Rare Plants

Aztec gilia, Aliciella formosa
Photo credit: Daniela Roth

Conservation Strategy

 

 

IAE Southwest is writing a Conservation Strategy to guide BLM stewardship of Clover’s cactus (Sclerocactus cloverae)
and Aztec Gilia (Aliciella formosa), two rare species found only on the Nacimiento Formation in western New Mexico.
Both species are heavily impacted by oil and gas development as well as climate change. We are working to develop a
robust strategy for conservation of these species that identifies management actions that will be compatible with the
BLM’s multiple use mandate and most likely to be adopted by industry.

 

Clover’s cactus, Sclerocactus cloverae
Photo credit: Daniela Roth

 

 

Seed-banking

We recently received Kew Foundation America Millennium Seed-bank Funding through the Center for Plant Conservation to conduct conservation collections of two

Allred’s flax (Linum allredii)
Photo credit: Robert Sivinski

rare plant species in New Mexico. One of these is Parish's alkali grass (Puccinellia parishii), a globally rare (G2) wetland grass that occurs only in wet alkaline soils in western New Mexico. Although this diminutive bunch grass can persist in the face of heavy livestock grazing, activities that divert or dry up springs and seeps will destroy its habitat.

The other species is Allred’s flax (Linum allredii), a critically imperiled (G1) endemic of the Yeso Hills border region of New Mexico and Texas. This orange-flowered perennial flax occurs on scarps and hillsides exposing pale sandy gypsum soils in Chihuahuan Desert scrub habitats. Threats to the species include large-area herbicide application for range restoration, expansion of oil and gas development and potential gypsum mining. 

With help from the NM Natural Heritage Program, NM State Botanist Daniela Roth, former State Botanist Bob Sivinski, and the Bureau of Land Management Carlsbad Field Office we have located healthy populations and collected seed for conservation collections that will support survival and reduce extinction risk of these globally rare species.

 

Parish’s alkali grass habitat
Photo credit: Kimiora Ward

Parish’s alkali grass (Pucinellia parishii)
Photo credit: Kimiora Ward