Small Camissonia - Camissonia parvula
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Camissonia parvula is currently known from one extant location in Montana on the southern edge of the Pryor Mountains in Carbon County. Populations are thought to be small, but may vary widely from year to year. As an annual plant, it may tolerate - or even respond positively to - moderate levels of disturbance. Additional population and site data are needed for this species in Montana.
Small Camissonia is an annual herb with branching stems up to 15 cm high. The strap-shaped leaves are alternate and 1-3 cm long. Foliage is sparsely hairy to glandular. Small flowers are attached to the stem at the base of upper leaves. The four separate, yellow petals are 2-4 mm long, and the four sepals are reflexed. The stigma is ball-shaped. Petals and sepals are attached at the top of the ovary, which matures into a linear capsule, 2-4 cm long, that becomes twisted or coiled at maturity.
Flowering and fruiting occur in May
Camissonia andina has white or pink flowers. Camissonia scapoidea has leafy stems and stalked fruits, whereas the fruits of C. parvula lack stalks. Camissonia minor has smaller petals than C. parvula.
WA to MT, south to CA, AZ, UT, CO. Known from Carbon County (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
In Montana, Camassia parvula grows from 5200-5500 feet elevation on the southern edge of the Pryor Mountains. It occupies sandy soil weathered from calcareous sandstone, in ecotonal areas between juniper woodland and sagebrush steppe (Lesica and Achuff 1992). Associates include Juniperus osteosperma, Artemisia arbuscula, A. tridentata, Phacelia ivesiana, Streptanthella longirostris, Stipa comata, Bouteloua gracilis, and Gilia inconspicua.
This plant is an annual, and population sizes may vary widely from year to year depending on conditions. Seeds can remain dormant in unfavorable years. The habitat is sparsely vegetated suggesting that the small plants are poor competitors for light, water or nutrients. Camissonia parvula may respond positively to moderate disturbance that reduces competition.
As an annual plant, this species can likely tolerate and may respond positively to moderate levels of disturbance (Lesica and Achuff 1992). Populations are relatively small and localized, with the total occupied habitat in Montana estimated at about 2 acres.
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- Lesica, P. and P. F. Stickney. 1994. Noteworthy collections: Montana. Madrono 41:228-231.
- Lesica, P. and P.L. Achuff. 1992. Distribution of vascular plant species of special concern and limited distribution in the Pryor Mountain desert, Carbon County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 105 pp.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.