Oreocarya osterhoutii
Author: (Payson) Payson


Osterhout cat's-eye


Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Close up of Oreocarya osterhoutii by Peggy Lyon.
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Close up of Oreocarya osterhoutii by Loraine Yeatts.
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Close up of Oreocarya osterhoutii by Terry Bridgman.
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Taxonomic Comments

=Cryptantha osterhoutii

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2G3
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Please see 1997 profile.

General description: Low, perennial, taprooted plants about 10 cm tall, often caespitose. Flowers white with well developed yellow fornices, and a short corolla tube. Basal leaves are oblanceolate. Plants covered with white hairs. Style exceeds the mature nutlet by less than 1mm. Nutlet scar is open, constricted below the middle (Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2015).

Look Alikes: This species is easily distinguishable from others, but "its distinctive aspect is hard to describe effectively" (Cronquist 1984). This is one of the most distinct in the Oreocarya genus because of its small size (Higgins 1971).

Phenology: Flowers April-early June (Cronquist 1984, Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2015). Fruits mature by mid-June (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2015).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Oreocarya osterhoutii by Loraine Yeatts.
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Dry, barren sites, in reddish-purple decomposed sandstone (Spackman et al. 1997), often with juniper or sagebrush communities (Ackerfield 2015). Associated plant species include: Coleogyne ramosissima, Fraxinus anomala, Purshia stansburiana, Lepidium montanum, Mirabilis multiflora, Tetraneuris ivesiana, Cryptantha flava, Castilleja scabrida, Astragalus wingatanus, and Astragalus lentiginosus.

Elevation Range: 4,442 - 6,506 feet (1,354 - 1,983 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Oreocarya osterhoutii in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2015, COMaP v9). Private is 2%.
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Distribution of Oreocarya osterhoutii in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: This species occurs in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona (Heil et al. 2013). The species is known from Mesa County (type locality) in western Colorado (Spackman et al. 1997; Weber and Wittmann 1992) and Emery, Grand, Wayne, Garfield and San Juan counties in southeastern Utah (Welsh et al. 1993). Occurs in Apache and Navajo Counties in Arizona (Heil et al. 2013).
State range: Known from Mesa County in Colorado. Estimated range in Colorado is 751 square kilometers (290 square miles), calculated in GIS by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008 by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences. Also known from four counties in Utah, and two counties in northeastern Arizona.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Oreocarya osterhoutii based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “Moderately Conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
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The primary threat at this time is considered to be recreation/hiking (Rondeau et al. 2011). It is not known if all of the occurrences are or are not threatened by these activities. Most of the occurrences are within Colorado National Monument and the BLM Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Study Area and Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area. The plant grows within pinyon juniper in dry barren areas. No specific threats are documented. The species is known from BLM and private lands, and is listed on the BLM State Sensitive Species List (BLM 2010). 

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2015. Flora of Colorado. Brit Press, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX. 818 pp.
    • 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
    • Cronquist, A., A.H. Holmgren, N.H. Holmgren, J.L. Reveal, and P.K. Holmgren. 1984. Intermountain Flora: Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4, Subclass Asteridae (except Asteraceae). New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 573 pp.
    • Heil, K.D, S.L. O'Kane Jr., L.M. Reeves, and A. Clifford. 2013. Flora of the Four Corners Region. Vascular Plants of the San Juan River Drainage: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, Vol. 124, Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, MO. xvi + 1098 pp.
    • Higgins, L.C. 1971. A revision of Cryptantha subgenus Oreocarya. Brigham Young University Science Bulletin. Volume 13:1-63.
    • 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.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.
    • Panjabi, S., B. Neely and P. Lyon. 2011. Preliminary Conservation Action Plan for Rare Plants in the Gateway Priority Action Areas. Prepared by The Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Unpublished report prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 29 pp.
    • Rondeau, R., K. Decker, J. Handwerk, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, and C. Pague. 2011. The state of Colorado's biodiversity 2011. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2012b. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, a field guide to the vascular plants, fourth edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L.C. Higgins (eds.) 1993. A Utah flora. 2nd edition. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah. 986 pp.

Last Updated

2015-06-10