Aletes lithophilus
Author: Mathias


Rock-loving neoparrya


Apiaceae (Carrot Family)

Close up of Aletes lithophilus by Jim McCain.
Click image to enlarge.

Close up of Aletes lithophilus by Jim McCain.
Click image to enlarge.

Taxonomic Comments

=Neoparya lithophila (Ackerfiled 2015).  Weber and Wittmann (2012) list as Aletes lithophilus (Mathias) W.A. Weber; Ackerfield (2015) lists as Neoparya lithophila Mathias.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S3
Federal protection status: USFS Sensitive, BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Please see 1997 profile.

General description: An herbaceous perennial that produces new leaves and leafless inflorescences each year. The plants grow in clumps, are taprooted, and 8 to 29 cm tall. Large clumps of vegetation more than two feet in diameter can form, but it is sometimes unclear whether these clumps are a single individual or represent multiple individuals that have coalesced. Plants have thick, glossy, leathery leaves that are once pinnate, with linear, remote pinnae that are 5 to 32 millimeters long and 1.5 to 4 millimeters broad (Anderson 2004). Fruit are oblong, 3-5 mm long, not winged. Some umbel rays are reflexed (Spackman et al. 1997).


Neoparrya lithophila is an herbaceous perennial that produces new leaves and leafless inflorescences each year. The plants grow in clumps, are taprooted, and 8 to 29 cm tall. Large clumps of vegetation more than two feet in diameter can form, but it is sometimes unclear whether these clumps are a single individual or represent multiple individuals that have coalesced. Neoparrya lithophila has thick, glossy, leathery leaves that are once pinnate, with linear, remote pinnae that are 5 to 32 millimeters long and 1.5 to 4 millimeters broad (Anderson 2004).

Look Alikes: Aletes acaulis lateral leaf lobes are broad and incised with flaring tips. Aletes acaulis and A. anisatus do not have reflexed umbel rays which give the inflorescence of A. lithophilus a ball-shaped appearance. Aletes anisatus has a strong anise odor (Spackman et al. 1997).

Phenology: This species flowers from May through early July; fruiting late June to September (Spackman et al. 1997, Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2015).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Aletes lithophilus by Jim McCain.
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Habitat of Aletes lithophilus by Jim McCain.
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Grows on volcanic substrates, in cracks or shelves usually with minimal talus. It is seen in moderate to steep rock outcrops, or outcrops of volcanic soils. It also occurs on sedimentary rock derived from extrusive volcanics (Dry Union Formation at Salida). The surrounding habitat is typically grasslands or pinon-juniper woodlands. Associated taxa often include: Festuca, Artemisia, Muhlenbergia, Hymenoxys, and Ribes (Neely 1986; O'Kane, 1986). Although this species is found on all aspects, reports in element occurrence records suggest that it favors north slopes (Anderson 2004). This species occurs east and (mostly) west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Average rainfall is about 7 to 16 inches (180-410 mm) annually.

Elevation Range: 7,169 - 10,269 feet (2,185 - 3,130 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Aletes lithophilus in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2015, COMaP v9).
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Distribution of Aletes lithophilus in Colorado.
Click image to enlarge.

Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Mostly in south central Colorado where it is restricted to seven counties: Chaffee, Conejos, Fremont, Huerfano, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache. Also reported from one site in New Mexico, collected by Ron Hartman in 2005 in the Carson National Forest (Hartman et al. 2006).
State range: Mostly in south central Colorado where it is restricted to seven counties: Chaffee, Conejos, Fremont, Huerfano, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache. Also known from one occurrence in New Mexico.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

[+] References

    • Anderson, D.G. (2004, November 8). Neoparrya lithophila Mathias (Bill's neoparrya): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/neoparryalithophila.pdf [April 18, 2007].
    • Baker, W.L. 1981. Farisita Dike Site Summary. Unpublished Report to the Colorado Natural Areas Program (CNAP) and The Nature Conservancy.
    • 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
    • Carpenter, Alan. 1993. Monitoring Neoparrya lithophila at Farisita Dike for the Nature Conservancy.
    • Carpenter, Alan. 1993. Monitoring Neoparrya lithophila at Farisita Dike for the Nature Conservancy.
    • Colorado Native Plant Society. 1989. Rare plants of Colorado. Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Colorado Native Plant Society, Estes Park, Colorado. 73 pp.
    • Hartman, R.L., B. Reif, B.E. Nelson, and B. Jacobs. 2006. New vascular plant records for New Mexico. Sida 22(2): 1225-1233.
    • 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.
    • Mathias, M.E. 1929. Studies in the Umbelliferae, II. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 16: 393-398.
    • Neely, B.E. 1986. Farisita Dike Preserve Design. Unpublished Prepared for The Nature Conservancy.
    • O'Kane, S.L. Jr. 1986. Floristic reconnaissance of the San Luis Valley. Unpublished report, Colorado Natural Areas Program, Denver, Colorado. 18pp + appendices.
    • O'Kane, S.L., D.H. Wilken, and R.L. Hartman. 1988. Noteworthy Collections. Madrono 35(1):72-74.
    • O'Kane, S.L., Jr. 1986. Floristic Reconnaissance of the San Luis Valley. Unpublished. Prepared for the Bureau of Land Management.
    • O'Kane, S.L., Jr., D.H. Wilken and R.L. Hartman. 1988. Noteworthy Collections (Colorado) of ARALIA RACEMOSA, ASTRAGALUS HUMILLIMUS, A. SERICOLEUCUS, ATRIPLEX PLEIANTHA, CREPIS CAPILLARIS, CRYPTANTHA WEBERI, DITHYREA WIZLIZENII, IPOMOPSIS CONGESTA ssp. CREBRIFOLIA, LOMATIUM BICOLOR, MENTZELIA DENSA, NEOPARRYA LITHOPHILAand RUMEX VERTICILLATUS. Madrono 35(1):72-74.
    • Peterson, J.S., B.C. Johnston, W. Harmon. 1983. Status Report of NEOPARRYA LITHOPHILA Mathias. USFWS and CNAP.
    • 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.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado Rare Plant Field Guide. Prepared for the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.
    • Theobald, W. L., C. S. Tseng, and M. E. Mathias. 1964. A revision of Aletes and Neoparrya (Umbelliferae). Brittonia 16:296-315.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. 1984. New names and combinations, principally in the Rocky Mountain flora--IV. Phytologia 55: 1-11.
    • 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.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2012a. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, a field guide to the vascular plants, fourth edition. University of Colorado Press. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.

Last Updated

2015-06-15