CPC Plant Profile: Bear Valley Sandwort
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Plant Profile

Bear Valley Sandwort (Eremogone ursina)

Bear Valley sandwort (Arenaria ursina) with beefly. Photo Credit: Scott Eliason
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Caryophyllaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 141513
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 09/28/2021

Arenaria ursina (Bear Valley sandwort) is a low tufted perennial in the pink family (Caryophyllaceae) endemic to the northeastern San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. This species occurs in a unique habitat called pebble plains (also known as pavement plains). Pebble plain habitat is of limited distribution (occurring only in the San Bernardino Mountains) and supports a biologically rich but highly threatened plant community that consists of small cushion forming plants, minute annuals, grasses, and succulents. Arenaria ursina was listed as threatened by the federal government in 1998.

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

Tim Krantz observed a vigorous response after fire (1981). He observed many plants surviving, fruiting and seeding in good densities. Fires intensity at the Arenaria ursina site and the month the fire occurred is unknown (USDA FS 2007a).

  • 09/09/2020
  • Genetic Research

Studies on genetic diversity of Arenaria ursina found a high degree of genetic variability between six sampled populations (Ciano 1983)

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 4 accessions of Eremogone ursina in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 4834 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, California Botanic Garden has collected 1 seed accessions of Eremogone ursina from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 50 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Restricted to a unique habitat that occurs in a 240 square km-area in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. There are 19 extant EOs. Heavy off-road vehicle and hiking use is occurring and is a significant threat, as the fragile pebble plain habitat is extremely susceptible to long-persisting or irreversible damage from these activities. Some habitat was severely damaged by an act of vandalism involving a construction vehicle. Extensive potential habitat was probably lost with the construction of a dam and reservoir in the late 1800s.

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Pebble plain habitat was likely destroyed due to the creation of Big Bear Lake in the 1880s. Residential and commercial development has also contributed to habitat loss. Other threats include: existing roads and trails bisecting habitat increased re

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The California Natural Diversity Database reports 25 occurrences, 17 of these are on the San Bernardino National Forest. The number of individuals at each occurrence ranges from thousands of plants to hundred of plants, and the number of plants at most occurrences is unknown (CNDDB 2007).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Studies on genetic diversity of Arenaria ursina found a high degree of genetic variability between six sampled populations (Ciano 1983). Tim Krantz observed a vigorous response after fire (1981). He observed many plants surviving, fruiting and seeding in good densities. Fires intensity at the Arenaria ursina site and the month the fire occurred is unknown (USDA FS 2007a).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Barriers and signs have been installed to direct recreation use, and eight road segments affecting pebble plains were decommissioned in 1999. The Pebble Plain Habitat Management Guide was recently revised (2002). Conservation practices that should be considered for this species include (USDA FS 2007a): Implement strategies within the Pebble Plain Habitat Management Guide to the greatest extent practicable. Utilize the habitat suitability criteria and detection protocols developed for this taxon and apply to surveys at the project level. Survey all new occurrences of Arenaria ursina and any occurrences that have not been visited in the past ten years, and record occurrence status, habitat condition, and threats. Collect a herbarium voucher specimen of Arenaria ursina to document new occurrences or to verify a historical occurrence if the occurrence is not known to have been documented in at least ten years prior. Map known and new occurrences of Arenaria ursina in the plan area using NRIS data collection standards, and incorporate these occurrences into the GIS corporate database.

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Survey all new occurrences of Arenaria ursina and any occurrences that have not been visited in the past ten years, and record occurrence status, habitat condition, and threats.

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Establish and maintain a genetically representative seed bank

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Eremogone ursina
Authority (B.L. Rob.) Ikonn.
Family Caryophyllaceae
CPC Number 273
ITIS 512996
USDA ERUR5
Common Names Bear Valley Sandwort
Associated Scientific Names Arenaria ursina | Eremogone ursina | Arenaria capillaris var. ursina
Distribution Arenaria ursina is endemic to the Big Bear Valley region and occurs from Onyx Peak to Cactus Flat in the northeastern San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California (CNDDB 2007).
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Arenaria ursina occurs on pebble plains and is often associated with Eriogonum kennedeyi var. austromontanum (also a pebble plain endemic). This species prefers mesic rocky sites with accumulated leaf litter within pebble plains and occurs at elevations of 6,720-9,475 ft (2,050-2,890 m) (USDA FS 2007a, USFWS 1998). Pebble plains are open treeless areas that consist of clay soil (up to 53%) mixed with a pavement of quartzite pebbles and gravel that are pushed to the surface through frost action (USDA FS 2007a). The combination of clay soil, frost heaving, extreme temperature fluctuations, high light intensity, and desiccating winds is thought to prevent the establishment of tree species on pebble plains (USDA FS 2007b).

Ecological Relationships

Arenaria ursina is self compatible producing seeds by self pollination and insect mediated outcrossing. Small syrphid flies and bees appear to be the primary insect pollinators for this species (OBrien 1979).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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