CPC Plant Profile: San Francisco Peaks Ragwort
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Plant Profile

San Francisco Peaks Ragwort (Packera franciscana)

This low growing perennial grows in the only alpine habitat in Arizona. Photo Credit: Janette Milne
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: AZ
  • Nature Serve ID: 148097
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

The San Francisco Peaks groundsel is found only on the talus slopes in the alpine zone on San Francisco Peaks. San Francisco Peaks is a strato-volcano that rises abruptly from 2130 meters (7000 feet) to an elevation of 3852 meters (12,633 feet). This volcano is located north of Flagstaff, Arizona, and is the highest point in the southwestern United States. It is the home of the only true alpine zone in Arizona. (Goodwin 1978) Senecio franciscanus is a dwarf perennial alpine plant that grows low to the rocky ground where it is found, to a height of only 3 to 10 cm (1.25-4 inches). Flowering stems emerge from ruffled-edge leaves with purple undersides. These stems hold clusters of one to six flowers that each contain 8 to 13 yellow ray flowers. (Barkley 1968; USFWS 1982)

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.
Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/19/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted the Arboretum at Flagstaff to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In fall 2017, The Arboretum at Flagstaff has been preparing packets of Packera franciscana propagules, a critically impaired or G1 listed endangered species found only on the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona, for seed banking at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado. With funding provided by the USDA USFS Region 3 Forests Project and the Bureau of Land Management’s Seeds of Success Program, the Arboretum has collected eight species from 12 populations (totaling over 73,000 seeds!) that are important for conservation and research. Collecting trips have ranged from western Arizona, dipping into the Mohave Desert and north to the Arizona Strip, as well as to the top of Agassiz Peak just outside Flagstaff (CPC November 2017 Newsletter).

  • 10/06/2020
  • Seed Collection

In fall 2017, The Arboretum at Flagstaff has been preparing packets of Packera franciscana propagules, a critically impaired or G1 listed endangered species found only on the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona, for seed banking at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado. With funding provided by the USDA USFS Region 3 Forests Project and the Bureau of Land Management’s Seeds of Success Program, the Arboretum has collected eight species from 12 populations (totaling over 73,000 seeds!) that are important for conservation and research. Collecting trips have ranged from western Arizona, dipping into the Mohave Desert and north to the Arizona Strip, as well as to the top of Agassiz Peak just outside Flagstaff (CPC November 2017 Newsletter).

Katherine Heineman
  • 11/16/2017

In fall 2017, The Arboretum at Flagstaff has been preparing packets of Packera franciscana propagules, a critically impaired or G1 listed endangered species found only on the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona, for seed banking at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado. With funding provided by the USDA USFS Region 3 Forests Project and the Bureau of Land Management’s Seeds of Success Program, the Arboretum has collected eight species from 12 populations (totaling over 73,000 seeds!) that are important for conservation and research. Collecting trips have ranged from western Arizona, dipping into the Mohave Desert and north to the Arizona Strip, as well as to the top of Agassiz Peak just outside Flagstaff (CPC November 2017 Newsletter).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Packera franciscana is a narrow endemic that occupies approximately 325 acres on one small high altitude mountain in northern Arizona. Plants are locally common along a narrow saddle that connects two mountain tops. This low growing perennial primarily reproduces by mat-forming rhizomes, with total ground-cover rarely exceeding 10%; generally between a trace and 2%. The area is heavily used for recreation and the unstable talus-slope habitat is easily disrupted by off-trail hiking and climbing in the summer, and winter avalanches. Soil moisture seems to be a dominant limiting factor.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include; Trampling from off-trail hiking Natural disturbances, such as avalanches on the steep talus slopes where the species resides (USFWS 1983)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Approximately 5000 individuals occur in discrete patches in an area of less than 2.6 square kilometers on the San Francisco Peaks. (USFWS 1983)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

U.S.F.S. have diverted trails away from where plants are growing. Interpreters at the top of the ski lift help to explain the reason for protecting the species and curb visitors from cutting across the plant habitat.

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Nomenclature
Taxon Packera franciscana
Authority (Greene) W.A. Weber & Á. Löve
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 3928
ITIS 565356
USDA PAFR6
Common Names San Francisco Peaks groundsel | San Francisco Peaks ragwort
Associated Scientific Names Senecio franciscanus | Packera franciscana
Distribution Found only on San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. (USFWS 1982)
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S1
Habitat

Found in alpine tundra areas of southwestern spruce-fir forests on talus slopes between elevations of 10,991 and 12,303 feet. (USFWS 1982)

Ecological Relationships

The species grows on unstable volcanic talus or scree slopes. (USFWS 1982) Reproduction is most often vegetative via rhizomes, but occasionally via seed. (USFWS 1982)

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

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