|Seeley's catchfly, Seeley's silene|
|Morton & Thompson|
|Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.|
The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs
University Of Washington Botanic Gardens
The conservation of Silene seelyi is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.
Silene seelyi is definitely rare but debatably threatened. The extreme cliff-dwelling habitat of Seely's catchfly protects it from common threats such as anthropomorphic development or competition from invasive species. However with the assistance of ropes, bolts, pulleys and anchors, there is one potential threat to this taxon: rock climbers. This species is found nestled in crevices and fissures on cliffs and talus slopes from elevations of 1,500 to 6,300 feet (450 to 1920 m). Silene seelyi, named for Washington resident Clarence B. Seely, is found in approximately 30 sites clustered in the Wenatchee Mountains near Leavenworth, WA a popular site for rock climbers. According to study completed by Devin R. Malkin of the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, there was no damage from climbers but the sites should be monitored in case of increased usage. Studies showed that although size distribution of individuals was similar in climbed and unclimbed sites, there were less total plants in the climbed areas. It is important to protect the population sites that have the potential for over usage by climbers in the future.
Distribution & Occurrence
Silene seelyi grows at elevations of around 1,500 to 6,300 feet (450 to 1920 m) in shaded crevices on steep slopes (approximately 15-20% grade) in basaltic rock outcrops or occasionally on talus slopes. They are sometimes found in rocky or sandy soil near the base of the cliffs. Few other species grow in close proximity. Those that do include alumroot (Heuchera cylindrica), Chelan penstemon (Penstemon pruinosus) and Wallace's selaginella (Selaginella wallacei).
|Sites are clustered in an area only 20 miles long by 10 miles wide (30 km x 15 km). Approximately 30 occurrences (Malkin 2001). Sizes range from just a few to nearly 500. The total number of individuals is probably around 2,500 (WNHP 2000; Malkin 2001).|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Silene seelyi flowers from late May to August (WNHP 1999). Seeds most likely are dispersed by gravity and wind, but it may be difficult for seeds to disperse laterally across the cliff face. Seedling establishment may be limiting, as a seed must settle in a crack along the rock face.
Road construction (blasting of hillsides).
Germination studies conducted at the Berry Botanic Garden were inconclusive. Three trials were conducted with seed from three different plants, all of which had been stored the same length of time. Seeds were subjected either to no cold stratification or 8 weeks of cold stratification followed by either constant 68F (20C) or alternating 50/68F (10/20C). In the first trial, the treatment of cold stratification followed by alternating temperatures resulted in 80% germination while all other treatments resulted in 20% germination. In the second trial, 100% of the seeds germinated when cold stratification was followed by constant temperatures. The other treatments yielded 60-80% germination. In the third trial, the constant 68F (20C) treatment without cold stratification resulted in 40% germination. No other seeds germinated in that trial. These inconsistent results may have been due to initial differences in the viability of the different batches of seed or due to different germination requirements of seed produced by different plants (BBG File).
Seed from 9 locations stored at The Berry Botanic Garden.
The Washington Department of Transportation has agreed to avoid direct impacts to the plant and its habitat during construction and maintenance (Malkin 2001).
Monitor for increases in rock climbing usage.
Determine germination requirements.
Determine propagation and reintroduction protocols.
Study viability of fresh seeds and seeds that have been stored for long periods of time.
Malkin, D.R. 2001. Initial Conservation Assessment and Effects of Rock Climbing on Silene seelyi. In: Reichard, S.H.; Dunwiddie, P.W.; Gamon, J.; Kruckeberg, A.R.; Salstrom, D.L., editors. Conservation of Washington's native plants and ecosystems. Washing