CPC Plant Profile: Pitkin Marsh Lily
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Plant Profile

Pitkin Marsh Lily (Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense)

The beautiful and showy flowers of Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense. Photo Credit: Holly Forbes
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Liliaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 143949
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

Only three populations of this beautiful lily have ever been discovered. The Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lily as Endangered in 1997, however it is afforded no legal protection as all three populations are on privately owned land. Listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides no legal protection to plants on private land. The owners of one property have denied researchers access to the population there since 1975. It is presumed that the plants still exist there, but there is no way of determining the number of individuals remaining. The second known site was nearly destroyed by development in 1960s, but approximately 200 plants remain. A major subdivision is planned in the surrounding area, but a "conservation easement" agreement between the California Department of Fish and Game and the landowner will help to preserve this population. At the third known site, where this had once been a common species, only two plants remain. This loss was due in part to wetland filling, but was primarily because of the removal of plants and bulbs for horticultural use. Owners of the latter two sites entered into voluntary protection agreements with The Nature Conservancy in 1989. The Sonoma County Department of Planning has designated both marshes as "critical habitat." This designation requires that any construction must be separated from the wetland boundaries by a minimum of 50 ft (15 m). Unfortunately, the requirement for a 50-ft setback can be waived if the setback would make the land unsuitable for construction.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/18/2020
  • Reproductive Research

A comparison of the pollination ecology and floral evolution of several lilies from the Pacific Coast, including Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense and Lilium occidentale (Skinner, 1988).

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 1 accessions of Lilium pardalinum subsp. pitkinense in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 527 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Program holds 1 accessions of Lilium pardalinum subsp. pitkinense in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 128 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Program has collected 1 seed accessions of Lilium pardalinum subsp. pitkinense from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 25 maternal plants

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Native Plant Society has collected 1 seed accessions of Lilium pardalinum subsp. pitkinense from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 35 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known from only 3 populations in Sonoma County, California (at 35-120 meters elevation), which are presumed extant, but botanists have been denied access to one site for the past 20 years. The other 2 sites have a total of 200 plants. The subspecies was once locally abundant; the populations have been reduced by loss of habitat to urbanization and by collection for horticulture (it is now cultivated). The subspecies also continues to be threatened by grazing and competition from non-native species.

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Collection of plants, seeds, and bulbs for Horticultural purposes (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995). Habitat loss due to urbanization (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995). Competition from invasive species, including blackberries (U.S. Fish an

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

As of 1995: 3 Populations. One population with unknown numbers of plants (the property owners have denied access to search for the plant). One population with approximately 200 plants. One population with approximately 2 plants (in 1996) (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995; California Natural Diversity Data Base).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

A comparison of the pollination ecology and floral evolution of several lilies from the Pacific Coast, including Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense and Lilium occidentale (Skinner, 1988).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Seeds from largest population collected and stored at The Berry Botanic Garden. A recovery plan is being developed. The Nature Conservancy and the California Conservation Corps have built and maintained cattle exclosures at two sites (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995). Listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1997 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1997).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Restrict access to discourage collection of plant material. Place sturdy fencing around all emerged plants to decrease loss due to grazing. Study genetic diversity within and between known populations. Reintroduce plants in suitable habitat.

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Determine germination protocols. Determine propagation and reintroduction protocols.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense
Authority (Beane & Vollmer) M. Skinner
Family Liliaceae
CPC Number 2550
ITIS 525096
USDA LIPAP5
Common Names Pitkin marsh lily
Associated Scientific Names Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense | Lilium pitkinense
Distribution CA: Southern end of the north Coast Range (Sonoma Co.)
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Grows only in permanently saturated sandy soils in freshwater marshes and wet meadows at an elevation of approximately 115-200 ft (35-60 m).

Ecological Relationships

Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense is primarily pollinated by hummingbirds, which is typical of plants with deep red flowers. Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense grows best in open, moist meadows. Plants that grow under tree or shrub cover may grow tall and thin. These plants lack the structural integrity to remain upright when their large flowers emerge. They often fall over, thereby placing their flowers close to the ground, where they are inaccessible to hummingbirds for pollination (Lynn Lozier, 1990, memo to Ed Guerrant, on file at BBG).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Butterflies & Moths
Swallowtails Papilio rutulus Confirmed Pollinator Link
Swallowtails Papilio eurymedon Confirmed Pollinator Link
Swallowtails Papilio glaucus rutulus Confirmed Pollinator Link
Birds
Hummingbirds Trochilidae Floral Visitor Link

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