Barneby Reed-mustard

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Barneby Reed-mustard

Schoenocrambe barnebyi

ListedJanuary 14, 1992
FamilyCruciferae (Brassicaceae)
DescriptionA perennial, herbaceous plant.
HabitatSemi-desert scrub.
ThreatsHabitat destruction and disturbance, and intrinsic risks of only two small populations.


The Barneby reed-mustard is a perennial, herbaceous plant. It has sparsely leafed stems that grow as tall as 15 in (35 cm). The leaves are narrow, with a smooth margin, and are 0.6-3.0 in (15-50 mm) long and 0.2-1.0 in (5-25 mm) wide. The leaves are arranged in alternate fashion on the stem. The flowers have light-purple petals with darker-purple veins, and measure about 0.4 in (10 mm) wide. The flowers are arranged in an open inflorescence (a raceme) at the top of the stem, containing two to eight flowers.


The Barneby reed-mustard occurs in fine-grained, clay-rich soil on steep slopes in semi-desert shrub vegetation. Its soil is rich in gypsum and selenium.


The Barneby reed-mustard is a local (or endemic) species of the Colorado River drainage of eastern Utah.


The Barneby reed-mustard is known from only two populations, with a total abundance of about 2,000 individuals. Little is known about its historical status, but it is thought to have once been more widespread and abundant. One population of the Barneby reed-mustard occurs in the San Rafael Swell in Emery County (on land managed by the Bureau of Land management), and the other in Capitol Reef National Park in Wayne County, Utah (National Parks Service). The population in the San Rafael Swell is threatened by activities associated with mining claims and their assessment, and with the potential development of commercial uranium deposits. Trampling by hikers in Capitol Reef National Park is a threat to the population there. There are also intrinsic risks associated with the species having only two small populations, which could be devastated by an unpredictable catastrophe, such as an extreme weather event.

Conservation and Recovery

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a recovery plan with the initial goal (for downlisting) of increasing the abundance of the Barneby reed-mustard to five separate populations, each supporting more than 2,000 individuals. The ultimate goal (for delisting) is to have 10 populations with more than 2,000 plants each. These goals will be achieved by protecting the population on Bureau of Land Management lands from destruction or damage caused by mining activities, and by discovering or establishing new populations of the endangered Barneby reed-mustard. Associated activities include population monitoring, and research into the biology and habitat needs of the endangered plant.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
P. O. Box 25486
Denver Federal Center
Denver, Colorado 80225

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services
145 East 1300 South Lincoln Plaza, Suite 404
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115-6110
Telephone: (801) 524-5009
Fax: 801-524-5021


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Utah Reed-Mustards: Clay Reed-Mustard (Schoenocrambe argillacea ); Barneby reed-mustard (Schoenocrambe barnebyi ); Shrubby Reed-Mustard (Schoenocrambe suffrutescens ). Region 6, Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, CO.

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Barneby Reed-mustard

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