Kearney's blue-star (Amsonia kearneyana)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   


General Information

The blue-star is a small (up to 90 cm) perennial subshrub with a thickened woody root. The species has up to 50 sparingly-branched stems arising from the base. Leaves are alternate, oblong to lanceolate and pubescent. White flowers are clustered at the end of the inflorescence. Mature plant may be up to 2 m across.

  • States/US Territories in which the Kearney's blue-star, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur:  Arizona
  • US Counties in which the Kearney's blue-star, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Kearney's blue-star, Wherever found is known to occur:  Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge
  • Additional species information
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
1989-01-19 Southwest Region (Region 2) Wherever found

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
2008-03-20 00:00:00.0 73 FR 14995 14997 5-Year Reviews of 28 Southwestern Species
1989-01-19 00:00:00.0 54 FR 2131 2134 ETWP; Determination of Amsonia kearneyana to be Endangered Species; 54 FR 2131 2134

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
1993-05-24 Kearney's Blue-star View Implementation Progress Final
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
2008-03-20 73 FR 14995 14997 5-Year Reviews of 28 Southwestern Species
  • Notice 5-year Review, Initiation
Five Year Review
Date Title
2013-08-15 5-Year-Review for Kearney Bluestar - 2013

» Critical Habitat

No critical habitat rules have been published for the Kearney's blue-star.

» Conservation Plans

No conservation plans have been created for Kearney's blue-star.

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Two types of habitat are identified. The first is on dry, open slopes (20-30 degrees) at 1,220-1830 m elevation in Madrean evergreen woodlands/interior chaparral transition zone. The second is on stable, partially shaded coarse alluvium along dry washes at 1,095-1,160 m elevation under deciduous riparian trees and shubs in Sonoran desertscrub or desertscrub-grassland ecotone.

Movement / Home Range

The geographic range for this species is very restriced with a small number of known subpopulations ranging in size from a single plant to roughly 130 individuals. Fourteen natural subpopulations and one established transplant population are known to be extant. Although more small subpopulations of the species have been found in recent years, populations and subpopulations visited more than once show declines, and this species is still very limited both in numbers and in distribution.

Reproductive Strategy

The Kearneys blue star flowers in late April to May; fruiting in July and August. Seeds are cylindrical, corky and 8-11 mm long, 3-4 mm broad. The long, tubular, early-blooming flowers have a wide variety of pollinators including butterflies, bee flies, mordellid beetles, hawkmoths, moths, and even broad-tailed hummingbirds. Repoduction is very dependent on adequate winter precipitation for flower and seed production, seed dispersal (corky seeds float in water), as well as germination and establishment. The species may go long intervals with no establishment punctuated by successful recruitment when rainfall is suitable and may require some disturbance to establish and colonize new sites. Seedlings are rare in both natural subpopulations and in the transplant population.


Drought coupled with a recent large-scale fire has resulted in changes in vegetation community characteristics in the plantís habitat; we do not know what impact this may have on the blue-star.

» 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.