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Ione Buckwheat

Eriogonum apricum var. apricum Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum

Status Endangered
Listed May 26, 1999
Family Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Description Perennial herb; Irish Hill buckwheat is low-growing; Ione buckwheat has larger leaves and a white calyx.
Habitat On barren outcrops within the Ionechaparral primarily in western Amador County in the central Sierra Nevada foothills.
Threats Mining, clearing of vegetation for agriculture and for fire protection, habitat fragmentation, increased residential development, and erosion.
Range California

Description

Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum was described in 1955 based on a specimen collected in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Ione, California. In 1970 another variety of Ione buckwheat (E. apricum var. apricum ) was described.

Both varieties, E. apricum vars. apricum and prostratum, are perennial herbs in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). E. apricum var. apricum is glabrous (smooth, without hairs or glands) and grows upright to 3-8 in (7.6-20.3 cm) in height. Its leaves are basal, round to oval, and 0.1-0.2 in (2.5-5.2 mm) wide. The calyx (outer whorl of flower parts) is white with reddish midribs. It flowers from July to October.

E. apricum var. prostratum, has smaller leaves, a prostrate (low growing) habit, and an earlier flowering time than E. apriucm var. apricum.

Habitat

Ione buckwheat is found on barren outcrops within the Ione chaparral primarily in western Amador County in the central Sierra Nevada foothills at elevations between 295 and 918 ft (90 and 280 m).

Distribution

E. apriucm var. apricum is known from only nine verified populations covering an estimated total of 9 acres (3.6 hectares) of habitat.

The two known occurrences of E. apriucm var. prostratum are restricted to otherwise barren out-crops on less than 1 acre (0.4 hectare) in openings of Ione chaparral on private land.

Threats

Mining, clearing of vegetation for agriculture and for fire protection, habitat fragmentation, increased residential development, and erosion variously threaten the occurrences of the Ione buckwheat plant. Clay mining threatens one of the two remaining occurrences of E. apriucm var. prostratum. The second occurrence is not protected and potentially could be mined as well.

Although residential development poses a significant long-term threat to these species given the substantial commercial and residential growth of nearby Sacramento, the more immediate threat to the E. apriucm var. apricum is the continued extraction of mineral resources from soils that support the species. Ninety-five percent of all lands that support this variety are in private ownership subject to ongoing and future mining activities. Mining operations are not required under state law to include locally native plants into their reclamation plans if these species are not compatible with the desired land use of the reclaimed site (e.g., grazing, water storage, or intensive agriculture).

Additionally, E. apriucm var. apricum occurs in the same general area and on similar substrates as Ione manzanita, which has been vandalized. Because of its few populations, this buckwheat is especially vulnerable to impacts from loss of individuals or habitat damage due to vandalism.

Conservation and Recovery

Of the nine known occurrences of E. apriucm var. apricum, one is partially protected by California Department of Fish and Game. Ione buckwheat occurs primarily on private or non-federal land, although the U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages one occurrence.

Contact

Regional Office of Endangered Species
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Eastside Federal Comple
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232
http://pacific.fws.gov/

Reference

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 26 May 1999. "Determination of Endangered Status for the Plant E. apricum (inclusive of vars. apricum and prostratum ) (Ione Buckwheat) and Threatened Status for the Plant Arctostaphylos myrtifolia (Ione Manzanita)." Federal Register 61 (101): 28403-28413.

Ione Buckwheat

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