|Agate Desert lomatium, Cook lomatium, Cook's lomatium|
|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
The conservation of Lomatium cookii is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.
This usually inconspicuous member of the parsley family, with green feathery leaves, is easily spotted when in flower. Although it occurs near well-populated areas, it wasn't discovered until about 20 years ago during a search for another rare plant, the large-flowered wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. grandiflora) in the vernal pools of the Agate Desert (Kagan 1986). Both species were proposed as endangered by the Fish and Wildlife Service in May of 2000 (USFWS 2000a, 2000b).
Vernal pool habitat was once widespread south of the Rogue River in Oregon. It has now been virtually eliminated. Land has been converted to pasture, agricultural fields, commercial and industrial complexes, and housing developments. Areas not impacted directly by development have had their hydrology altered by nearby construction: construction of parking lots and roads has led to increased water run-off and higher water levels in the vernal pools in some areas, while irrigation ditches and activities that altered the hardpan clay layer in the soil led to decreased water levels in other areas. Both situations were detrimental to Lomatium cookii, which depends on seasonal inundation. Development of land also created fragmented populations, leading to decreased gene flow. This may eventually prove to be detrimental to the populations.
Distribution & Occurrence
Populations in the Agate Desert are found on the margins and bottoms of vernal pools with standing water from December to April or May. Populations in the Illinois Valley can be found in moist, grassy meadows.
|As of 2000: 13 occurrences in the Agate Desert, Jackson County and 10 in French Flat, Josephine County. Total occupied habitat is about 200 acres. Mapped potential habitat totals 133 acres in the Agate Desert, but recent disturbances have limited occupied habitat to approximately 69 acres. In French Flat, about 150 acres of habitat is occupied (USFWS 2000a). The largest French Flat population consists of an estimated 207,000 individuals, while many populations contain fewer than 50 (Kaye 2000a, 2000b).|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Flowering stems emerge from a rosette in late February and flowers appear from mid-March through May. The earliest umbels (clusters of small flowers) are predominantly staminate (male) while later have both staminate and hermaphroditic (male and female) flowers (some other Lomatium species share this characteristic). Plants that only produce one umbel produce few, if any fruits (Kaye 2000a, 200b).
Observed pollinators include a small bee in the Andrerae family (Brock 1987 in Kaye 2000b), a small black moth (Kagan 1986 in Kaye 2000b) and several bumblebees (Bombus spp.) (Kaye 2000b).
The Agate Desert populations and French Flat populations have slight morphological differences, but the differences are not considered great enough to separate them into subspecies (USFWS 2000a).
Plants such as Lomatium cookii that live in vernal pools are adapted to grow, flower, and set seed during the short time that water is available in the spring (USFWS 2000a).
Seeds of Lomatium cookii are not able to germinate under the heavy thatch created by many non-native grasses that have begun invading (USFWS 2000a).
Changes in hydrology of vernal pools due to:
ORV use. When driven in moist areas, ORV tires create large ruts and can fracture the clay hard pan la
Demographic monitoring from 1994 through 1999 at populations on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Transition matrices were prepared to assist in determining population trends (Kaye 2000a, 2000b).
Preliminary genetic work (using AFLPs) has not revealed any differences between the Agate Desert and French Flat populations (Gitzendanner, M. at Washington State University (now at the University of Florida)).
A study of effective management tools. Plots containing Lomatium. cookii were subjected to one of three treatments: raked, raked and scarified, or left as a control. Germination and seedling survivorship were greatest in the raked plots (D. Borgias in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 2000a).
The largest known population is in the Agate Desert and is managed by The Nature Conservancy. Here, they manage approximately 17 acres of Lomatium cookii habitat.
The Nature Conservancy attempted to salvage 140 plants from an area that was to be graded for road construction on private property. Although the landowner approved removal of the plants, only one individual was salvaged before grading occurred. It died after transplantation (USFWS 2000a).
Seeds from 3 locations in Jackson County (Agate Desert) and 2 locations in Josephine County (French Flat) are stored at The Berry Botanic Garden.
One site in French Flat is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).
Restrict Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use on BLM land and Agate Desert Preserve.
Mowing, burning, light grazing or raking of habitat after seed maturation but before fall growth to reduce plant cover from exotic grasses (Brock in USFWS 2000a).
Continued monitoring on managed lands (BLM land and Agate Desert Preserve).
Determine germination requirements. Initial germination trials were inconclusive. Attempt with larger sample sizes.
Determine propagation and re-introduction protocols.
Gitzendanner, M.A.; Soltis, P.S. 2001. Genetic variation in rare and widespread Lomatium species (Apiaceae): A comparison of AFLP and SSCP data. Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 58, 2: 347-356.
Kagan, J.S. 1986. A new species of Lomatium (Apiaceae) from southwestern Oregon. Madroo. 33: 71-75.
USFWS. 2000. Endangered Species Bulletin. 25, 4
USFWS. 2000. Proposed Endangered Status for the Plants Lomatium cookii (Cooks lomatium) and Limnanthes floccosa ssp. grandiflora (Large-Flowered Wooly Meadowfoam) in Oregon. Federal Register. 65, 94: 30941-30951.