Parachute beardtongue (Penstemon debilis)
Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND
Parachute beardtongue was discovered in 1986, and was first described by OíKane and Anderson in 1987. Parachute beardtongue is a mat-forming perennial herb with thick, succulent, bluish leaves, each about 0.8 in. (2 cm) long and 0.4 in. (1 cm) wide. Plants produce shoots that run along underground, forming what appear as new plants at short distances away. Individual Parachute beardtongue plants are able to survive on the steep, unstable, shale slopes by responding with stem elongation as leaves are buried by the shifting talus. Buried stems progressively elongate down slope from the initial point of rooting to a surface sufficiently stable to allow the development of a tuft of leaves and flowers. The funnel-shaped flowers are white to pale lavender, and bloom during June and July. Parachute beardtongue plants produce a small number of seeds that are dispersed by gravity. The species is threatened primarily by oil and gas development and small population sizes.
- States/US Territories in which the Parachute beardtongue, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur: Colorado
- US Counties in which the Parachute beardtongue, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur: View All
|Status||Date Listed||Lead Region||Where Listed|
|2011-08-26||Mountain-Prairie Region (Region 6)||Wherever found|
» Federal Register Documents
|Date||Title||Plan Action Status||Plan Status|
|2013-01-23||RECOVERY OUTLINE: Parachute beardtongue (Penstemon debilis)||Recovery efforts in progress, but no implementation information yet to display||Outline|
» Critical Habitat
|Date||Citation Page||Title||Document Type||Status|
|2012-08-13||77 FR 48367 48418||Designation of Critical Habitat for Ipomopsis polyantha (Pagosa skyrocket), Penstemon debilis (Parachute beardtongue), and Phacelia submutica (DeBeque phacelia); Final Rule||Final Rule||Final designated|
|2011-07-27||76 FR 45078 45128||Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Ipomopsis polyantha (Pagosa skyrocket), Penstemon debilis (Parachute beardtongue), and Phacelia submutica (DeBeque phacelia); Proposed Rule||Proposed Rule||Not Required|
To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab
» Conservation Plans
No conservation plans have been created for Parachute beardtongue.
» Life History
Parachute beardtongue seems to be adapted to natural physical disturbance . Many of the characteristics that are most similar among sites promote continual shifting of the substrate: steep slopes, unstable surface layers of broken shale rubble, and no surface soil. The plants grow on steep, oil shale outcrop slopes of white shale talus at 8,000 to 9,000 ft (2,400 to 2,700 m) in elevation on the southern escarpment of the Roan Plateau above the Colorado River and the town of Parachute, Colorado. The Roan Plateau falls into the geologic structural basin known as the Piceance Basin. Average annual precipitation at Parachute, Colorado, is 12.75 in (32.4 cm), which is considered a high desert climate. Parachute beardtongue is found only on the Parachute Creek Member of the Green River Formation. Parachute beardtongue is often found growing with other species endemic to the Green River formation, including Mentzelia rhizomata (Roan Cliffs blazingstar), Astragalus lutosus (dragon milkvetch), Festuca dasyclada (Utah fescue), and Thalictrum heliophilum (sun-loving meadowrue), as well as several non-endemics.
Movement / Home Range
The historical range and distribution for this species is unknown. All of the currently known occurrences occupy about 91.8 ac (37.2 ha) on the Green River geologic formation in Garfield County, Colorado. Although this formation is underground throughout most of the Piceance Basin, it is exposed on much of the southern face of the Roan Plateau, to which the plant is restricted. The total area of the plantís geographic range is about 2 mi (3 km) wide and 17 mi (27 km) long. Six occurrences of Parachute beardtongue were found between 1986 and 2005; two of them are no longer viable. It is likely that unknown occurrences exist, because many areas are inaccessible to surveyors due to cliff-side terrain or private land ownership or both.
Parachute beardtongue plants require cross pollination, and have many different pollinators that vary between occurrences. None of the pollinators are specialists to Parachute beardtongue, nor are any of them rare.
» Other Resources
NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.
ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.
FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.