Oreocarya longiflora
Author: (A. Nels.) Payson

long-flower cat's-eye

Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Close up of Oreocarya longiflora by Peggy Lyon
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Taxonomic Comments

=Cryptantha longiflora. First described in 1899. The type locality is in Mesa County, Colorado. Weber and Wittman (2012) have placed this and all perennial species of Cryptantha in the genus Oreocarya.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S3
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Oreocarya longiflora by Dorothy DePaulo
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General description: Cryptantha longiflora is a short-lived perennial, or possibly biennial, 0.8 to 3 (5) dm tall, with one to several stems. It is one of the most stiffly pubescent of the Cryptanthas in Colorado. It has pustulate hairs on both leaf surfaces. Flowers are white with yellow forncices, with a tubular section 12 to 14 mm long.

Look Alikes: The relatively large flowers and conspicuously pustulose hairs on the upper side of the leaves distinguish this species from other close relatives.

Phenology: Flowers end of April through May, and fruit in May (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Oreocarya longiflora housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

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[+] Habitat

Habitat of Oreocarya longiflora by Bernadette Kuhn
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In Colorado, this species is found in rocky, sandy or clayey soils in salt desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities. Associated species include Fendlera rupicola, Lepidium montanum, Penstemon strictus, Townsendia incana, Cryptantha flava, Erigeron concinnus, Hedysarum boreale, Sphaeralcea parvifolia, Schoencrambe linifolia, Cryptantha flavoculata and Astragalus wingatanus (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

Elevation Range: 4,462 - 6,624 feet (1,360 - 2,019 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Oreocarya longiflora in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
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Distribution of Oreocarya longiflora in Colorado
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Restricted to Colorado and Gunnison River drainages in west-central Colorado and eastern Utah (Emery & Grand Counties). Intermountain Flora (Cronquist et al. 1984) report a disjunct in Sevier County, Utah.
State range: Found primarily in Delta, Mesa, and Montrose counties. One historical record from Garfield County.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Primary threats appear to be motorized recreation, road and power line maintenance, and infestations of non-native plants (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
    • 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.
    • Harrington, H.D. 1954. Manual of the plants of Colorado. Sage Press, Chicago. 666 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. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, Missouri. 1098 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.
    • Lavender, A.E., M.M. Fink, S.E. Linn, D.M. Theobald. 2011. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v9 Database. Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Geospatial Centroid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. (30 September).
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

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