CPC Plant Profile: Cronquist's Stickseed
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Plant Profile

Cronquist's Stickseed (Hackelia cronquistii)

The prickles on the fruit of Hackelia cronquistii give this plant its common name "stickseed." Photo Credit: Kagan/Joyal/Yamamoto
Description
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Boraginaceae
  • State: ID, OR
  • Nature Serve ID: 156950
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

Although Hackelia cronquistii can be quite showy, it has historically been overlooked. This perennial herb can range in size from about 6 inches to 2 feet tall (15-60 cm). Its small blue-tinged white flowers put on an attractive display. It was first collected in 1896, but only one population was known to exist until 1982. When searches were finally made between 1982 and 1985, an 15 additional populations were found. Many plants in remote locations go unnoticed. It makes one think how many other plants there may be out there, just waiting to be discovered. While there are threats to Hackelia cronquistii, their potential effects seem minimal at this time. The major threat is its limited distribution. Any random catastrophic event causing plant death or habitat loss would be disastrous to the survival of the species (Findley 1988). In areas where the land recently burned, the plants are thriving and many are blooming. In an area where an exclosure had been erected to exclude cattle grazing, plants are blooming and vigorous both inside and outside the exclosure (Findley 2001).

Participating Institutions
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Updates
  • 09/15/2020
  • Propagation Research

Germination trials at the Berry Botanic Garden resulted in a maximum germination of only 25%. Seeds subjected to 8 weeks of cold stratification followed by alternating 50/68F (10/20C) resulted in 25% germination (2 of 8 seeds). Straight 20C resulted in 11% (1 of 9 seeds). All other treatments yielded no germination. Seed had been stored for 9 years, so there is a possibility that it had lost some viability (BBG File).

  • 09/15/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seeds from 12 occurrences stored at The Berry Botanic Garden. The most recent collection is from 1991 (BBG File).

  • 09/15/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seeds from 12 occurrences stored at The Berry Botanic Garden. The most recent collection is from 1991 (BBG File).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A regional endemic of eastern Oregon and adjacent Idaho. There are about 52 populations known with a total of at least 30,000 plants.

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Cattle Grazing (Meinke 1982). Herbicide use (Meinke 1982). Agricultural expansion, competition from seedlings (Meinke 1982). Off-road-vehicle/equestrian use (Findley 1988). Transfer of land from public to private (Findley 1988). Insecticide u

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

First collected in 1896 at Malheur Butte. As of 1982 only one extant population was known. As people started searching for this rare species, 15 more populations were found between 1982 and 1985. As of 1986, an estimated 8600 individual plants were thought to exist (Yamamoto et al. 1986). As of 2001, approximately 39 occurrences were known in Oregon. Population sizes range from 10 to as many as 10,000 with a total of between 29,000 and 50,000 individuals, although many sites have not been surveyed since the late 1980's or early 1990's. About half of the sites are on private land and half are on Bureau of Land Management (federal) land (ONHDB 2000). There is one listed occurrence in Idaho, which is on private land (ICC 1995).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Germination trials at the Berry Botanic Garden resulted in a maximum germination of only 25%. Seeds subjected to 8 weeks of cold stratification followed by alternating 50/68F (10/20C) resulted in 25% germination (2 of 8 seeds). Straight 20C resulted in 11% (1 of 9 seeds). All other treatments yielded no germination. Seed had been stored for 9 years, so there is a possibility that it had lost some viability (BBG File).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Most populations are in areas that have been grazed historically (Yamamoto et al. 1986). Habitat Management Plan finalized in 1988. Includes provisions for studying threats, protecting populations by limiting herbicide use, grazing, insecticide use during flowering periods, and recreational access (Finldley 1988). Exclosures were constructed around several groups of plants for monitoring purposes and for excluding cattle (Findley 2001). Seeds from 12 occurrences stored at The Berry Botanic Garden. The most recent collection is from 1991 (BBG File).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Studies comparing grazed vs. ungrazed areas. (Meinke 1982). Immediate protection of any newly discovered populations (Meinke 1982). Studies on the effects of fire (Findley 1988).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Collect and store seeds from across range. Study seed germination and dormancy requirements (Yamamoto et al. 1986) Determine reliable propagation protocols. Develop reliable reintroduction protocols

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Hackelia cronquistii
Authority J.L. Gentry
Family Boraginaceae
CPC Number 2102
ITIS 31925
USDA HACR4
Common Names Cronquist's stickseed | Malheur forget-me-not
Associated Scientific Names Hackelia cronquistii | Hackelia patens var. semiglabra
Distribution The Owyhee uplands of southeastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho.
State Rank
State State Rank
Idaho S1
Oregon S3
Habitat

Exclusively on sandy and sandy-loam soils on north-facing slopes in association with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) at elevations near 2060-2460 ft (630-750 m) in eastern Oregon and southwest Idaho.

Ecological Relationships

Hackelia cronquistii can be self pollinated or pollinated by insects (bees and flies). Seeds are dispersed both through gravity and adhesion to the fur of animals. The seeds have 4-6 prickles along the each edge. The prickles alternate long and short and are extremely effective at grabbing onto passers-by. Germination most likely occurs during the fall due to moisture requirements so soil seed bank forms. Because of low rainfall and fast draining soils, seedlings must establish roots quickly in order to survive (Yamamoto et al. 1986).Hackelia cronquistii tolerates a wide variety of conditions within its localized distribution. It is found mostly in climax vegetation associations but also occurs in early or mid-successional communities. It is tolerant of a fair amount of disturbance from fire (Yamamoto et al. 1986) and grazing (Findley 2001). Lightning caused range fires are common in the late summer. However, flowering and fruiting occur in the early spring, so such fires most likely do not generally seriously damage the populations (Yamamoto et al. 1986). Cronquist's hackelia is believed to be stable in eastern Oregon (Findley 2001).Because it is restricted to north-facing slopes, there is no obvious physical connection between colonies (Findley 1988). This reduces the amount of gene flow between populations, as insects would have to travel long distances between patches of plants.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bees Not Specified Link
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Flies
Flies Not Specified Link
Flies Confirmed Pollinator Link
Other
Self-pollinate Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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