The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
The conservation of Phacelia argillacea is fully sponsored.
Sylvia Torti contributed to this Plant Profile.
Clay phacelia is a Federally listed endangered plant. It is found in only one location in the world--Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah. In 1977, only nine plants were known to exist. The main cause attributed to this decline was the construction of a railroad directly through the known population, and the plant was listed due to concerns that an access road to the railroad would eliminate the few remaining plants. (USFWS 1978) By 1980, the size of the remaining population had declined even further, to only four individual plants, due to trampling by sheep. (USFWS 1980) At this point in the continuing saga of this plant, the tiny population was fenced, and by 1982 the plants had recovered to some extent, with about 200 plants known. (USFWS 1982a, 1982b) In 1990, fenced population was further protected when The Nature Conservancy purchased the land it was on. (Biodiversity Network News 1990) Today, the species is in a stable but precarious position, protected from extinction by not much more than a fence and the will of dedicated individuals.
This species is a member of the waterleaf family that grows on steep talus slopes in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah. It is a winter annual, germinating in the fall and producing violet to pink flowers in the summer.
Distribution & Occurrence
Steep hillsides in a sparse juniper-pinyon or mountain brush community on a fine textured clay derived from a shale.
|There are only a few dozen plants clinging to shale hillsides at three locations west of Soldier Summit.|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Railway or road maintenance or construction
Habitat surveys, population monitoring, and genetic studies have been initiated with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Utah Native Plant Society. (USGS 2000)
The Nature Conservancy owns and manages the land the original population occurs on, maintaining a fence around most of the population to protect the plants from grazing and trampling. (USGS 2002)
1990. Field Notes: Utah. Biodiversity Network News. 3: 6.
USFWS. 1980. Regional Briefs--Region 6. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 5, 8: 2.
USFWS. 1982. Recovery Plans Approved for Clay Phacelia and Eastern Indigo Snake. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 7, 6
Van Pelt, N.S. 1996. Update: Society Members Plot a Species' Comeback. Sego Lily: Newsletter of the Utah Native Plant Society. 19