Oreocarya revealii
Author: W.A. Weber & R.C. Wittmann


Gypsum Valley cat-eye


Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Close up of Cryptantha gypsophila by Dave Elin
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Close up of Cryptantha gypsophila by Susan Spackman Panjabi
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Taxonomic Comments

Cryptantha gypsophila was described as a new species in 2006 (Reveal and Broome 2006). However, the name C. gypsophila has already been used by Payson to describe the taxon now known as C. paradoxa. Weber and Wittmann 2010 name the species Oreocarya revealii.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Oreocarya revealii by Teresa Burkert
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General description: Plants are low, densely tufted herbaceous perennials, 0.3-2.5 dm high, 0.5-4 dm across, with a highly branched, woody caudex system arising from a deeply-seated taproot. Leaves are glabrous on top and have appressed pustulate-based bristles on lower surface. Basal leaves are tufted, narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly spatulate, 1-2.5 (3) cm long, 1.5-3 mm wide. Cauline leaves are scattered, oblanceolate to spatulate, 1-4 cm long, 2-4 (5) mm wide. Stems are erect and softly hairy. The calyx is turbinate, with segments narrowly lanceolate, 4-6 mm long in anthesis, (4) 6-9 mm long in fruit. The corolla is white with yellow fornices, about 10-12 mm long, prominently exserted from the calyx. Usually all 4 nutlets mature, and are rugose-tuberculate on both surfaces. Styles surpass the nutlets by 4-7 mm. (Reveal and Broome 2006). 

Look Alikes: Similar to the more common Cryptantha paradoxa, C. gypsophila can be distinguished in the field by its glabrous upper leaf surfaces (Reveal and Broome 2006).

Phenology: Plants flower in May and produce fruit in June (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] Herbarium Photos

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

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[+] Habitat

Habitat of Cryptantha gypsophila by Susan Spackman Panjabi
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Habitat of Cryptantha gypsophila by Susan Spackman Panjabi
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Cryptantha gypsophila is often the dominant vascular plant on the grayish, near-barren gypsum hills of the Paradox Member of the Hermosa Formation in western Colorado (Reveal and Broome 2006). It is also found on other barren shale substrates in the area. In some sites, the dominant plant is a whitish gray cryptobiotic lichen. In a survey of the associated lichens in May 2005 by Larry St.Clair, over 20 lichen species were identified, including two that are globally rare. Cryptantha gypsophila is found on light gray soils, and is absent from the adjacent more reddish-brown soils. Associated vascular plant species include snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), spearleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum lonchophyllum), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii), Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), slimleaf plains mustard (Schoencrambe linearifolia), fullstem (Chamaechaenactis scaposa), Torreys hymenoxys (Tetraneuris torreyana), gyp dropseed (Sporobolus nealleyi), and western tansy-mustard (Descurainia pinnata).

This species is often the dominant vascular plant on the grayish, near-barren gypsum hills of the Paradox Member of the Hermosa Formation in western Colorado (Reveal and Broome 2006). It is also found on other barren shale substrates in the area. In some sites, the dominant plant is a whitish gray cryptobiotic lichen. In a survey of the associated lichens in May 2005 by Larry St.Clair, over 20 lichen species were identified, including two that are globally rare. This species is found on light gray soils, and is absent from the adjacent more reddish-brown soils. Associated vascular plant species include snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), spearleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum lonchophyllum), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii), Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), slimleaf plains mustard (Schoencrambe linearifolia), fullstem (Chamaechaenactis scaposa), Torreys hymenoxys (Tetraneuris torreyana), gyp dropseed (Sporobolus nealleyi), and western tansy-mustard (Descurainia pinnata).

Elevation Range: 5,394 - 6,788 feet (1,644 - 2,069 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Cryptantha gypsophila in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
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Distribution of Cryptantha gypsophila in Colorado
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Colorado endemic: Yes
Global range: Colorado endemic known from Montrose and San Miguel counties. Estimated range is 246 square kilometers (95 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008).

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Cryptantha gypsophila based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “Weakly Conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
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Off road vehicle use is the primary threat to the species (Panjabi et al. 2011). Grazing and energy development may also pose a threats (Panjabi et al. 2011).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2005. The Second Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G1 Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2010. The Seventh Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G1 Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
    • Elliott, B. A., S. Spackman Panjabi, B. Kurzel, B. Neely, R. Rondeau, M. Ewing. 2009. Recommended Best Management Practices for Plants of Concern. Practices developed to reduce the impacts of oil and gas development activities to plants of concern. Unpublished report prepared by the Rare Plant Conservation Initiative for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
    • 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).
    • 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. Rare Plant Conservation Action Plan: Big Gypsum Valley and Dry Creek Basin, Colorado. Unpublished report prepared by The Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 25 pp.
    • Reveal, J.L. 2005. University of Maryland: An Array of Botanical Images, Cryptantha gypsophila. http://www.life.umd.edu/emeritus/reveal
    • Reveal, J.L., and C. R. Broome. 2006. Cryptantha gypsophila (Boraginaceae: Boraginoideae), a new species from western Colorado. Brittonia 58(2): 178-181.
    • Schneider, A. 2013. Wildflowers, Ferns, and Trees of the Four Corners Regions of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Accessed on-line at http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com.
    • 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.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2010. New names and combinations in the flora of Colorado. XIII. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 4(1):213.

Last Updated

2012-10-03