A Note on Primula (Dodecatheon) in the National Scenic Area Colombia River Gorge

The wild flowers known as Shootingstars or Bird-bills are commonly observed in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. This note is provided to help identify this attractive spring flower. Two internet resources are available to assist with identification http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/results.php?Terms=Dodecatheon&x=7&y=11&Type=Names and http://www.oregonflora.org/gallery.php#. The Flora of the Pacific Northwest second edition 2018 is the latest technical identification key and should be consulted for morphological details.

The taxa in the Genus Dodecatheon (iNaturalist Primula) requires examination of small flower structures to key to the specific name. This group of flowers also has high species diversity. These natural features combine to create a difficult genus to identify to species. In the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area there are seven reported species, http://www.oregonflora.org/atlas.php#. These taxa are distributed to specific regions of the area and by elevation.

In Oregon and Washington, the taxonomic name Dodecatheon is still in use. However, in iNaturalist the name Primula is used. The use of the regional name is being kept, to be consistent with the records in the state floras. Observations in iNaturalist will require a translation to Primula and to the alternative name.

Dodecatheon alpinum
is not likely to be found in the gorge as it is a higher elevation species. This is a synonym for Primula tetrandra in Jepson http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=98394.

Dodecatheon conjugens
is known from a wide area east of Hood River. In the gorge this species is known from Oregon White Oak woodlands. Observation https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/23861530 provides a close view of the filaments which are free to the base. The leaf is fleshy, ovate with an entire edge.

Dodecatheon cusickii
is known by two names, in Oregon as D. cusickii and Washington as D. pulchellum var. cusickii. D. cusickii is known from east of Hood River. The leaves and stems are densely puberulent or glandular.

Dodecatheon dentatum
is known from west of Hood River. It is easily identified by its white color. In iNaturalist this is known as Primula latiloba. One observation is known https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/9606283 at Multnomah Falls.

Dodecatheon jeffreyi
is known from the Cascade Mountains is not likely to be found in the gorge.

Dodecatheon poeticum
is known from the gorge east of the Cascade crest and expected. This species has fused filaments, oblanceolate leaves, undulate or crenate or irregular margins, and attenuate base. The leaves and stems are densely puberulent or glandular.

Dodecatheon pulchellum
is known from the west gorge to The Dallas. The D.p. var. cusickii is expected east of Hood River. The leaf of D. pulchellum is oblanceolate with an attenuate base. This species has fused filaments. This taxa is noted as a synonym of Primula pauciflora http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=98396 and by iNaturalist.

The distribution of Dodecatheon in the gorge is helpful as it allows for a reduced expected species list. However, identification requires observation of the filaments and leaves to properly name the specific taxa. For those wishing to look at the larger taxonomy of the Dodecatheon, the Flora of North America provides a overview http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=110733.

The androecium, the collective of anthers and stamen, is an important identification feature. However the taxonomic descriptions are difficult to understand and exist for a brief time. The androecium structure is of two types. In the first type the androecium is fuse at the base forming a ring around the style and stigma. This feature may be understood clearly by the Dodecatheon poeticum image by G. D. Carr at http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/ofp/images2/dod_poe_6697b.jpg. Here the base remains intact as the anthers diverge. In the second type the androecium is free to the base.

Posted by carexobnupta carexobnupta, May 01, 2019 05:11

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