DESERT YELLOWHEAD(Yermo xanthocephalus)
Species Description: Desert yellowhead is a tap-rooted, hairless perennial herb with leafy stems to 12 inches high. The leathery leaves are alternate, lance-shaped to oval. Flower heads are yellow and are crowded at the top of the stem. Desert yellowhead is thought to be a long-lived perennial that produces sexually by seed and possibly asexually by vegetative buds. The species has been described as a classic K selected species characterized by a long lived perennial growth form, adaptation to severe habitats, and low annual reproductive output.”
Location and Abundance: Desert yellowhead is currently known from a single population of plants widely scattered over an area of 50 acres in Fremont County, Wyoming. The species is restricted to shallow deflation hollows in outcrops of Miocene sandstones and limestones of the Split Rock Formation at its junction with the White River Formation. In recent years, the total population has varied from about 9,000 to 13,000 individuals. Despite extensive searches, no additional populations have been located.
Recent Actions: On June 20, 2011, we initiated 5-year status reviews under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), of 2 animal and 10 plant species. We are requesting any information that has become available since our original listing of each of these species. Based on review results, we will determine whether we should change the listing status of any of these species.
On March 14, 2002, we listed desert yellowhead as threatened rangewide (67 FR 11442). At the time of listing, desert yellowhead was threatened by surface disturbances associated with recreation, oil and gas development, mineral extraction, trampling by livestock, soil compaction by vehicles, and invasive plant species
On March 16, 2004, we designated critical habitat on 360 acres of Federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (69 FR 12278). Within the single critical habitat unit, desert yellowhead occurs in three subpopulations.
In 2005, the Bureau and the Service completed a Conservation Agreement, Assessment and Strategy (appendix) to identify specific actions that will contribute to reducing threats and provide for the long-term conservation of the species. Implementation of this strategy has reduced some of the threats facing the species.
On February 25, 2010, we completed a recovery outline for the species. This document lays out a preliminary course of action for the recovery of desert yellowhead. It serves to guide recovery efforts and inform consultation and permitting activities until a comprehensive recovery plan for this species is developed and approved.