Hieracium albiflorum



INTRODUCTORY


© 2000 Gary A. Monroe

 

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Reeves, Sonja L. 2006. Hieracium albiflorum. 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:
HIEALB

NRCS PLANT CODE [96]:
HIAL2

COMMON NAMES:
white hawkweed
white flowered hawkweed

TAXONOMY:
The scientific name of white hawkweed is Hieracium albiflorum Hook. (Asteraceae) [20,21,27,39,51,52,54,62,99,100].

SYNONYMS:
Chlorocrepis albiflora (Hook.) Weber [97,98]

LIFE FORM:
Forb

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
No special status

OTHER STATUS:
Information on state-level noxious weed status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Hieracium albiflorum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
White hawkweed is a native perennial forb occurring throughout western North America. Populations are found from southeastern Alaska to Saskatchewan and south to California, Colorado, and northern Mexico [20,21,50,51,62,99]. Disjunct populations occur in Wisconsin and Quebec [34,96]. Flora of North America  provides a distributional map of white hawkweed.

ECOSYSTEMS [36]:
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES27 Redwood
FRES28 Western hardwoods

STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES
AK CA CO ID MT NV OR SD UT WA
WI WY

CANADA
AB BC NT PQ SK YK

MEXICO
Chih. Son.

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [14]:
1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

KUCHLER [61] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K001 Spruce-cedar-hemlock forest
K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir-hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K013 Cedar-hemlock-pine forest
K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce-fir forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K028 Mosaic of K002 and K026
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods

SAF COVER TYPES [32]:
205 Mountain hemlock
206 Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir
207 Red fir
208 Whitebark pine
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
212 Western larch
213 Grand fir
215 Western white pine
218 Lodgepole pine
224 Western hemlock
227 Western redcedar-western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone
237 Interior ponderosa pine
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
249 Canyon live oak
255 California coast live oak

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [85]:
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
202 Coast live oak woodland

ALASKAN RANGELANDS
None

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
White hawkweed is a component in giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) groves in California [64,84].

White hawkweed is a dominant species in the western hemlock/salal (Tsuga heterophylla/Gaultheria shallon)/white hawkweed plant association in the southern Oregon Cascades [9].


BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Hieracium albiflorum

 

 

© 2003 Steve Matson

 

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 [15,20,21,27,39,50,51,52,55,99,100].

White hawkweed is a native, deciduous, perennial forb. Its erect stems (1 to several) arise from a fibrous rooted caudex that is immediately under the mineral soil surface. The stems are 0.5 to 4 feet (1.5-12 dm) tall. Basal and lowermost cauline leaves are persistent. The inflorescence is composed of 12 to 35 small flower heads in open cymes or panicles. The flower heads are made up of ray flowers. The fruit is a small, hard, one-seeded achene with a pappus [15,21,45,51,62,71,74,76,78,99].

RAUNKIAER [81] LIFE FORM:
Hemicryptophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
White hawkweed's principal means of reproduction is through recruitment of windborne seed [42,71]. It readily establishes from seed in burned or disturbed areas [71,79].

Pollination: Access to nectaries and/or pollen of white hawkweed flowers is structurally restricted [75].

Breeding system: White hawkweed is self-fertile [21].

Seed production: White hawkweed produces "many" seeds [28,42,71].

Seed dispersal: White hawkweed seed is wind-dispersed. The light-weight, plumed achenes can be dispersed long distances [35,42].

Seed banking: Some evidence suggests that white hawkweed occurs in the soil seed bank in some plant communities; however, information is lacking on the density and longevity of white hawkweed seeds in soil. Hamilton and Peterson [49] report that white hawkweed was stimulated to germinate from buried seed following logging and burning in British Columbia's sub-boreal spruce zone. A soil seed bank study was conducted on Douglas-fir (Pseudostuga menziesii) and grand fir (Abies grandis) habitats in central Idaho. Soil samples were exhumed from 0 to 2 inches (0-5 cm) and 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) and subsequently underwent greenhouse germination tests. Only 1 viable white hawkweed seed germinated from the 0- to 2-inch (0-5 cm) layer, and none from the 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) layer successfully germinated [60]. In field and/or greenhouse germination studies, white hawkweed emerged from soil samples taken from forest and disturbed soils in southwestern British Columbia's coastal western hemlock zone. White hawkweed was observed among vegetation of the plots that the samples were taken from [69].

Germination: Information on germination requirements for white hawkweed is limited. White hawkweed seed collected from Yellowstone National Park underwent greenhouse germination studies. Seed was planted 1 month after seed was collected to mimic fall germination while other seed was planted after 2.5 months of cold storage to mimic spring germination. Total percent germination for fall conditions was 47.3% and total percent germination for spring conditions was 26.3%. In this study, cold storage reduced germination [83].

Seedling establishment/growth: White hawkweed readily establishes in burned or disturbed areas [71,79]. Occurrence on recently exposed mineral soil and open habitats suggests that it establishes well on exposed mineral soil and high light areas.

Vegetative regeneration: According to McLean [71] and Powell [79], white hawkweed lacks rhizomes or other means of vegetative reproduction. Conversely, Patterson and others [76] state that white hawkweed arises from a "short rhizome", and Halpern [42] reports a shallow "caudex-like rhizome". There is no additional evidence presented in the literature reviewed that white hawkweed regenerates vegetatively from rhizomes; however, some evidence suggests that it may sprout following top-kill [11,28].

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
White hawkweed is a common montane species [101]. In British Columbia, white hawkweed occurs on exposed mineral soils and soils with moderately dry to "fresh" (need for water exceeds supply) moisture regimes within boreal, cool temperate, and mesothermal climates. It predominantly inhabits temporarily or regularly disturbed areas [59]. On the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington, white hawkweed is an indicator of warm, dry sites [94].

Site descriptions for white hawkweed
State, Region, or Province Site characteristics
California dry forests; 0 to 9,500 feet (0-2,900 m) [51] and
dry, open wooded slopes below 9,700 feet (3,000 m) [74]
Colorado 7,000 to 10,500 feet (2,100-3,200 m) [50]
Montana dry, open habitats from foothills to openings in subalpine forests [62]
Nevada 5,800 to 8,500 feet (1,800-2,600 m) [55]
Utah 6,500 to 11,000 feet (2,000-3,400 m) [99]
Wyoming woods and slopes [27]
Black Hills, South Dakota woods and slopes [26]
Intermountain West open woods and open hillsides; 6,500 to 11,000 feet (2,000-3,400 m) [21]
Mt Rainier National Park, Washington open slopes; 2,000 to 6,500 feet (610-2,000 m) [87]
Uinta Basin, Utah 8,200 to 11,000 feet (2,500-3,400 m) [39]
Yukon along dirt mining exploration road on mountain slope [17]

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
White hawkweed is not shade-tolerant but is capable of surviving under some canopy cover. It is characteristic of disturbed areas [25,59] where percent cover increases during early successional stages and continues to increase (2 to 4 years) until eventually white hawkweed cover declines [42,43,65,68,70]. In British Columbia white hawkweed is characteristic of disturbed sites, commonly inhabits exposed mineral soil in early-seral communities, and is common in open-canopy forests [59]. White hawkweed is more abundant in open areas of mixed conifer and white fir (Abies concolor) types of the Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon [31]. In northern Idaho white hawkweed can occur in 0% to 100% tree canopy cover, but it is more frequently found in areas with 0% to 55% canopy cover [73].

White hawkweed has low cover values during early succession and increases 2 to 4 years after disturbance [8,29,53,86,88,90]. In the northern Rocky Mountains, white hawkweed is a secondary offsite colonizer that usually establishes the first postfire year [88,90]. As a wind-dispersed species, it was a pioneer and colonized widely on barren lahars and pumice sites within 2 to 3 growing seasons after the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980 [24,44,93,101]. White hawkweed was also recorded on refugia and isolated pumice sites 18 years after the eruption. The pumice plots furthest from the refugia had the least cover of white hawkweed, suggesting that the wind-dispersed seeds of white hawkweed from refugia plants were responsible for colonizing the barren pumice sites [35]. White hawkweed was a pioneer on Douglas-fir and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) environments following the 1988 Yellowstone fires, most likely from wind-dispersed seed, but possibly from the soil seed bank [2].

Increase of white hawkweed in the first 8 years following logging in Douglas-fir forests of western Washington and Oregon [53]
  1926 1928 1930 1933
Percent cover 0.5 0.4 2.4 1.5
Frequency of occurrence 36 36 72 79


SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:

Flowering dates for white hawkweed
State or Region Anthesis Period
California June to August [74]
Idaho June to August [76]
Montana June to early September [62]
Nevada June to August [55]
Oregon June to August [95]
Baja California June to August [100]
Intermountain West June to August [21]
Pacific Northwest June to August [20]
Uinta Basin, Utah mid-July to early September [39]

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Hieracium albiflorum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: Postfire regeneration of white hawkweed occurs mostly from seed. As an offsite colonizer [8,88,90], white hawkweed establishes "rapidly" on mineral soils exposed by fire because of the many wind-borne seeds it produces [28,42,71]. It is also known to establish from the soil seed bank after logging and burning [49]. Vegetation sampling following the Waterfalls Canyon fire in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, suggests that white hawkweed survived moderate and low severity fire [11,28], possibly by sprouting from the caudex after aboveground parts were killed.

Fire regimes: Communities where white hawkweed most frequently occurs are characterized by a variety fire regimes. Fire exclusion may create longer fire-return intervals in some of these communities, sometimes resulting in subsequent larger and higher-severity fires [4].

The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where white hawkweed 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)
grand fir Abies grandis 35-200 [4]
western larch Larix occidentalis 25-350 [5,13,23]
Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir Picea engelmannii-Abies lasiocarpa 35 to >200 [4]
whitebark pine* Pinus albicaulis 50-200 [1,3]
Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine* P. contorta var. latifolia 25-340 [12,13,92]
Sierra lodgepole pine* P. contorta var. murrayana 35-200
Jeffrey pine P. jeffreyi 5-30
western white pine* P. monticola 50-200
Pacific ponderosa pine* P. ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [4]
interior ponderosa pine* P. ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [4,10,63]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [4,6,7]
coastal Douglas-fir* P. menziesii var. menziesii 40-240 [4,72,82]
Pacific coast mixed evergreen P. menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii <35-130 [4,16]
California oakwoods Quercus spp. <35 [4]
coast live oak Q. agrifolia 2-75 [40]
canyon live oak Q. chrysolepis <35 to 200
Oregon white oak Q. garryana <35 [4]
California black oak Q. kelloggii 5-30 [77]
redwood Sequoia sempervirens 5-200 [4,33,91]
western redcedar-western hemlock Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla >200
mountain hemlock* Tsuga mertensiana 35 to >200 [4]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [89]:
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)


FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Hieracium albiflorum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
White hawkweed is likely top-killed by fire. Individual plants may survive low to moderate severity fire [11,28].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
White hawkweed's fibrous roots and root crown are immediately under the soil surface and susceptible to heat damage from fire [28,42,71]. Powell [79] classified white hawkweed as having "low resistance to fire", which is defined as having less than 35% chance that 50% of the species population will survive or immediately reestablish after passage of a fire with an average flame length of 12 inches (30 cm).

Effects of fire on white hawkweed differed between moderate and high severity sites after wildfire in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The Waterfalls Canyon fire was a mixed-severity summer wildfire in forest dominated by subalpine fir, Engelmann spruce, and lodgepole pine. White hawkweed persisted on moderately burned (more than 40% of canopy trees alive 1 year after fire) sites but was not present on severely burned (all trees killed and the aboveground portions of understory species consumed) sites until postfire year 3, where it increased in subsequent years [28]

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
White hawkweed initially decreases after passage of fire. Powell [79] categorizes its response to fire as "medium" in that it will likely regain pre-burn frequency or cover in 5 to 10 years. White hawkweed is an offsite colonizer [8,88,90] and establishes "rapidly" on burned plots via windborne seeds [28,42,71]. Its windborne seed allows it to establish in burned or disturbed areas where it did not previously occur.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
White hawkweed's low resistance to fire causes an initial decrease in abundance. Kilgore [58] reveals that frequency of white hawkweed decreased 1 and 2 years after prescribed burning in red fir (Abies magnifica) forests of the Sierra Nevada. In giant sequoia-mixed conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada, California, a decrease in white hawkweed occurred immediately following logging, piling, and burning [57], though the effects of burning could not be separated from the effects of soil disturbance caused by logging and piling. Similarly, shelterwood cutting and underburning on Douglas-fir, grand fir, and western redcedar habitat types within the Priest River Experimental Forest and the Payette National Forest in Idaho decreased the cover of white hawkweed, although probably not significantly (see table below). After the shelterwood treatment a "moist fuels underburn" and a "dry fuels underburn" were prescribed. The dry fuels burn reduced cover of white hawkweed more than the moist fuels burn. On the unburned control white hawkweed increased slightly after the shelterwood treatment [86].

Percent cover of white hawkweed before and after shelterwood treatment and subsequent underburning [86]
  No burn Moist burn (June) Dry burn (September)
Pretreatment 1.6 1.5 1.6
Posttreatment
(1 year after burning)
1.8 1.3 0.5

White hawkweed readily establishes on soils exposed by fire on sites where it did not previously occur. White hawkweed was among pioneer species in a whitebark pine community in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana after a stand-replacing, lightning caused fire; and after the lightning caused, high-severity Sundance fire in northern Idaho's western redcedar-western hemlock forest type [8,88]. After studying Douglas-fir forests in western Washington, Kienholz [56] reported that white hawkweed was not found in undisturbed forest but was abundant on mineral soil exposed by disturbance or severe fire. White hawkweed did not occur on study sites before (1962) clearcut logging and burning treatments and was not present on sites after logging but before burning (1963) in old-growth Douglas-fir forests in the western Cascade Mountains, Oregon. Percent cover and frequency were recorded during each of the 5 growing seasons following clearcut logging and broadcast slash burning, as shown in the table below. By the fifth growing season, white hawkweed was reported as an important species [29].

Progression of white hawkweed abundance during the first 5 growing seasons following clearcut logging and broadcast slash burning in Douglas-fir forests in the Cascade Mountains [29]
Years after burning 1 2 3 4 5
Percent cover <0.05 0.4 0.6 2.0 3.6
Percent frequency 0.9 4.4 11.3 16.0 25.7

Similar findings were reported from British Columbia's Sub-boreal Spruce and Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir zones. White hawkweed was not recorded on pre-logged sites; it appeared in early seral communities following clearcut logging and subsequent slash burning [46,47,48,49]. Spring and fall burning were executed on one study site; white hawkweed cover and frequency were significantly (P<0.02) higher in spring versus fall burn plots [49].

Hamilton's Research Papers (Hamilton 2006a, Hamilton 2006b) provide further information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of many plant species including white hawkweed.The following Research Project Summary also provides information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of many plant species, including white hawkweed:

Understory recovery after low- and high-intensity fires in northern Idaho ponderosa pine forests

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Literature to date, 2007, provides no clear direction for the use of fire in managing white hawkweed. As detailed above, it is possible for white hawkweed to survive low to moderate severity fires, but it is generally a poor survivor. It can rapidly colonize exposed mineral soils on burned sites via windborne seeds. Fire has both positive and negative impacts on populations of white hawkweed. The use of fire as a management tool need not be ruled out in the process of managing the habitats in which white hawkweed occurs.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Hieracium albiflorum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
White hawkweed is not known to be used by livestock, though several wildlife species utilize it. White hawkweed leaves are slightly palatable and are eaten by Columbian black-tailed deer on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia [19]. White hawkweed is utilized by mule deer in California giant sequoia groves [64]. In Nevada, deer and elk utilize white hawkweed from the time it comes up in the spring until it dries up in the fall [41]. White hawkweed is preferred by elk in western Montana during early and late summer [30,66,67]. It is a grizzly bear food in southern Canada and the conterminous United States [22]. In Oregon, white hawkweed seeds and seedlings are an important food source for the Oregon junco. Its seeds are also eaten by pine siskins [37,38].

Palatability/nutritional value: No information is available on this topic.

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
White hawkweed is characteristic of disturbed areas [25,59]. Its ability to rapidly colonize disturbed areas [71,79] suggests that it has value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites; however, no information is available on this topic.

OTHER USES:
No information is available on this topic.

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
White hawkweed is susceptible to high levels of human trampling. A study from western Montana revealed that white hawkweed has low (<10% increase) resilience in terms of short- and long-term recovery of relative cover after being trampled. Its resistance is listed as moderate (200 to 400 passes/year required to reduce frequency). It can tolerate light (75 to 100 passes/year) trampling and still recover [18].

In British Columbia, white hawkweed is considered an invasive/weedy species that seeds into open habitats [49]. It is considered an invader species or a low-value meadow species, which increases with overgrazing in the Sierra Nevada [80].


Hieracium albiflorum: REFERENCES


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