Erigeron stanselliae is endemic to a small part of Oregon in the western Siskiyou Mountains. Though we (likely) won’t be collecting in the area where this species occurs, this is the general region we are working in for the next couple weeks.
The species is named in honour of one of the area’s notable botanists, the late Veva Stansell, who passed away earlier this year. In 2013, a proposal was initiated by the Kalmiopsis Audubon Society and the Native Plant Society of Oregon to designate a portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest as the Veva Stansell Botanical Area. If successful, this proposal would give additional protection to Erigeron stanselliae and a number of other globally-rare plant species. Perhaps spend some time to acquaint yourself with their proposal, and, if you are on-board with it, sign the petition.
Kenton Chambers, professor emeritus in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences submitted a summary of what makes this species different from the other 40 or so taxa of Erigeron in Oregon to Botanical Electronic News:
In the November 2011 issue of the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, I described the new Oregon species Erigeron stanselliae, a member of the sunflower family Asteraceae…The new species has been found at only two sites in coastal Curry County. It was collected as early as the 1970s and 1980s, but was misidentified then as a subspecies of the well known species E. eatonii Gray. In 2009, I asked Veva Stansell, one of the original discoverers of the plant, to lead me to a known locality at Flycatcher Springs, about 13 km SE of Gold Beach. My collections from there permitted a detailed morphological comparison with other taxa of the “Erigeron eatonii-complex,”…I was able to separate the Curry County plants from their 4 nearest relatives by minor but taxonomically important features of 1) head size, 2) degree of leafiness of the flower stem, 3) density of distal stem pubescence, and 4) presence of minute glandular trichomes on the heads. Also significant in this comparison was that the new species is limited to serpentine-derived (ultramafic) soils…It was a pleasure to name the plant in honor of Mrs. Stansell, whose vigorous field work over several decades has contributed a great deal to our knowledge of the flora of SW Oregon and NW California.