Lygodesmia doloresensis
Author: S. Tomb

Dolores River skeletonplant

Asteraceae (sunflower family)

Close up of Lygodesmia doloresensis by Peggy Lyon

Close up of Lygodesmia doloresensis by Susan Spackman Panjabi

Taxonomic Comments

=Lygodesmia grandiflora var. doloresensis (Flora of North America 1993+). Not included in Weber and Wittmann (2012) except to mention the "trivial variety" of L. grandiflora considered by the Flora of North America. Ackerfield (2012) also recognizes this taxon as L. grandiflora var. doloresensis.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G1G2
State rank: S1S2
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

Description and Phenology

Lygodesmia doloresensis by Janet Wingate

Lygodesmia doloresensis by Mary Clark

General description: Lygodesmia doloresensis is a pink flowered, broomy plant with reduced leaves, appearing to be nearly all stem. Like other members of its tribe, it has milky juice. Each head has (usually) five ray flowers, which distinguish it from the closely related L. grandiflora with 8 or more rays. It is similar to L. grandiflora var. dianthopsis, which is distinguished by being less branched and by having broader leaves (FNA 2007).

Look Alikes: L. grandiflora occurs at slightly higher elevations, is not as tall, and has darker flowers, usually with 9 ray flowers.

Phenology: Plants begin flowering in late May and early June (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).


Habitat of Lygodesmia doloresensis by Susan Spackman Panjabi

Reddish purple, sandy alluvium and colluvium of the Cutler Formation between the canyon walls and the river in juniper, shadscale, and sagebrush communities. Many of the known occurrences are along roads, and there are fewer plants away from disturbed roadsides.

Elevation Range: 4,475 - 6,125 feet (1,364 - 1,867 meters)


Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Known from one county in Utah and one adjacent county in Coloado (USDA NRCS 2012).
State range: Known from Mesa County in Colorado. Estimated range in Colorado is 897 square kilometers (346 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008). There was an erroneous report from San Miguel County, CO, which has been removed from the database.
Distribution of Lygodesmia doloresensis in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).

Distribution of Lygodesmia doloresensis in Colorado

Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Lygodesmia doloresensis based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “Moderately Conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.

The primary threat at this time is considered to be roads. (Rondeau et al. 2011). It is not known if all of the occurrences are or are not threatened by these activities. Several of the Colorado occurrences are found along roadsides and are impacted by road maintenance activities, and the possible introduction of noxious weeds. Overgrazing is considered to be another potential threat.


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