CPC Plant Profile: Arizona Slimpod
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Plant Profile

Arizona Slimpod (Amsonia grandiflora)

Flowers are composed of five white petals tinged with lavender blue. They are fragrant and salverform, with the tube from 1-2 cm in length. Photo Credit: Kathy Rice
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Apocynaceae
  • State: AZ, MX, SI
  • Nature Serve ID: 128514
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/14/1986

Amsonia grandiflora is a showy herbaceous perennial with milky sap and numerous erect stems arising in a dense clump from a long lived root. The foliage and flowers are entirely glabrous. Leaves are alternate, vary in width, from lanceolate towards the base of the plant, to almost hair-like towards the top, 4-12 cm long. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters of 5-10, commonly with 15-30 inflorescences per plant. Flowers are white tinged with lavender blue, fragrant, and salverform, with the narrow tube from 16-19 mm in length, and five spreading lobes. The tube is constricted at the mouth, and stamens are inserted high in the tube. The two distinct ovaries mature into narrow follicles 7-9 cm long that become papery with age, and are without constrictions and are acuminate. The seeds are corky in texture, clyindrical with truncated ends. This species differe from other members of the genus in Arizona by the longer flowers. The other two species in the region (not known to be sympatric) typically have much shorter (less than 1.25-2.54 cm) flowers and broader leaves.

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Updates
  • 08/17/2020
  • Propagation Research

A. grandiflora is easily grown from seed, and has a high reproductive potential. Cuttings are difficult, but not impossible. The time of year that cuttings are taken probably plays a major part in the successful rooting of cuttings. Plants in cultivation produce seeds readily, but must be separated from other Amsonia species to ensure that cross-pollination between species does not occur. Desert Botanical Garden has approximately 10,400 seeds in storage from three populations, and has produced 3,000 seeds in cultivation by controlled cross-pollination.

  • 08/17/2020
  • Reproductive Research

A. grandiflora is easily grown from seed, and has a high reproductive potential. Cuttings are difficult, but not impossible. The time of year that cuttings are taken probably plays a major part in the successful rooting of cuttings. Plants in cultivation produce seeds readily, but must be separated from other Amsonia species to ensure that cross-pollination between species does not occur. Desert Botanical Garden has approximately 10,400 seeds in storage from three populations, and has produced 3,000 seeds in cultivation by controlled cross-pollination.

  • 08/17/2020
  • Seed Collection

Desert Botanical Garden has approximately 10,400 seeds in storage from three populations, and has produced 3,000 seeds in cultivation by controlled cross-pollination.

  • 08/17/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Desert Botanical Garden has approximately 10,400 seeds in storage from three populations, and has produced 3,000 seeds in cultivation by controlled cross-pollination.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Very patchily distributed in the Patagonia and Atascosa/Pajarito Mountains of Arizona and in northern Mexico. 15 to 20 dense, discrete populations were known as of December 1994. In 2012, eleven known populations, although Tom van Devender in Laurenzi and Spence (2012) reported over 25 occurrences.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

The plants may be trampled by grazing animals, but it is unlikely that they are actually eaten, as they have milky sap and are unpalatable (USFWS 1996). Plants in cultivation at Desert Botanical Garden are avoided by rodents, and have few insect predator

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Populations and individual plants are few in number, with 20 known localities (USFWS 1998).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

A. grandiflora is easily grown from seed, and has a high reproductive potential. Cuttings are difficult, but not impossible. The time of year that cuttings are taken probably plays a major part in the successful rooting of cuttings. Plants in cultivation produce seeds readily, but must be separated from other Amsonia species to ensure that cross-pollination between species does not occur. Desert Botanical Garden has approximately 10,400 seeds in storage from three populations, and has produced 3,000 seeds in cultivation by controlled cross-pollination.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

coronado National Forest and private land. Populations are few and relatively small; this species is apparently not palatable to livestock. The main management action would be avoiding direct impact on the populations. This species might make a good landscape plant. There are monitoring sites near Patatonia that are outliers of the more extensive population. There is one unusual site in a valley bottom, but this is still rock alluvial soil. The plants come back vigorously after being burned.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Reproductive biology studies (pollinator watches), and hybridization experimentation with other Amsonia species would be beneficial. Known populations need monitoring.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Plans for the future for A. grandiflora are to continue to investigate the pollination biology and horticultural requirements of the species, and to produce seed in cultivation on plants at Desert Botanical Garden.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Amsonia grandiflora
Authority Alexander
Family Apocynaceae
CPC Number 118
ITIS 30136
USDA AMGR4
Common Names Arizona slimpod | large-flowered blue star | Arizona bluestar
Associated Scientific Names Amsonia grandiflora
Distribution The few populations are located in extreme south-central Arizona (USFWS 1996), northern Sonora, Durango, Mexico. The range within Arizona is in the Patagonia and Atascosa/Pajarito Mountains, Santa Cr
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S2
Mexico *FR83
Sonora S1
Habitat

A. grandiflora grows at 3,900 to 4,500 ft. on canyon bottoms in southern Arizona oak woodlands dominated by Quercus emoryi ( Warren et al. 1989, Gori et al. 1990, USFWS 1996) . Occasionally, populations are found on level alluvial soils that are sandy or gravelly; in other sites, they are found on rocky hillsides (Phillips 1991). During winter, plants become completely dormant, dying back to the woody crown (USFWS 1996). Adapted to rock fall disturbances. The substrate is level alluvial soils that are sandy or gravelly, or rocky hilsides composed of rhyolite, granite, quaternary sediments and possibly metamorphosed limestone.

Ecological Relationships

Peak flowering time is in April and May, sporadic until mid-summer. Fruits begin ripening in early summer, and generally dehisce during July and August with fruits open by September with hawk moths as possible pollinators. Plants bear ripened and dehisced pale fruits for about 6 months. Individuals appear to ba capable of spreading by underground rhizomes, making it difficult to distinguish individual plants. The thick woody stem with carbohydrate reserves may be an adaptation for resprouting after a disturbance (Warren, et al 1992). McLaughlin (1982) reported that the number of fertile seeds in a pipulation are reduced to zero when large numbers of the stinkbug Cholorchroa ligata invested plants.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Butterflies & Moths
Sphinx moths Hawk moth Floral Visitor Link
Beetles
Sap-feeding beetles Conotelus abscurus Pollen Robber Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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