Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Oxytropis sericea


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora L. 1993. Oxytropis sericea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : OXYSER SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : OXSE COMMON NAMES : whitepoint locoweed silky crazyweed crazyweed whitepoint crazyweed white locoweed TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for whitepoint locoweed is Oxytropis sericea Nutt. [40]. Recognized varieties and natural hybrids are as follows [11,14,40]: O. sericea var. sericea--This variety hybridizes with O. lambertii (Lambert crazyweed) in the western Great Plains, Rocky Mountain foothills, and Colorado [40]. O. sericea var. spicata (Hooker) Barneby--This variety hybridizes with O. campestris var. davisii (cold mountain crazyweed) in northeastern British Columbia [40]. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Whitepoint locoweed occurs from the Yukon Territory east to Manitoba and south to Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas [42]. It is commonly found in the Great Plains, throughout the Rocky Mountains, and in the Pacific Northwest [11,37]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES22 Western white pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES25 Larch FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES32 Texas savanna FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES40 Desert grasslands FRES44 Alpine STATES : AZ CO ID KS MN MT NE NV NM ND OK OR SD TX UT WA WY AB BC MB NT SK YT BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade 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 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest K010 Ponderosa shrub forest K011 Western ponderosa forest K012 Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K017 Black Hills pine forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest K022 Great Basin pine forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K024 Juniper steppe woodland K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K038 Great Basin sagebrush K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K055 Sagebrush steppe K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss SAF COVER TYPES : 210 Interior Douglas-fir 212 Western larch 215 Western white pine 218 Lodgepole pine 219 Limber pine 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 237 Interior ponderosa pine 238 Western juniper 239 Pinyon - juniper SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Livestock: Whitepoint locoweed causes locoism in all classes of livestock [12,36]. The toxin in locoweed is an indolizidine alkaloid, swainsonine, that causes chronic neurological damage [29]. Livestock must consume large amounts of whitepoint locoweed for 1 to 3 months before death occurs. Signs of poisoning will appear after 2 to 3 weeks of continuous grazing [36]. Symptoms are as follows: rough coats, nervous disorders such as trembling and paralysis, uncoordinated muscle movements, blindness, constipation, and emaciation [34]. Most cattle will readily graze whitepoint locoweed in the spring when grass is scarce. Sheep and cattle can become chemically addicted to whitepoint locoweed and will continue to graze it when grass becomes abundant. They are, however, more resistant than horses to its toxic effects [16,22]. Horses never recover once poisoned. Cattle gain weight slowly and often have abortions, while sheep have a high number of abortions after grazing whitepoint locoweed [43]. On high mountain ranges, whitepoint locoweed has been identified as a predisposing factor in high mountain brisket disease, or congestive right-sided heart failure, in cattle [22,26]. Wildlife: Whitepoint locoweed is poisonous to deer and elk if consumed in large quantities [36]. Whitepoint locoweed is a minor component in the diet of desert cottontails. Greatest utilization is in the spring and summer, when whitepoint locoweed is the most succulent [9]. PALATABILITY : Immature whitepoint locoweed seed pods are palatable and voluntarily selected by free-ranging cattle during the normal grazing season [22]. The reproductive heads of locoweed are preferred and readily consumed even when other forage species are abundant [29]. Palatability ratings for whitepoint locoweed from selected western states are as follows [3]: WY UT CO MT cattle fair poor poor poor sheep fair fair poor fair horses fair poor poor fair elk fair poor ---- ---- mule deer good poor ---- fair white-tailed deer ---- good ---- ---- pronghorn fair poor ---- ---- upland game birds poor poor ---- ---- waterfowl ---- poor ---- ---- small nongame birds poor poor ---- ---- small mammals ---- poor ---- ---- NUTRITIONAL VALUE : All parts of whitepoint locoweed plants are toxic, and plants are poisonous at all stages of growth. It loses little toxicity after 3 years of storage [36]. Swainsonine inhibits the enzyme alpha-mannosidase which is essential in the metabolism of glycoproteins [22]. Relative magnitude of alkaloid concentration and nutrients (percent of dry weight) in whitepoint locoweed are as follows [29]: Bloom Immature Pod Mature Pod week of grazing season 0 2 4 7 nutrient loco part alkaloid head high moderate moderate high leaf low low low low crude protein head 17.3 17.3 17.4 16.4 leaf 12.9 12.1 11.8 11.1 fiber head 26 38 41 40 leaf 32 36 36 36 water head 65 60 57 43 leaf 69 65 65 51 In a study in northwestern Utah. percent of loco heads (flowers and pods) grazed was 26 percent after the first 2 weeks of the grazing season and increased to 69 percent by the end of the 7-week grazing season [26]. Energy value and protein value for whitepoint locoweed are poor [3]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Locoweed poisoning of livestock is the most widespread poisonous plant problem in the western United States [26]. Whitepoint locoweed increases in abundance in response to excessive grazing [16]. When there is a shortage of palatable, nonpoisonous forage, animals will consume more locoweed [34]. Eradication of whitepoint locoweed over large areas is seldom possible. Vegetation manipulation should be integrated with livestock management programs that minimize the intake of whitepoint locoweed [16]. Aversive conditioning of livestock to avoid whitepoint locoweed may be effective in reducing livestock losses [29]. A three-herd, four-pasture rotation system that involves grazing animals for 6 weeks to 2 months in July and August has reduced the risk of whitepoint locoweed intoxication in the Raft River Mountains of Utah [31]. Selective herbicide control may be necessary to reduce whitepoint locoweed [29]. Picloram, dicamba, and 2,4-D are effective on whitepoint locoweed if sprayed when plants are actively growing in early summer before they reach the bud stage [43]. An ester of 2,4-D was sprayed on whitepoint locoweed on a rangeland in northwest Utah in 1969. Whitepoint locoweed established to pretreatment levels by 1978 [26]. When aerially sprayed with 2,4-D in 1981, all plants were killed on deeper soils, but some remained on shallower soils [26]. Whitepoint locoweed fixes atmospheric nitrogen. It has potential to add significant amounts of nitrogen to forest sites in the Inland Northwest because of its nitrogen-fixing ability [13]. However, whitepoint locoweed seedlings compete with conifer tree seedlings on many sites [13].


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Whitepoint locoweed is a native, perennial, leguminous forb that grows from 6 to 12 inches (15.2-30.4 cm) tall [12,43]. Leaves are 1.6 to 8 inches (4-20 cm) long [35]. Legumes are erect, oblong, or ovoid-oblong and are 0.4 to 1.0 inch (1-2.5 cm) long [35]. One plant may have many flowering stalks, each with 6 to 27 flowers [12]. Each flower produces many seeds. Whitepoint locoweed has a long taproot [30]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Whitepoint locoweed reproduces sexually from kidney-shaped seed. Seed pods are hairy and leatherlike [38]. Seeds have hard, impermeable seed coats and remain viable in the soil for many years. A large, dormant seed reserve is retained in the soil to permit exploitation of favorable environmental conditions [30]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Whitepoint locoweed occurs on open, well-drained slopes of the western plains, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and grassy subalpine openings bordered by open wooded hillsides or coniferous forests [410,26]. It is infrequent to common on prairie uplands, streambanks, valleys, and alpine sites [35]. Whitepoint locoweed occurs on sandy, gravelly, or rocky soils but grows best on sandy loams. It is tolerant of moderately saline soils and low nutrient conditions but does not tolerate water-saturated soils such as heavy clay [38]. Whitepoint locoweed is drought tolerant but is not tolerant of excessive shade. It is tolerant to freezing temperatures during the growing season and competes well on nutrient-rich, deep loam on subalpine sites [30]. Whitepoint locoweed has adapted a stress-tolerant survival strategy characteristic of plants in arctic and alpine habitats. It has a large seedbank that remains viable for many years. Its principal stresses are low temperatures, desiccating effects of strong winds on rocky slopes, intense solar radiation, and mineral nutrient deficiencies [30]. Whitepoint locoweed thrives at medium elevations but grows at elevations up to 11,000 feet (3,708 m) in Colorado [3]. Regional elevation distributions are as follows [3,4,25]: feet meters Utah 5,800- 9,800 1,768-2,987 Colorado 3,500-11,000 1,067-3,353 Wyoming 4,000-10,500 1,219-3,201 Montana 3,000-10,000 914-3,048 Arizona 7,000- 8,000 2,134-2,439 New Mexico 7,000- 8,000 2,134-2,439 Alberta 4,500- 7,000 1,370-2,134 Common associated species not listed in Distribution and Occurrence are as follows: junegrass (Koeleria cristata), needleandthread (Stipa comata), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), green needlegrass (S. viridula), Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), Arizona fescue (F. arizonica), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), muttongrass (Poa fendleriana), Kentucky bluegrass (P. pratensis), Arizona fescue (F. arizonica), Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), red threeawn (Aristida longiseta), Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis), alpine sagebrush (A. scopulorum), plains prickly pear (Opuntia polyacantha), Hood's phlox (Phlox hoodii), low rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus), sedges (Carex spp.), aster (Aster spp.), daisy (Erigeron spp.), yarrow (Achillea spp.), quininebush (Garrya flavescens pallida), scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea), slimflower scurfpea (Psoralea tenuiflora), locoweed (Astragalus spp.), purple prairie-clover (Dalea purpurea), broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), dotted gayfeather (Liatrus punctata), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), and grassland Indian paintbrush (Castellaja lutescens) [2,7,9,19,25,26]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Whitepoint locoweed is an important colonizer following disturbance on western rangelands [26]. It also occurs in climax meadow and sagebrush steppe communities. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Whitepoint locoweed is one of the first species to commence growth in early spring on many western rangelands. Growth begins in early April and plants remain green and succulent throughout the summer [2,28]. First bloom for whitepoint locoweed occurs in mid-June to early July. Seed dissemination begins in mid-July and lasts until mid-August [22]. The plant begins to dry in late September. Some reported dates for anthesis in some western states are as follows [3]: Utah May-July Colorado May-August Wyoming March-August Montana May-August


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : No specific fire information was available in the literature regarding whitepoint locoweed. The seeds of this species are hard and impermeable and remain viable in the soil for many years until favorable environmental conditions arise [30]. According to Gill, seeds stored in the soil are often scarified by fire and released for germination [8]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea


SPECIES: Oxytropis sericea
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