Phemeranthus sediformis

In my long-standing efforts to assemble enough photographic material to create a presentation on endemic plant species of the Pacific Northwest of North America, I managed to do the “two birds, one stone” thing when I photographed this species yesterday. I hadn’t realized that Rafinesque was the author of the name Phemeranthus, so I’ll also be able to use the images for my November talk entitled “Constantine Rafinesque: The Controversial Titan of American Natural History“.

Mount Savona Provincial Park is purportedly the highest-elevation site in British Columbia known for Phemeranthus sediformis at about 1500m (5000ft), but I note the Flora of North America entry lists Phemeranthus sediformis occurring at 1000-2000m, so perhaps there are higher-elevation sites in neighbouring Washington or I have old information. Fameflower or Okanogan fameflower or Okanogan talinum is known only from southern interior British Columbia (E-Flora BC uses a synonym, Talinum sediforme — and I note that I could also add these to my presentation on that topic as well) and two counties in Washington. Of particular interest is that all of its known localities were subject to glaciation.

Also of note is that this species was described and first published in 1933 by the German botanist Karl von Poellnitz, apparently from a specimen that was collected in 1851 by John Jeffrey.

Phemeranthus sediformis
Phemeranthus sediformis

6 responses to “Phemeranthus sediformis”

  1. Connie Hoge

    Maybe it’s more widespread but people just don’t notice it. It is unbelievably small! Thanks for including your shoe, it helps to know scale.

  2. Kathleen Garness

    Amazing! How old is this species and does it have many non-alpine relatives?
    I agree with Connie – having the shoe for scale is very useful – thanks again!
    (And I’m curious about the little artemisia-like plant on lower left of that clump…what is that?)

  3. phillip

    …ooh..what a perspective…better than a penny..

  4. Bonnie

    Imagine how easy it would be trampled.

  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Connie, my understanding is that new locations do continue to be found from time to time. Some of the localities are not near roads / easily hikable so it is doubtless more exist. Also, the collection location of the original specimen from 1851 has yet to be relocated.
    Kathleen, these were formerly placed in Talinum, which had a distribution of Africa and the Americas. Many of the former New World Talinum have since moved to Phemeranthus (but not all), a genus that is strictly New World. Flora of North America lists 25-30 species in the genus, with 16 occurring in North America. Most of these are in the southwest (New Mexico and Arizona), though some are found in central and eastern USA. Only one other species has a range that overlaps with this one, Phemeranthus spinescens — it is found in Washington and Oregon.
    As for the bit of foliage, possibly a young Lomatium? There were a few in bloom there I recall.
    Bonnie, I imagine a lot of people walking over the area would impact them significantly, but they are so low to the ground that I don’t think they get crushed. Despite it being a park, I did see a dried cow pie near the centre of the largest group of plants (in fact, I had to remove it so I could avoid being on any plants while photographing) and many piles of elk droppings nearby. Still, it is a fun and awkward dance sometimes to avoid stepping on any plants while moving about such areas.

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you daniel the little flower was just waiting for you to come
    i am most curious abot the two men in your write up to think they
    did it all with out an app or twitter or facebook or cars and gps

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