Yellow Montane Violet praemorsa subspecies
Scientific Name: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa
Other/Previous Names: Yellow Montane Violet
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2007
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: The subspecies is only known in Canada from southeastern Vancouver Island and the adjacent southern Gulf Islands where it occurs as 14 mainly small, localized populations that are highly fragmented. This short-lived perennial is restricted to Garry oak woodlands and maritime meadows where habitat is continuing to decline in quality due to such factors as the spread of exotic invasive grasses as well as the spread of trees and shrubs as a result of fire suppression.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in April 1995. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in November 2007.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Image of Yellow Montane Violet praemorsa subspecies
There are two subspecies of Yellow Montane Violet in Canada: Viola praemorsa ssp. praemorsa and Viola praemorsa ssp. linguifolia. The species is represented in British Columbia only by the praemorsa subspecies.
The praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet is a small perennial herb measuring 5 to 20 cm tall. The short stem may be leafless or it may have a few reduced leaves. The dark green basal leaves are densely or sparsely hairy. They measure 2 to 10 cm long and 1 to 3.5 cm wide and are borne on leaf stalks 3 to 15 cm long. The leaves are oval with slightly toothed margins. The praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet produces two types of flowers: open flowers with five petals and closed flowers with no petals. The flowers with petals are yellow. The lowest petal is pencilled with brownish-purple markings and is spurred at the base. The lateral petals are bearded and the two upper petals, which are slightly smaller than the lower petals, tend to be brownish on the back. The flowers without petals are borne on short stalks near the base of the shoot and often escape notice. Both types of flowers mature into capsules, dry fruit 6 to 11 mm long containing several dark brown seeds.
Distribution and Population
The range of the Yellow Montane Violet extends from Vancouver Island to California, chiefly west of the Cascade Mountains. In British Columbia, the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet is found only along the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island and on adjacent islands in the Strait of Georgia. There are 14 extant populations in Canada and, based on recent data, there were between 32 000 and 49 000 flowering plants in British Columbia in 2007, with about 80 to 90% of the Canadian population of the praemorsa subspecies of the Yelllow Montane Violet concentrated in two populations. The number of populations has been in slow decline; five have disappeared, but none have been lost since the late 1990s.
In British Columbia, the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet occurs in Garry oak woodlands and maritime meadows. Most microhabitats occupied by the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet have shallow soils over bedrock, little or no shrub cover, and an abundant cover of herbaceous species. These habitats are on relatively level ground or on south-facing slopes. The praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet is shade-intolerant. The amount of potential habitat has decreased greatly over the past century as coastal areas in southeastern Vancouver Island have been developed for residential and recreational use. Most of the remaining habitat has been heavily altered by the invasion of exotic grasses and shrubs.
Few data are available on the biology of the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet. In Canada, the leaves emerge early in the spring. Shoot dormancy begins to break in March when the soil begins to warm up with the spring weather. Plants are fully leafed out by late April or early May. The flowers that are open (for cross-pollination) bloom in late April and May, and the closed flowers (which are self-pollinated) bloom somewhat later. The praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet is probably pollinated by the same species that pollinate closely related violets: flies, butterflies, solitary (non-colonial) bees and thrips. The foliage begins to wither by mid- to late June and the shoots die back by mid- to late July as the summer drought deepens. Fruit dispersal occurs as the desiccating capsules rupture abruptly, sending the seeds out as far as 1 m. Fruit dispersal occurs in June and July, and all seeds are released by late July. The seeds are hard and shiny and bear a fatty outgrowth that attracts ants, which carry the seeds slightly further from the parent plant. Seed production is vital for this violet, as this is its only means of reproduction (the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet is incapable of clonal growth or asexual reproduction).
Habitat destruction is the most immediate and direct threat to several populations of the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet. Exotic plants can eliminate native plants by reducing access to light, and competition from plants introduced from Europe is also endangering this violet. Scotch broom, a highly invasive shrub, poses one of the greatest threats to the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet and its habitat. The impacts of invasive species, particularly exotic grasses, and altered fire regimes pose the greatest threats to the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet. The absence of frequent burning (practised in the past by First Nations to stimulate the growth of food plants) has changed the vegetation structure, which now favours shrub and tree species that were held in check by fire. At some sites, a fire-intolerant native shrub appears to have expanded into most of the habitat formerly available to the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet. Trampling damage has affected a significant portion of some populations that are concentrated along footpaths. Several populations of the praemorsa subspecies of the Yellow Montane Violet are threatened simply by their small size and area of occupancy, which predisposes them to stochastic events. Six populations have 50 or fewer mature plants.
The Yellow Montane Violet praemorsa subspecies is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
In British Columbia, the species is not protected under any provincial legislation. Of the fourteen extant populations in Canada, seven are in municipal and/or regional parks, where they are protected from development but face major threats from park users. Three populations are in provincial parks or ecological reserves, where they receive some protection and recreational activities tend to be less intensive. Two populations are on land owned by conservation organizations, which provide a high degree of protection, including measures to control invasive species and counteract the impacts of fire exclusion. One of the Saltspring populations extends onto federal lands, which are protected under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for Multi-species at Risk in Garry Oak Woodlands in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team
Conan Webb - Chair/Contact - Parks Canada
Phone: 250-478-5153 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
11 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Permits and Related Agreements (4 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2007 - 2008 (2008-08-28)2008 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.