Heuchera richardsonii
Author: R. Br.

Richardson's alum-root

Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Close up of Heuchera richardsonii by Denise Culver.
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Close up of Heuchera richardsonii by Delia Malone.
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Ranks and Status

Global rank: G5
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Heuchera richardsonii from Britton and Brown 1913.
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General description: Herbaceous plants, acaulescent, with caudex branched. Flowering stems (7-) 20-95 cm, densely long stipitate-glandular. Leaves: petiole densely or sparsely long or short stipitate-glandular; blade broadly ovate or cordate, deeply 5-7-lobed, 2.5-10 cm, margins dentate, apex acute, surfaces long stipitate-glandular abaxially, glabrous or long stipitate-glandular adaxially. Inflorescences dense to spreading. Flowers: hypanthium strongly bilaterally symmetric, green, campanulate, 5-14 mm long, short stipitate-glandular; sepals erect, green-tipped, equal, apex rounded; petals erect, green or greenish white, rarely pink, narrowly spatulate, unlobed, 1.3-4.2 mm long, margins finely dentate, coarsely fimbriate, or moderately erose at the tips (Flora of North America 2009, Ackerfield 2015).

Look Alikes: Other species in the genus Heuchera have entire petals, and more weakly zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical) or actinomorphic (radially symmetrical) flower shapes (Ackerfield 2015). Heuchera richardsonii flowers are strongly bilaterally symetrical.

Phenology: Flowers from June through July (Ackerfield 2015).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Heuchera richardsonii housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

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[+] Habitat

Habitat photo of Heuchera richardsonii by Delia Malone.
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In Colorado, occurs in dry to moist sites in low elevation Ponderosa pine woodlands and meadows. Additional associated species include: Sporobolus heterolepis, Danthonia parryii, Andropogon gerardii, Stipa spartea, Chondrosum gracile, Oreobatus deliciosus, Cercocarpus montanus, Koeleria macrantha, Drymocallis fissa, Quercus gambellii, Prunus virginiana, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Jamesia americana, Cystopteris fragilis, Tortella tortuosa, Rosa woodsiiArctostaphylos uva-ursi, Muhlenbergia montana, Blepharoneuron tricolepsis, Maianthemum stellatum, Iris missourensis, Thermopsis montanaAgrostis stolonifera, Salix exigua, Calamagrostis canadensisDanthonia spicata, and Carex inops (Colorado Natural Heritage Program occurrence records 2017). 

Elevation Range: 6,942 - 7,611 feet (2,116 - 2,320 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Heuchera richardsonii in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2017, COMaP).
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Distribution of Heuchera richardsonii in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Central and mid-western United States and north into Canada.  Known from N.W.T. and British Columbia east to Ontario and south to Indiana, Oklahoma, and Colorado (Flora of North America 2009, USDA NRCS 2017).
State range: In Colorado, known from Douglas, El Paso, and Fremont  counties (Ackerfield 2015, USDA NRCS 2017, Colorado Natural Heritage Program occurrence data as of 2017).

[+] Threats and Management Issues

The species is threatened by urban development, which may extirpate the species in Colorado (Weber and Wittmann 2012). In one area it is being trampled by hikers and management will probably be implemented to protect this area. Other sites report light cattle grazing and invasion of toadflax and other non-native plants (Colorado Natural Heritage Program occurrence records 2017). Colorado climate scenarios for 2050 suggest temperature will increase by 3-7 F and precipitation may decrease or increase. The impact to any given rare plant habitat is likely to vary. Long-term monitoring that includes weather and soil moisture data is critical to understanding climate impacts.

[+] References

    • Beardsley, M. and D. A. Steingraeber. 2013. Population dynamics, rarity and risk of extirpation for populations of Mimulus gemmiparus (budding monkeyflower) on National Forests of Colorado. A research report submitted to the USFS Forest Service. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forets and Pawnee National Grassland. pp 17. Accessed online on May 11 at: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/Rare_Plants/profiles/Critically_Imperiled/mimulus_gemmiparus/ documents/USFS_MimulusStatusReport2013.pdf
    • Britton, N. L. and A. Brown. 1913. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada. 3 vol. Dover Publications, Inc., N. Y. 2052 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program and the Geospatial Centroid. 2017. The Colorado Ownership and Protection Map (COMaP). Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2009. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 8. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, PLANTS Database [USDA PLANTS]. http://plants.usda.gov/. Accessed 2017.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.

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