Puccinellia parishii
Author: A.S. Hitchc.

Parish's alkali grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Close up of Puccinellia parishii by Steve O'Kane
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Close up of Puccinellia parishii by Peggy Lyon
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Taxonomic Comments

Not listed in Weber and Wittmann (2012) or Ackerfield (2012) because voucher specimens have not been deposited at the Colorado State University or the University of Colorado herbaria.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2G3
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Puccinellia parishii source: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 200. Washington, DC.
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General description: Puccinellia parishii is an annual grass species, which grows in clumps, 3 to 10 cm tall. Cauline leaf blades are generally inrolled, and less than 1 mm wide when flat. Inflorescence is 1-8 cm; lower branches are erect to reflexed in fruit; spikelet stalk is scabrous. Lemma veins are hairy along the lower half, tips are obtuse to truncate, margins near the tip are scabrous-serrate, lowest lemma is approximately 2 mm; anthers of lowest floret approximately 0.5 mm (Hickman 1993).

Look Alikes: P. parishii is distinguished from other species of Puccinellia growing in similar habitats by its annual habit. Poa annua has wider leaves and the tips are boat shaped (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

Phenology: Colorado individuals have been observed in fruit (with mature seeds) in late July (Colorado Natural Heritage Progarm 2012).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Puccinellia parishii by Peggy Lyon
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Colorado individuals have been observed in low, open area with seasonally wet alkaline soils. Associated plant communities are dominated by alkaline grasses, and Artemisia nova shrub/grasslands. Associated plant species include Hordeum jubatum, Suaeda calceoliformis, Artemisia nova, and Eleocharis palustris (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

Elevation Range: 7,621 - 7,956 feet (2,323 - 2,425 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Puccinellia parishii in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
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Distribution of Puccinellia parishii in Colorado
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: The range of Puccinellia parishii extends from San Bernardino County, California, to northern Arizona, and to New Mexico, with more recent discoveries extending it to southwest Colorado (in 1998) and to the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas (in 2013) (USFWS 1998; Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2007; Roth 2008; Heil et al. 2013; Carter et al. 2014).  The species was considered falsely reported from Utah by Kartesz (1999) and is not in Welsh (2008).  Utah County, in north-central Utah, is shown in Carter et al. (2014) but this is a false report, based upon a specimen which was later determined to be P. nuttallii. 
State range: Known from San Miguel County in Colorado. Estimated range in Colorado is 8 square kilometers (3 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008). Also known from New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Puccinellia parishii 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 hydrologic alteration/recreation (Rondeau et al. 2011). It is not known if all of the occurrences are or are not threatened by these activities. Grazing by cattle affects the condition of the wetlands in some areas of the one known occurrence. A road and pipeline right-of-way pass through parts of the occurrence. Alterations in hydrology could affect the habitat. The small area of occupied habitat within the state make this species inherently susceptible to extirpation.

[+] References

    • Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2004. Puccinellia parishii. Unpublished abstract compiled and edited by the Heritage Data Management System, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, AZ. 6 pp. [http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/edits/documents/Puccpari.d_001.pdf]
    • Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2015. Puccinellia parishii. Unpublished abstract compiled and edited by the Heritage Data Management System, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, AZ. 8 pp. [http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/edits/documents/Puccpari.pdf]
    • Arizona Rare Plant Committee. 2000. Arizona rare plant field guide, a collaboration of agencies and organizations, including Arizona Native Plant Society. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington. Online. Available: http://www.aznps.com/rareplants.php (Accessed 2015).
    • Baldwin, B. G., D. H. Goldman, D. J. Keil, R. Patterson, T. J. Rosatti, and D. H. Wilken, eds. 2012. The Jepson manual: vascular plants of California. 2nd edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1568 pp.
    • California Native Plant Society (CNPS). 2015. Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants (online edition, v8-02). California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, CA. Online. Available: http://www.rareplants.cnps.org (accessed 2015).
    • Carter, S.K., J.R. Singhurst, and W.C. Holmes. 2014. Puccinellia parishii (Poaceae, Poeae): a genus and species new to Texas. Phytoneuron 58: 1-4.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2008. The Fifth Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G2 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.
    • Eghbal, M.K., and R.J. Southard. 1993. Micromorphological evidence of polygenesis of three Aridisols, Western Mojave Desert, California. Soil Science Society America J. 57: 1041-1050.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2007a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 24. Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 1. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxviii + 911 pp.
    • Greene, J., and A.C. Sanders. 2006. Parish’s alkali grass. West Mojave Plan Species Accounts. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. [http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib//blm/ca/pdf/pdfs/cdd_pdfs.Par.a91c678c.File.pdf/parishalkgrass1.PDF]
    • 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.
    • Hickman, J. C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1400 pp.
    • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. 2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase. [Reprinted, 1971, in 2 vols., by Dover Publications, Incorporated, New York.]
    • 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).
    • McDonald, C. 1999. New Mexico Rare Plants: Puccinellia parishii (Parish's alkali grass). New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Online. Available: http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single.php?SpeciesID=156 (Accessed 2015).
    • Munz, P.A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 1086 pp.
    • 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.
    • Phillips, A.M., and B.G. Phillips. 1991. Status report for Puccinellia parishii. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Phoenix, AZ.
    • 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.
    • Roth, D. 2008. May 15 last update. Species account for Puccinellia parishii. Navajo Natural Heritage Program, Window Rock, Arizona. Online. Available: http://nnhp.nndfw.org/ (Accessed 2015).
    • Skinner, M.W., and B.M. Pavlik, eds. 1994. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 5th. edition. California Native Plant Society Special Publication No. 1.
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Proposed endangered status for the plant Puccinellia parishii (Parish's alkali grass). Federal Register 59(59): 14378-14382.
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1998. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: withdrawal of proposed rule to list the plant Puccinellia parishii (Parish's alkali grass) as endangered. Federal Register 63(186):51329-51332.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2008. A Utah Flora. 4th edition, revised. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 1019 pp.

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