Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region

SHRUBBY REED-MUSTARD

Shrubby reed-mustard
Photo by Jessi Brunson

Species Description: Shrubby reed-mustard (Schoenocrambe suffrutescens) is a perennial herbaceous plant, with clumped stems 4 to 12 inches tall arising from a branching wood root crown. The leaves are entire with a smooth margin, 0.4 to 1 inch long and 0.12 to 0.4 inches wide. The leaf blades are alternately arranged on the stem and are subsessile or attached to the stem by a short petiole. The flower of S. suffrutescens have petals that are light yellow or greenish yellow and spatulately shaped measuring about 0.4 inch long and 0.12 inch wide. The entire flowers are about 0.4 inch across in full anthesis and are displayed in a raceme of, commonly, 5 to 20 flowers at the end of the plant's leafy stems.

Distribution, Abundance, and Trends: Schoenocrambe suffrutescens occurs in 3 areas in Uintah and Duchesne Counties. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) now estimates the species is limited to about 3,000 individuals within 3 areas and 7 populations. From 1935, when the species was first discovered, to 1987, when the species was listed, the population declined in size and range. The reasons for the decline are not well understood, but the practice of mining stone within occupied habitat was thought to be a major contributor, as was winter sheep grazing.

Actions: On October 6, 1987, the Service listed Schoenocrambe suffrutescens as endangered due to historical alteration of its habitat, potential oil and gas developments, inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, and small population sizes (52 FR 37416). Historical impacts (building stone collection and overgrazing) likely had substantial effects on S. suffrutescens and its habitat. Threats that remain a concern are oil and gas development, stone building or mining of stone-building materials, and small population sizes.

In September 1994, the Service completed a recovery plan for Schoenocrambe suffrutescens and two related species. The recovery criteria established in this plan have not been satisfied.

On November 8, 2010, the Service completed a 5-year review of the status of Schoenocrambe suffrutescens (5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation). This status review concluded on change in S. suffrutescens listed status under the Act was necessary.

Shrubby reed-mustard Factsheet

More information can be found on the Service's ECOS webpage.

Last updated: August 16, 2012