Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A visit to one of Colorado's rarest species

Draba weberi may be Colorado’s rarest plant. This diminutive member of the mustard family is known only from a single occurrence of less than 100 individuals in Summit County. The single small population has persisted since at least the late 1960’s, but no other populations have yet been located. Although little is known about the species, it is believed to reproduce through a form of apomixis in which seeds are formed without fertilization and carry only maternal genes.

Draba weberiDraba weberi (photo by Jill Handwerk)

CNHP Botany Information Manager Jill Handwerk, together with representatives from the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Natural Areas Program, and the owners of the site visited the population in July. Jill is happy to report that this small piece of Colorado’s biodiversity is still with us. Colorado botanists will no doubt continue to search for this elusive species in hopes of finding a second population.

Draba weberi with scaleIt is the little things in biodiversity that matter (photo by Jill Handwerk)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!

Please note that all comments are moderated, so there may be a delay of some hours (especially over the weekend or at night Colorado time) before your comment shows up.