The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs
The conservation of Senecio ertterae is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.
Know your rare plants. A bit of careful observation saved this rare plant from being exterminated by herbicides.
Senecio ertterae requires a very unusual soil containing rhyolitic ash, derived from a particular volcanic rock in the Leslie Gulch area. These specific soil requirements make it one of 6 species endemic to Leslie Gulch in eastern Oregon. In the early 1990's a range extension 8 miles (13 km) southwest of the main population was discovered by accident when S. ertterae was mistakenly identified as a weed. A range technician brought in what he thought was a "new weed" from the Birch Creek Ranch on the Owyhee River. It was correctly identified and any preventative weed control measures were soon halted (Findley 2001).
Senecio ertterae was previously listed as an Oregon State threatened species but in 2000, a proposal from the Oregon Department of Agriculture was submitted to the state to remove Ertter's Senecio from the list. This was suggested after thoroughly evaluating the species' reproductive potential, geographic distribution, commercial uses, and existing protective regulations. Extensive field surveys by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the USFWS led to the discovery of new populations within the Leslie Gulch area. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) showed that neither population numbers nor range were decreasing and designated the Leslie Gulch region as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Previous threats from mining claims were eliminated with this designation which will hopefully help to continue the proliferation of these populations.
Distribution & Occurrence
Dry clay ash deposits, sand, gravel, and talus derived from the Leslie Gulch ash flow tuff formation. The substrate is susceptible to erosion and disturbances. It is sparsely vegetated but includes species such as: Pseudoregnaria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass), Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass), Mimulus cusickii (Cusick's monkey flower), Eriogonum vimineum (broom buckwheat), and Phacelia hastata (silverleaf phacelia). Plants are found at an elevation of approximately 3950 feet (1200 m).
|As of 2000: The most recent counts were conducted in 1989. In 1989, there were 11 known populations, with numbers ranging from 350 individuals to nearly 200,000 with a total of around 332,000 individuals. Because this is an annual species, it is highly dependent on rainfall totals. Numbers may be very high in a wet year and very low in a dry year (Kaye 2000).|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
This species is dependent on frequent disturbance and erosion to create suitable habitat. Most plants occur on loose soils, mostly on slopes subject to erosion and slumping. Individuals have been observed on gravel recently disturbed by run-off, along old cattle trails, and in soil disrupted by road maintenance equipment (Kaye 2000).
Any initiation of large-scale mining operations in Leslie Gulch or immediate vicinity in areas not designated as an ACEC (Kaye 2000) would threaten populations of
Studies of photosynthesis indicate that Senecio errterae is a C3 plant because of the high CO2 compensation point (Mansfield 2001).
Germination studies at the Berry Botanic Garden were inconclusive. Five separate trials were conducted. In each one, seeds were either cold stratified for 8 weeks or not cold stratified. This was followed by placement in either constant 68F (20C) or alternating 50/68F (10/20C). No treatment was consistently better than any other, and each of the four treatments yielded 100% germination in at least one of the trials (BBG File).
Six of the eleven known populations, including all of the largest populations are within BLM land designated as an ACEC (Kaye 2000).
Within the ACEC, road location and width changes as well as gates, pullouts and parking areas are utilized to direct visitors away from Senecio errterae habitat (Kaye 2000).
Within the ACEC, mineral collection requires a permit, and the area is closed to mining (Kaye 2000).
Livestock grazing is prohibited on ACEC land (Kaye 2000).
Recreation is restricted to day use only in the ACEC (Kaye 2000).
Seed from at least 4 populations is stored at The Berry Botanic Garden.
Conduct physiological studies to determine the photosynthetic pathways of this species. Research suggests that it is a C3 plant because of the high carbon dioxide (CO2) compensation point (Mansfield 2001). However, observations suggest that it may be a C4 plant, as it is unusual to have a fall blooming plant in an arid environment (Findley 2001).
Determine when seeds germinate in the field.
Determine germination protocols.
Determine propagation and reintroduction protocols.
Barkley, T.M. 1978. Compositae: Senecio (Original Publication). North American Flora, Ser. II. 10: 124-125.
Kaye, T. 1989. Bulletin of the Native Plant Society of Oregon.