
  5. ^ Reveal, Eriogonum pelinophilum. Taxonomic Treatment of Eriogonoideae (Polygonaceae).
  6. ^ Center for Plant Conservation
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Notes

Comments

Eriogonum pelinophilum is a federally listed endangered species with designated critical habitat. It is known only from Mancos Shale hills in Delta and Montrose counties. Much of the former habitat in the Montrose, Colorado, area has been destroyed since the species was listed in 1984. The type locality in Delta County was largely destroyed in 2001 by off-road vehicle activities in the designated critical habitat. A small population is preserved at the Fairview Natural Area east of Montrose.  

Eriogonum pelinophilum is similar to E. clavellatum although the two are well-separated geographically. It is a smaller plant than E. clavellatum in habit. The flowers of E. clavellatum lack the pronounced, rounded, greenish-red to brownish-red base of the perianth seen in E. pelinophilum, and the tepals are distinctly dimorphic in E. clavellatum whereas they are essentially monomorphic in E. pelinophilum. Ants actively pollinate the flowers, being involved with both self- and cross-pollination. Some 50 additional visitors were found associated with the flowers, but none was confirmed as a pollinator (W. R. Bowlin et al. 1993).

The species is in the Center for Plant Conservation's National Collection of Endangered Plants.

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Eriogonum clavellatum is relatively rare, known only from a few sites in the Four Corners area of San Juan County, Utah, Montezuma County, Colorado, and San Juan County, New Mexico. It has yet to be found in Arizona. The Comb Wash wild buckwheat is considered a “sensitive” species by the Bureau of Land Management throughout its range.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Kartesz (1999) includes the federally listed Eriogonum pelinophilum in E. clavellatum.

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Comments: Considered distinct by Kartesz in his 1994 checklist, by USFWS (federally listed), and by Colorado Heritage; included in the species Eriogonum clavellatum by Kartesz in his 1999 Floristic Synthesis, following the recommendation of Jim Reveal. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2005) and USDA PLANTS (2008) recognize E. pelinophilum and E. clavellatum as distinct. Weber states that E. clavellatum is known from the Four Corners area, while E. pelinophilum occurs in the vicinity of Delta, Colorado.

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