CPC Plant Profile: Arizona Bugbane
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Plant Profile

Arizona Bugbane (Actaea arizonica)

Another view of this plant in flower. Photo Credit: R. Fletcher
Description
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • State: AZ
  • Nature Serve ID: 136364
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

Arizona bugbane is an herbaceous perennial that reaches 3-6 feet in height. It has large, long-petioled lower leaves and small sessile upper leaves. The toothed leaf blades are divided into three leaflets. This species produces rather showy white flowers that grow on long stalks and bloom in slender clusters of small, petal-less flowers. The seeds resemble furry little bugs. (Phillips et al. 1996) This is a rare plant that has very narrow habitat restrictions. It exists in only four small population areas in Arizona, and is not Federally protected. Major problems facing this species include an apparent lack of genetic variation as well as extremely poor germination rates in cultivation, which hinders attempts to grow individuals for reintroduction programs. (DeWald & Phillips 1996)

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 08/26/2020
  • Seed Collection

Collect seed from a newly found population in James Canyon to ensure full genetic representation in the seed bank.

  • 08/12/2020
  • Propagation Research

The Arboretum at Flagstaff conducted germination trials in 1990 and found that overall germination was poor. The only successful germination (11%) occurred after 4 months of cold stratification.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to Arizona and only known from the central portion of the state. Less than 20 sites extant.

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

Flooding Recreation Road construction Timber harvesting Off-road vehicle use Water diversions/impoundments (Phillips et al. 1996)

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

Found in four population areas in Arizona (DeWald and Phillips 1996).

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

The Arboretum at Flagstaff conducted germination trials in 1990 and found that overall germination was poor. The only successful germination (11%) occurred after 4 months of cold stratification.

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

The emphasis has been to preserve the status quo.

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

Continue research into the life history of this species, and continue work on the conservation assessment and strategy for the species.

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

Collect seed from a newly found population in James Canyon to ensure full genetic representation in the seed bank.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Actaea arizonica
Authority (S. Watson) J. Compton
Family Ranunculaceae
CPC Number 944
ITIS 821143
USDA ACAR18
Common Names Arizona bugbane
Associated Scientific Names Cimicifuga arizonica | Actaea arizonica
Distribution Found only in central Arizona, (Coconino and Gila counties). All known populations occur within three National Forests; the Coconino, Kaibab, and Tonto. (DeWald & Phillips 1996)
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S2
Habitat

Often found in the transition zone between coniferous forest and riparian habitat at elevations of 5300 to 8300 feet (1829 to 2529 meters). This species is often found near perennial or intermittent streams, and appears to prefer locations with high humidity and moist, rich, fertile soils. (DeWald & Phillips 1996; Phillips et al. 1996)

Ecological Relationships

63% of populations on the Coconino National Forest are in wilderness or Mexican spotted owl cores. (Phillips et al. 1996) Flowers are pollinated by three bumblebee species, with peak flowering times (early August) coinciding with peak population abundance of the bumblebees. (DeWald & Phillips 1996)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bumble bees Bombus occidentalis Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Pyrobombus huntii Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Separatobombus morrisoni Confirmed Pollinator Link

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