CPC Plant Profile: Dolores River Skeleton-plant
Search / Plant Profile / Lygodesmia grandiflora var. doloresensis
Plant Profile

Dolores River Skeleton-plant (Lygodesmia grandiflora var. doloresensis)

Closeup of wiry stems and lavender flower. Note the very narrow but elongated leaves. Photo Credit: Carol Dawson
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: CO, UT
  • Nature Serve ID: 132834
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

Lygodesmia doloresensis was first collected in 1947 by H.D. Harrington of Colorado State University. Spencer Tomb then reexamined the plant as part of his doctoral research on Lygodesmia and discovered that it was an unrecognized species. He named it Lygodesmia doloresensis in 1980. On June mornings, this foot-tall Aster will produce numerous rose-colored flowers surrounded by wispy leaves. These plants are often only found where shrubs or clumps of prickly pear cactus protect them from grazing cattle. (Von Bargen 1997)

Participating Institutions
CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.
Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Currently known from 11 occurrences in Mesa County, Colorado and along an 8 km stretch of the Colorado River Canyon (Professor Valley) in adjacent Grand County, Utah. Several of the occurrences are within a 2 km separation distance and could be combined in the future. The Dolores River Canyon, where most of the plants occur, is heavily grazed, and L. dolorensis tends to be found on sites that are physically inaccessible to cattle, in protected spots within larger vegetation, or along roadsides.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include livestock grazing (Atwood 1991).

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

There are three known sites (Von Bargen 1997).

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

There is no formal management plan.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Research needs include understanding reproductive biology and ecology, habitat requirement, relationships with other species and population dynamics.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection and storage.


Be the first to post an update!

Taxon Lygodesmia grandiflora var. doloresensis
Authority (S. Tomb) S.L. Welsh
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 2744
ITIS 537312
Common Names Dolores River skeleton plant | Dolores River skeleton-plant | Dolores skeleton plant
Associated Scientific Names Lygodesmia doloresensis | Lygodesmia grandiflora var. doloresensis | Lygodesmia grandiflora
Distribution This species is known from a 16 km stretch of the Dolores River Canyon in Mesa County, Colorado and 8 km stretch of the Colorado River Canyon in Grand County, Utah. However, the Dolores Canyon, where
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S1S2
Utah S1

This species is found in mixed juniper-desert shrub and juniper-grassland communities on alluvial soils at elevations of 4,400 to 4,800 ft. (Atwood 1991). Soils are derived from sandstone outcrops associated with the undivided lower portion of the Cutler Group. (NatureServe 2001).This species is associated with Leucelene ericoides, Gutierregia sarothrace, Aristida pururea, Hilaria jamesis, Chrysothamnus nauseosus, Bromus tectorum, Plantago sp., Opuntia sp., Coleogycle ramossima, Atriplex sp. (Atwood 1991)

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

CPC secures rare plants for future generations by coordinating on-the-ground conservation and training the next generation of plant conservation professionals. Donate today to help save rare plants from extinction.

Donate Today