Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus

Holy Ghost Skyrocket

FWS Focus

Overview

Characteristics
Overview

Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus (Wilkens & Fletcher; Holy Ghost ipomopsis) is an erect, biennial to short-lived perennial plant, known only from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of San Miguel County, in north central New Mexico. First collected by Dr. Edward F. Castetter in 1929, I. sancti-spiritus was annotated as Gilia pringlei A. Gray by E.T. Wherry (Wilkens and Fletcher 1988). Martin and Hutchins, with the University of New Mexico, collected Holy Ghost ipomopsis and treated it in the Flora of New Mexico (Martin and Hutchins 1982) as Ipomopsis aggregata (Pursh) V. Grant subsp. candida (Rydb) W.A. Weber, which has frequent flower color variations from white to pink to red. In 1988, Dr. Dieter Wilken, an expert on the phlox family, and Reggie Fletcher, a U.S. Forest Service botanist, closely examined the flower structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish…

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to demonstrate that I. sancti-spiritus is a distinct species (Wilken and Fletcher 1988). Wilken and Fletcher speculate that the closest relative is Ipomopsis arizonica (Greene) Wherry, which occurs in north-central Arizona and south-central Utah (Wilken and Fletcher 1988). Holy Ghost ipomopsis was listed under the ESA, as amended, as an endangered species in 1994 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife 1994).

The Holy Ghost ipomopsis is a member of the phlox family (Polemoniaceae). It is 30-80 centimeters (cm) (12-31 inches (in)) tall, with mostly solitary stems, occasionally branched from the base. The leaves are oval in outline, 3-6 cm (1-2.4 in) long, with 9-15 linear divisions. The basal leaves form a loose to compact rosette that dies back at flowering. The leaves are gradually reduced in size up the length of the stem. The flowers are tubular, pink, and about 2-2.5 cm (0.8-1 in) long. The stamens do not extend beyond the corolla tube.

The Holy Ghost ipomopsis occurs at an elevation of approximately 2,440 meters (m) (8,000 feet (ft)). The species is found only in a 3.2- kilometer (km) (2-mile (mi)) segment of a canyon in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The plants are restricted to steep, south- or southwest-facing slopes, primarily in openings under ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Gambel oak (Quercus gambellii), and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). The substrate is a sandy to pebbly limestone conglomerate derived from the Terrero and Espritu Santo formations (Wilken and Fletcher 1988).

The plant grows in small openings or clearings on the forested slopes, and it is likely that fire may have played a role in the past in maintaining open habitat for this species. Plants have colonized the cut-and-fill slopes of a Forest Service road, indicating some preference for open, disturbed areas. The entire population of the Holy Ghost ipomopsis consists of approximately 1,200-2,500 plants, located on Forest Service and private lands within the boundaries of the Santa Fe National Forest. Approximately 80 percent of the population occupies the cut-and-fill slopes along a Forest Service road; the remaining 20 percent of the population occurs on the natural dry and open habitat higher up on the canyon slopes.

Most of the occupied habitat is along a Forest Service road that provides access to summer homes and Forest Service campgrounds. In this location, the plants and their habitat are vulnerable to harm from road maintenance, wildfire, fire management, and possible pesticide spraying. Surveys conducted by Forest Service personnel and New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department botanists within a 24-km (15-mi) radius of the known population have failed to locate any additional populations of the species.

Martin, W.C. and C.R. Hutchins. 1981. A Flora of New Mexico, Volume 2. J. Cramer, Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Determination of Endangered Status for the Plant Ipomopsis Sancti-Spiritus (Holy Ghost Ipomopsis). Federal Register, Vol. 59. No. 56:13836-13841.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wilken, D.H. and R. Fletcher. 1988. Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus (Polemoniaceae), a new species from northern New Mexico. Brittonia 40:48-51.

Scientific Name

Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus
Common Name
Holy Ghost skyrocket
Holy Ghost ipomopsis
FWS Category
Flowering Plants
Kingdom

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers

TSN:

Characteristics

Characteristic category

Habitat

Characteristics
Habitat

Holy Ghost ipomopsis grows on relatively dry, steep, west to southwest-facing slopes on about the lower one- third of the canyon side (excluding the creek riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

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margin). The geologic substrate is partly weathered Terrero Limestone. Holy Ghost ipomopsis appears to grow best in bare mineral soils with its highest densities on disturbed sites such as road cuts. The occupied habitat in Holy Ghost Canyon ranges in elevation from 2,350 - 2,500 m (7,730 - 8,220 ft).

Holy Ghost ipomopsis occurs in the Rocky Mountain montane conifer forest plant community (Brown 1982). Commonly associated species are ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ), aspen (Populus tremuloides), Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus), Woods' rose (Rosa woodsii), big head bricklebush (Brickellia grandiflora), poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii), Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), western yarrow (Achillea millefolium), white ragweed (Hymenopappus newberryi), and nodding onion (Allium cernuum).

Brown, D.E. 1982. Biotic communities of the American southwest - United States and Mexico. Desert Plants 4:1-341.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Forest

A dense growth of trees and underbrush covering a large tract.

Mountain

A landmass that projects conspicuously above its surroundings and is higher than a hill.

Urban

Of or relating to cities and the people who live in them.

Rural

Environments influenced by humans in a less substantial way than cities. This can include agriculture, silvaculture, aquaculture, etc.

Characteristic category

Physical Characteristics

Characteristics
Size & Shape

Holy Ghost ipomopsis is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial that can remain as a low rosette of leaves for several years before it flowers and dies. The mature plant has one or a few erect stems 3 - 8 decimeters (dm) (12 - 32 inches (in)) tall. The basal and stem leaves are pinnately divided with sharp points terminating each division. The flowers are pink, tubular, and terminate in five spreading lobes. The stamens and the short style of the ovary are deep inside the flower tube. The closely related and similar appearing skyrocket also occurs in Holy Ghost Canyon; however, it has orange-red flowers with stamens and style exserted beyond the throat of the corolla tube. The orange-red color and exserted stamens and style of skyrocket are adaptations for hummingbird pollination while the pink flowers and included style and stamens of Holy Ghost ipomopsis are adaptations for moth and butterfly pollination.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wilken, D.H. and R. Fletcher. 1988. Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus (Polemoniaceae), a new species from northern New Mexico. Brittonia 40:48-51.

Color & Pattern

The flowers are pink, tubular, and terminate in five spreading lobes. The closely related   and similar   appearing skyrocket also occurs in Holy Ghost Canyon; however, it has orange-red flowers with stamens and style exserted beyond the throat of the corolla tube. The orange-red color and exserted stamens and style of skyrocket are adaptations for hummingbird pollination while the pink flowers and included style and stamens of Holy Ghost ipomopsis are adaptations for moth and butterfly pollination.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wilken, D.H. and R. Fletcher. 1988. Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus (Polemoniaceae), a new species from northern New Mexico. Brittonia 40:48-51.

Characteristic category

Lifecycle

Characteristics
Lifecycle

Holy Ghost ipomopsis is often a biennial, but it can live for several years as a nonreproductive rosette before producing a flowering stem (Dieter Wilken, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, pers. comm. 1991). Average maturation time is 1.86 years (Maschinski 2001). It flowers only once then the entire plant dies.

Maschinski, J. 1996. Seed germination and pollination requirements of Holy Ghost ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus). Pages 167-170 In: Maschinski, J., H.D. Hammond, and L. Holter, tech. eds. Southwestern Rare and Endangered Plants: Proceedings of the Second Conference; 1995 September 11-14; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-283. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 328 pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Reproduction

Holy Ghost ipomopsis must have pollinators for either self- or outcross-fertilization and it must have fertilization to produce fruits (i.e., it is not apomictic). Butterflies have been seen probing Holy Ghost ipomopsis flowers (Sivinski 1991). Paige and Whitham (1985) observed hawkmoths visiting the pink-flowered forms of I. aggregata in Arizona. Tonne (2000) studied pollinators of Holy Ghost ipomopsis in 1999 and documented 8 species of arthropods visiting study plants. Three species, the Snow’s skipper (Paratrytone snowi), the golden skipper (Poanes taxiles), and the sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) appeared to be the primary pollinators.

Fruits of Holy Ghost ipomopsis develop in the late summer and early autumn. Germination trials revealed no special requirements to break seed dormancy, but the highest percentage of germination occurred after four weeks or eight weeks of cold treatment. This indicates seed germination most likely occurs during the spring and early summer months after the winter cold period (Maschinski 1996).

Maschinski, J. 1996. Seed germination and pollination requirements of Holy Ghost ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus). Pages 167-170 In: Maschinski, J., H.D. Hammond, and L. Holter, tech. eds. Southwestern Rare and Endangered Plants: Proceedings of the Second Conference; 1995 September 11-14; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-283. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 328 pp.

Paige, K.N. and T.G. Whitham. 1985. Individual and population shifts in flower color by scarlet gilia: a mechanism for pollinator tracking. Science 227:315-317.

Sivinski, R. 1991. Status report on Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 2, Albuquerque, NM.

Tonne, P. 2000. Documenting the Pollination Biology of the Holy Ghost Ipomopsis. Unpublished report submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 2 Albuquerque Field Office. September, 2000.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lifespan

 

 

Characteristic category

Similar Species

Characteristics
Similar Species

Holy Ghost ipomopsis is closely related to and is similar in appearance to skyrocket (Ipomopsis aggregate), which also occurs in Holy Ghost Canyon; however, skyrocket has orange-red flowers with stamens and style exserted beyond the throat of the corolla tube.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Geography

Characteristics
Range

Holy Ghost ipomopsis is known from a single population in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of San Miguel County in north-central New Mexico. Plants are relatively continuous in scattered patches for about 3.5 kilometers (km) (2.2 miles (mi)) of Holy Ghost Canyon beginning 1.6 km (1.0 mi) above the confluence with the Pecos River then up Holy Ghost Creek to the confluence with Doctor Creek. There are about 80 hectares (ha) (200 acres (ac)) of occupied habitat. The Santa Fe National Forest manages most of the habitat. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a campground and leases land in Holy Ghost Canyon as the Holy Ghost Summer Home Area.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Holy Ghost Ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus) Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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