CPC Plant Profile: Southerly Frigid Shootingstar
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Plant Profile

Southerly Frigid Shootingstar (Dodecatheon austrofrigidum)

Dodecatheon austrifrigidum on a steep, rocky river's edge. Photo Credit: Linda McMahan
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Primulaceae
  • State: OR, WA
  • Nature Serve ID: 153712
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

The frigid shooting star (Dodecatheon austrofrigidum) is a seemingly delicate plant that makes its home in some tough neighborhoods. Known from only eight locations, this rare shooting star is only found on ridges and steep basalt slopes along cold rivers in western Oregon and Washington. In these habitats, shooting star roots cling to exposed rocky slopes with little or no soil. The frigid shooting star is able to survive on rock faces, despite a seeming paucity of available nutrients and disturbance from the rivers in flood years. Human activities create hazards that could threaten this plant's long-term existence. Logging near frigid shooting star populations can raise water levels, causing flooding and significant erosion that can bury or dislodge the plants. The Berry Botanic Garden has monitored frigid shooting stars at one site, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management. Our research indicated that population size can fluctuate greatly, in part due to river behavior. Scientists have only begun to learn about this plant's unique biology and population trends.

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Updates
  • 09/09/2020
  • Propagation Research

Germination trials at The Berry Botanic Garden. Seeds were subjected to four treatments: 1) direct placement into a germination chamber set at a constant 68F (20C), 2) direct placement into a chamber with alternating temperatures (50F/68F, or 10C/20C), 3) eight weeks of cold stratification followed by placement in the 20C chamber and 4) eight weeks of cold stratification followed by placement in the alternating temperature chamber. Seeds that were cold stratified and then placed in the alternating temperature chamber germinated at a rate of 40%. No other seeds germinated. Further research should be done to further examine germination requirements for this species (Berry Botanic Garden File).

  • 09/09/2020
  • Demographic Research

A six-year monitoring study (1991-1996) found yearly population changes, with an initial decrease in plant numbers during a flood year followed by an increase as the population recovered (Raven 1996). However, the final two years of monitoring revealed that the population was significantly declining. Heavy flooding and site disturbance occurred in 1996 and the 1996 population size was one-quarter the size of the 1994 population. The long-term trend is unclear (Raven 1996). Once pollinated, frigid shooting star fruits require several months to reach full maturity.

  • 09/09/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seed from 2 locations stored at The Berry Botanic Garden.

  • 09/09/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seed from 2 locations stored at The Berry Botanic Garden.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Occurs at scattered sites in the Coast Ranges of northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington. Known from eight or nine occurrences, six in Oregon (in two counties) and two or three in Washington (in two counties). At least two of these occurrences receive some protection and monitoring. Populations tend to have a limited number of individuals due to this species' restricted habitat. Populations exist in high elevation areas and also in lower elevation riverside sites. At the riverside sites, some threats exist due to logging and grazing upstream, which contributes to flooding and erosion that negatively impacts populations. Overall trends in these populations have proved difficult to detect, however, due to year-to-year variability in river behavior and consequent population size.

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Heavy flooding along river sites (Raven 1995a). Logging and cattle grazing upstream contribute to rainwater and debris run-off that can scour the habitat when water levels rise (Raven 1995b). Trampling (Raven 1996).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

As of 1996: 8 populations (Raven 1996). 6 in Oregon with unknown numbers. 2 in Washington with 15 and 100 individuals respectively (WNHP 2000)

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

A six-year monitoring study (1991-1996) found yearly population changes, with an initial decrease in plant numbers during a flood year followed by an increase as the population recovered (Raven 1996). However, the final two years of monitoring revealed that the population was significantly declining. Heavy flooding and site disturbance occurred in 1996 and the 1996 population size was one-quarter the size of the 1994 population. The long-term trend is unclear (Raven 1996). Once pollinated, frigid shooting star fruits require several months to reach full maturity. Germination trials at The Berry Botanic Garden. Seeds were subjected to four treatments: 1) direct placement into a germination chamber set at a constant 68F (20C), 2) direct placement into a chamber with alternating temperatures (50F/68F, or 10C/20C), 3) eight weeks of cold stratification followed by placement in the 20C chamber and 4) eight weeks of cold stratification followed by placement in the alternating temperature chamber. Seeds that were cold stratified and then placed in the alternating temperature chamber germinated at a rate of 40%. No other seeds germinated. Further research should be done to further examine germination requirements for this species (Berry Botanic Garden File).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

6 year monitoring study of population by the Salem BLM and Berry Botanic Garden (Raven 1996). Seed from 2 locations stored at The Berry Botanic Garden. Listed as Threatened by the State of Washington. One site in Oregon is located on land designated as an Adaptive Management Area (AMA) managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In 2001, Willamette Industries, a large timber corporation, donated 387 acres to the Nature Conservancy of Oregon, on which one population of D. austrofrigidum is found. Management activities will include inventory, monitoring, and ecological studies of the many sensitive species found on the preserve (TNC 2001).

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Genetic studies to determine relative frequencies of asexual and sexual reproduction (Raven 1995a) Yearly censusing to detect changes in population sizes and consistent monitoring of plant size (Raven 1996). Research reproductive biology to determine to determine the typical range of reproductive output and what factors contribute to low sexual reproduction (Raven 1995b). Populations in Washington and those occurring on ridges have not been studied.

Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Collect and store seeds from populations across the species' range. Determine optimum germination requirements. Determine propagation and reintroduction protocols.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Dodecatheon austrofrigidum
Authority K.L. Chambers
Family Primulaceae
CPC Number 7008
ITIS 502106
USDA DOAU
Common Names frigid shooting star | tundra shootingstar
Associated Scientific Names Dodecatheon austrofrigidum | Primula austrofrigida
Distribution OR, WAOR: Coast RangeWA: Olympic Peninsula (Olympic National Forest) and southwest Washington
State Rank
State State Rank
Oregon S2
Washington S1
Habitat

Dodecatheon austrofrigidum grows on steep basalt slopes along rivers (3-15 ft or 1-5 m from the water's edge) and nearby ridges at elevations of 100 to 3000 ft (30-915 m). It grows in cracks and crevices with little or no soil.

Ecological Relationships

When Dodecatheon austrofrigidum is found along river edges, it appears that water flow plays a key role in regulation of plant population size (Fournier and Scofield 1993, Raven 1996). A long-term population trend for the Trask River population is unclear due to annual population size fluctuations (Raven 1996). The association between moss and D. austrofrigidum is consistent with the theory that moss invades cracks in basalt rock surface and creates a substrate in which D. austrofrigidum can take root (Fournier and Scofield 1993). The frigid shooting star occurs with few associated species.

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

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