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Silene spaldingii

Silene spaldingii, Photo: US Forest Service

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Caryophyllaceae
Tribus: Sileneae
Genus: Silene
Subgenus: S. subg. Behenantha
Sectio: S. sect. Physolychnis
Species: Silene spaldingii

Silene spaldingii S.Watson, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 10: 344 (1875)
Native distribution areas:
Silene spaldingii

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Western USA
USA (British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Watson, S. 1875. Revision of the genus Ceanothus, and descriptions of new plants, with a synopsis of the western species of Silene. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 10: 333–350. BHL Reference page. : 344


Hassler, M. 2019. Silene spaldingii. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Sep 18. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Silene spaldingii in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Sep 18. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Silene spaldingii. Published online. Accessed: Sep 18 2019.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Silene spaldingii in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.
Tropicos.org 2019. Silene spaldingii. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Sep 18.

Silene spaldingii is a rare species of flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae known by the common names Spalding's silene,[2] Spalding's catchfly and Spalding's campion. It is native to eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, northern Idaho and northern Montana, where its distribution extends just into British Columbia, Canada. Much of its former habitat has been converted to agriculture and its range is now limited to the last remaining stretches of pristine prairie grassland in this region. It is threatened by the degradation and loss of its remaining habitat. It is federally listed as a threatened species in the United States and it is designated endangered by Canada's COSEWIC.[1]

This is a perennial herb producing many stems and shoots from a thick taproot and woody, branching caudex. The stems grow erect 20–60 cm (8–24 in) in maximum height. They are somewhat hairy and sticky in texture. Lance-shaped leaves occur in pairs along the stems, each blade up to 7 centimeters long. The inflorescence is an open cyme of flowers with greenish-white petals. The base of the flower is enclosed in a tubular 10-veined calyx of sepals.[3] Blooming occurs in June and July.[4] Flowers are pollinated by the bumblebee Bombus fervidus.[1]

This plant is present in several regions in the northwestern United States and far southern British Columbia, such as the Palouse, the Channeled Scablands, and the Blue Mountains ecoregion, including the Zumwalt Prairie. The latter contains the largest population, which has over 10,000 individuals.[5] A large percentage of the populations are located in Montana.[1] Recent surveys have led to the discovery of additional subpopulations and populations.[5]

This species distribution has been reduced to patchy, geographically isolated fragments mainly due to the loss of its habitat to agriculture. This is an ongoing threat. Other threats include grazing by livestock and wildlife, and the invasion of introduced species of plants, two types of disturbance the plant does not tolerate.[1] Other threats include the lack of a normal fire regime, insect damage, drought, and climate change.[5] Gravel mining, herbicides, and off-road vehicles are threats in some areas.[1] Populations are generally small, making them vulnerable. For example, a population consisting of a single plant was eliminated when it was buried during road construction in Idaho.[5]

The plant displays prolonged dormancy, where it persists underground for one or more years at time surviving on carbohydrate stores in its long taproot.[6] The trait results in some difficulty when monitoring the plant.

Silene spaldingii. The Nature Conservancy.
USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Silene spaldingii". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
Silene spaldingii. Flora of North America.
Silene spaldingii. Washington Burke Museum.
USFWS. Silene spaldingii Five-year Review. January 2009.
Lesica, Peter; Crone, Elizabeth E. (2007). "Causes and consequences of prolonged dormancy for an iteroparous geophyte, Silene spaldingii". Journal of Ecology. 95 (6): 1360–1369. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01291.x. ISSN 1365-2745.

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