Oregon

Tom Kaye, Institute for Applied Ecology

Golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) is listed as threatened and has become regionally extinct in the southern portion of its range due to habitat conversion.  A few wild populations remain in Washington and British Columbia.  Efforts to conserve the species in Oregon have emphasized wild seed collection across multiple remnant WA populations, agricultural seed increase, plug planting and seeding into restoration sites and prairies, and follow up management (including mowing, burning, and seed addition to increase plant diversity).  Concurrent research has demonstrated that the species is a generalist hemiparasite that benefits from having multiple hosts, underscoring the need to maintain or enhance plant diversity at reintroduction sites.  In addition, field tests have helped narrow the habitat type in which the species will thrive.  Since 2010, the species has established and increased in Oregon dramatically through reintroduction on conserved public and private lands, to over 350,000 plants across 23 populations in 2018.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering delisting the species due to these recent successes with population establishment.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 3, 2019

Ed Guerrant, Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank

Penstemon peckii (G3-S3 Federal SOC) is an Oregon endemic with a relatively compact range in the semi-arid Ponderosa pine forest east of the Cascade Mountains. The vast majority of known populations (ca 93%) are almost entirely within the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest. A 1992 Species Conservation Strategy by Cindi O’Neil found that it is “Best adapted to open full sun habitats, low vegetative competition and natural fire.” The natural fire frequency was 7 to 15 years, but active fire suppression for many decades had diminished and degraded habitat. Number one in the “What we do not know” list is “How long does Peck’s penstemon seed remain viable in the soil seed bank?” To address that question, in 1992 we gathered seeds from multiple populations across the species’ range. We mixed seeds from 11 populations into a single, large bulk sample in order to compare their survivorship in the soil seed bank and in an ex situ seed bank. In addition to initial trials of fresh and dried and frozen seeds, samples have been removed from the field and ex situ seed bank after 6, 12, 18 months, and then at 4, 15 and now 25 years. The current round of germination trials of 25-year old seeds is still underway, but to date, approximately 26% of those stored in the soil and 51% in the freezer have germinated. The species clearly has the capacity to form a long-lived soil seed bank.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018