Castilleja cinerea



INTRODUCTORY


 

  2005 Chris Wagner, SBNF
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Sclafani, Christie J. 2006. Castilleja cinerea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
CASCIN

SYNONYMS:
None

NRCS PLANT CODE [35]:
CACI6

COMMON NAMES:
ash-gray Indian paintbrush
ashgrey Indian paintbrush

TAXONOMY:
The scientific name of ash-gray Indian paintbrush is Castilleja cinerea Gray. (Orobanchaceae) [10,11,14,22]. Taxonomic changes have moved the genus Castilleja from Scrophulariaceae to the Orobanchaceae family [11].

LIFE FORM:
Forb

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
Threatened [36]

OTHER STATUS:
None

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Castilleja cinerea
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Ash-grey Indian paintbrush has limited distribution within the state of California: it is endemic to the San Bernardino Mountains [31]. California Natural Diversity Database reports 33 occurrences in San Bernardino County. Additional populations have been documented on the San Bernardino National Forest and in local herbaria [4,33]. The Jepson Flora Project provides a distributional map of ash-grey Indian paintbrush.

ECOSYSTEMS [8]:
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper
FRES37 Mountain meadows

STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES

CA

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [2]:
3 Southern Pacific Border

KUCHLER [16] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K041 Creosote bush
K042 Creosote bush-bursage

SAF COVER TYPES [7]:
239 Pinyon-juniper
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
247 Jeffrey pine

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [27]:
216 Montane meadows
211 Creosote bush scrub
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
506 Creosotebush-bursage

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Ash-grey Indian paintbrush inhabits pebble plain openings within montane coniferous forests, pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.) woodlands, dry montane meadows, and Mojavean desert scrub [4,10,22,31].

Ash-grey Indian paintbrush prefers, but is not limited to, pebble plain habitats. These habitats are surrounded by montane Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) forest and pinyon-juniper woodlands dominated by singleleaf pinyon (P. monophylla), Sierra juniper (Juniperus occidentalis ssp. australis) and/or Utah juniper (J. osteosperma). The flora of the pebble plains consists of small cushion forming plants that are low growing, well spaced and sun tolerant [28,32,33]. Species associated with ash-grey Indian paintbrush on the pebble plains are Parish's rock cress (Arabis parishii), Bear Valley sandwort (Arenaria ursina), southern mountain buckwheat (Eriogonum kennedyi var. austromontanum), silver-haired ivesia (Ivesia argyrocoma), Big Bear Valley phlox (Phlox dolichantha), and San Bernardino bluegrass (Poa atropurpurea). Many of these species also have limited distribution on or near the San Bernardino National Forest [10,12,33].

Montane coniferous forest species associated with ash-grey Indian paintbrush include incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), Sierra juniper, white fir (Abies concolor), California black oak (Quercus kelloggii), and canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis). Common shrub species within the montane coniferous forest are mountain big sagebrush ( A. tridentata ssp. vaseyana), manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.), and curlleaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) [12,28,30].

Singleleaf pinyon pine mixed with Sierra juniper, Utah juniper and oaks (Quercus spp.) dominate the pinyon-juniper woodlands where ash-grey Indian paintbrush can be found. Other species commonly associated in these pinyon-juniper woodlands include basin big sagebrush ( A. tridentata ssp. tridentata), bigberry manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca), birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima), flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum), bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), sage (Salvia spp.) and Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) [12,18,37,38].

Ash-grey Indian paintbrush also inhabits dry montane meadows of southern California. Species of bentgrass (Agrostis spp), hairgrass (Deschampsia spp), muhly grass (Muhlenbergia spp.), bluegrass (Poa spp.), along with sedges (Carex spp., Scirpus spp.), and rushes (Juncus spp.) are commonly found in these meadows [37].

Common species associated with ash-grey Indian paintbrush in the Mojavean desert scrub are creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa), burrobrush (A. salsola), brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), spiny senna (Senna armata), Nevada ephedra (Ephedra nevadensis), and boxthorn (Lycium sp.) [12].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Castilleja cinerea

 

2005 Aaron Schusteff 2005 Chris Wagner, SBNF
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available [10,22].

Ash-grey Indian paintbrush is a perennial herb 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) in height. The plant has a taproot and can have several stems growing from the root crown. The spike-like inflorescence ranges in color from greenish yellow to a crimson red. Variations in flower size and color are due to aspect. Northerly exposures have larger more yellow flowers, whereas flowers become smaller and more reddish in color to the south. The fruit is 6 to 10 mm long. Encapsulated seeds have a net-like surface and range from 0.8 to 1.3 mm in length [10,21,22,33].

Ash-grey Indian paintbrush is a hemiparasitic plant that obtains some nutrients and water from a host plant. Host plant species parasitized by ash-grey Indian paintbrush include southern mountain buckwheat, Kennedy's buckwheat (Eriogonum kennedyi var. kennedyi) Wright's buckwheat (Eriogonum wrightii var. subscaposum), basin big sagebrush, black sagebrush (A. nova), and other Artemisia species. [10,21,22,33].

RAUNKIAER [26] LIFE FORM:
Hemicryptophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Ash-grey Indian paintbrush reproduces sexually [10,22]. Ash-grey Indian paintbrush sprouts from the root crown, which may allow for asexual reproduction following a fire or other top-killing disturbance [6,19,22].

Breeding system: Ash-grey Indian paintbrush is monoecious with bisexual flowers [10,22].

Pollination: Ash-grey Indian paintbrush is insect and bird pollinated [17,24,33]. On the pebble plains in the San Bernardino Mountains, ash-grey Indian paintbrush pollen transfer occurred at distances of less than 10 feet (4 m) (Freas, K. 1988, unpublished report cited in [33]). A pollinator exclusion experiment performed on a related species, golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), found that fruit set was 5 times greater for inflorescences visited by pollinators compared to inflorescences not visited [39,40].

Seed production: No information is available on this topic.

Seed dispersal: In 1 study, seed dispersal for ash-grey Indian paintbrush was limited to 16 feet (5 meters) outside the edge of the pebble plain habitat (Freas, K. 1988, unpublished report cited in [33]). Ash-grey Indian paintbrush seed dispersal by animals is undocumented.

Seed banking: Information regarding seed banking for ash-grey Indian paintbrush is lacking. Limited evidence for golden paintbrush suggests that its seed longevity may be 2 years [6,39]. Research is needed on seed bank longevity of ash-grey Indian paintbrush.

Germination: There are no germination studies for ash-grey Indian paintbrush. Field and laboratory studies for golden paintbrush found higher germination rates for 1st-year seeds than 2nd-year seeds and no germination occurred in the 3rd year [39,40]. Cold stratification of golden paintbrush seeds was required for 6 weeks to obtain 80% germination (St. Hilaire, K. 1987, unpublished report cited in [5]). Research on seed germination for ash-grey Indian paintbrush is needed.

Seedling establishment/growth: Ash-grey Indian paintbrush produces haustoria that obtain nutrients from the host plant. Haustoria formation and host contact is usually made shortly after ash-grey Indian paintbrush germination. The radicle penetrates the soil, forming a ring of hair-like structures and then branches [17]. The haustoria are produced by small branching roots from the lateral (main) root. Since ash-grey Indian paintbrush is only a partial root parasite, a host species is not necessary for plant survival. Many species in the genus Castilleja completed their life cycle without a host when grown in a greenhouse environment [9].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Ash-grey Indian paintbrush grows primarily on clay, stony soils of pebble plain habitats in openings within Jeffrey pine forests and pinyon-juniper woodlands in the San Bernardino Mountains. It occurs at elevations of 5,900 to 9,300 feet (1,800-2,800 m) [10,31,33]. According to the USDA Forest Service species account [33], it has not been found below 6,700 feet (2,000 m).

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Little information is available on successional relationships of ash-grey Indian paintbrush. Since ash-gray Indian paint brush occurs in open pinyon-juniper woodlands and openings within conifer forests [10,31,33], it appears to be an early seral species in tree-dominated communities. Information on its successional role in pebble plains communities is lacking. Research is needed in this area.

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Ash-grey Indian paintbrush may bloom from May to August but typically blooms in June and July. Flowering is dependent on site exposure, with east slopes blooming sooner than west slopes [10,22,33].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Castilleja cinerea
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: Ash-grey Indian paintbrush is moderately resistant to fire. It may survive fire by sprouting from the root crown [6,19,22]. Ash-grey Indian paintbrush may also reproduce from the soil seed bank [6,39,40].

Fire regimes: Pebble plain habitats, where ash-grey Indian paintbrush commonly occurs, are open rocky areas surrounded by forests of Jeffrey pine or pinyon-juniper woodlands. Pebble plains typically support little biomass and function as a natural fuel break that prevents or slows fire spread. Fire severities vary depending on the condition of surrounding vegetation. Presence of nonnative grasses, including red brome (Bromus rubens) and cheatgrass (B. tectorum), may increase fire spread through the pebble plains and increase fire severity [32,33].

Pinyon-juniper woodlands: Pinyon-juniper woodland communities in the San Bernardino Mountains experienced long-interval stand-replacement fires with estimated fire intervals of several hundred years both before and during the fire exclusion era [20,28,38]. Postfire succession is slow in singleleaf pinyon pine communities, with initial colonization by Great Basin big sagebrush scrub and desert shrub species. Fires can move quickly through pinyon-juniper woodlands, resulting in a mosaic of small scattered burned patches within uniform old-growth stands [38]. Thin bark and lack of self pruning makes singleleaf pinyon very susceptible to intense fire [15]. The sharp ecotone between pinyon-juniper and mixed-conifer communities may be due to the inability of singleleaf pinyon to withstand the higher frequency and severity typical of fires in mixed-conifer communities [20]. In 1999 several large fires occurred in the San Bernardino Mountains pinyon-juniper woodlands, parts of which reburned shortly thereafter. Currently the spread of nonnative cheatgrass in the burned areas has increased fuels and fuel continuity, which may decrease the fire return interval in these habitats [28].

Coniferous Pine Forest: Presettlement fire regimes for mixed pine forests were short-interval (5-30 years), low-severity, nonlethal surface fires that consumed litter, shrubs, seedlings, and immature trees, leaving large trees to thrive in open stands. Fire exclusion has eliminated low-severity understory burns, resulting in dense stands of conifers and increased dead and live fuel accumulation. Current conditions cause fires to burn more severely, which increases tree mortality [1,28]. In the current fire regime, species composition has shifted from Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine, and California black oak dominance to incense-cedar and white fir dominance [28].

Desert Scrub: Historically, fires in desert scrublands were very infrequent. They were ignited by lightning and/or Native Americans. Discontinuous sparse fuels produced fires of low to moderate severity. Nonnative grasses and increased urban development have increased fire frequency [25,28]. Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), a dominant species in the Mojavean desert scrub of southern California, is not fire resilient due to its limited sprouting ability and possible displacement by other species [3,13,25].

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where ash-grey Indian paintbrush is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70
creosote bush Larrea tridentata <35 to <100
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. < 35 [25]
Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi 5-30
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [1]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [29]:
Caudex/herbaceous root crown, growing points in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Castilleja cinerea
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
Fire can top-kill ash-grey Indian paintbrush, and extreme temperatures from fire may damage root crowns. Some host species can be negatively affected by fire, resulting in immediate detrimental effects and possible long term effects for ash-grey Indian paintbrush.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
Kennedy's buckwheat, a host species for ash-grey Indian paintbrush, is adversely impacted by fire. After the 1976 Coyote Flat Fire, also on the San Bernardino National Forest, buckwheat plants sprouted from established root crowns but no seedling regeneration was found. In the 1999 Willow Fire on the San Bernardino National Forest, the number of Kennedy buckwheat individuals decreased in areas affected by the burn. A closely related species to Kennedy's buckwheat, southern mountain buckwheat, has similar responses to fire. It also is a potential host plant for ash-grey Indian paintbrush [34].

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Ash-grey Indian paintbrush response to fire is unknown as of this review (2006). Other species of Castilleja, San Bernardino Mountains owl's clover (Castilleja lasiorhyncha) and golden paintbrush, have shown a positive response to fire [6,34]. Research is needed on the postfire response of ash-grey Indian paintbrush.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
Postfire response of related species may prove applicable to ash-grey Indian paintbrush. During the 1999 Willow Fire, San Bernardino Mountains owl's clover burned. San Bernardino Mountains owl's clover showed no negative fire effects on 2 study sites that were revisited after the Willow Fire. In June of 2000, thirteen new occurrences of San Bernardino owl's clover were discovered within the Willow Fire perimeter where the fire ranged from unburned to medium in severity [34].

Golden paintbrush, a federally threatened species found in Washington state and British Columbia, was monitored on 3 sites at the Washington Rocky Prairie Natural Area Preserve following a wildland fire in 1987 and 2 controlled burns in 1989 and 1994. Population numbers following the burns increased in all 3 studies, and postfire mortality was low. Postfire survivorship for new establishing plants on the burn sites was higher than for unburned plants [6].

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Nonnative grasses such as cheatgrass increase the potential for fire spread into the pebble plain habitat [32]. A change in the fire regime of this habitat may affect ash-grey Indian paintbrush.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Castilleja cinerea
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Herbivores, particularly small mammals, consume ash-grey Indian paintbrush [6]. It is a source of nectar for hummingbirds and insects [33]. Information on the nutritional value and arthropod cover value of ash-grey Indian paintbrush is unknown at the time of this review (2006). Research is needed on other possible plant-animal relationships for ash-grey Indian paintbrush.

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
No information is available on this topic.

OTHER USES:
No information is available on this topic.

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Residential and commercial development has contributed to the loss of the pebble plain habitat where ash-grey Indian paintbrush occurs. Increased recreation on and near the pebble plains have escalated the habitat decline. Recent habitat protection measures implemented by the San Bernardino National Forest have allowed for recovery of the pebble plains [32].

Proposed fuel treatments following drought-related conifer mortality have raised concern for impacts on the pebble plain habitat. Open areas encourage unauthorized off-road vehicle use, which further degrades critical habitat. The pebble plain habitat can be used as a natural fuel break. The use of herbicides, grass seeding, and ground disturbance should be avoided [32].

Castilleja cinerea: REFERENCES


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