Scientific Name: Oxytropis lagopus
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Alberta
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2014
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This member of the pea family occurs in highly restricted habitat within a small area of rough fescue prairie on gravelly soils in southern Alberta and western Montana. Alberta occurrences represent a large portion of the world population. The plants face numerous threats including competition with invasive alien plant species, mining and quarrying, cultivation, oil and gas drilling, road development, and intensive livestock grazing, all of which have not been mitigated and are contributing to continuing habitat loss and degradation.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Special Concern in April 1995. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in May 2014.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2018-02-02
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 Hare-footed Locoweed
Hare-footed Locoweed (Oxytropis lagopus var. conjugans) is a member of the Fabaceae (pea family). It is a perennial forb, having a stout taproot crowned by leaves and large, purple, attractive flowers. Despite its attractiveness it has little interest for the horticultural trade. Plants can be poisonous to livestock, especially horses. Parts of the plant have medicinal properties and they were used by First Nation peoples to treat several ailments. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2014]
Distribution and Population
There are three varieties of Oxytropis lagopus: atropurpurea, conjugans and lagopus. Variety conjugans is restricted to the prairies in southern Alberta and western Montana. The other two varieties occur in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, USA. In Canada, Hare-footed Locoweed is known from 11 subpopulations in an area of approximately 229 km2 on the uplands of the Milk River Ridge and Del Bonita Plateau in southern Alberta. The number of subpopulations in Montana is unknown. The nearest US subpopulation is approximately 48 km south of the Canadian-USA in Glacier County, Montana. Hare-footed Locoweed occurrences are fragmented and sites that comprise one to several dozen plants may be separated by several kilometres. One subpopulation, south of Cardston has been extirpated within the last 40 years. Currently there are 11 subpopulations, of which one subpopulation needs to be confirmed to be extant. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2014]
In Canada, Hare-footed Locoweed grows within the Foothills Fescue and Mixedgrass Subregions south of Lethbridge. Plants grow on thin gravelly soils in open grassland at elevations between 1,189 and 1,995 m (3,900 to 6,545 feet) in Alberta. Native rough fescue grassland communities, in which it occurs, are themselves becoming rarer and are considered a high priority for conservation efforts. A notable characteristic of the habitat descriptions is the almost continuous cover of microbiotic crust (primarily lichens) and Dense Spikemoss. There is also indication that a calcium carbonate (limestone) component to substrate materials may be important. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2014]
Hare-footed Locoweed blooms in late April to early June. The flowers are insect-pollinated. The plants take advantage of spring moisture and pods mature early in the year. Seed predation by insects may be heavy in some years and annual seed production is likely to fluctuate between years and localities. Seed is dispersed primarily by gravity. Wind and rodents may also contribute to seed dispersal. The longevity of the seed in the soil and the state of the seed bank is unknown. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2014]
Gravel extraction, energy (oil and gas) development, cultivation, off-road vehicles, road building and intensive livestock grazing have, and potentially may, contribute to habitat loss and modification. Recent observations have also concluded that the invasive species Crested Wheat Grass is adversely influencing the numbers of plants in at least five occurrences. These plants are likely direct competitors for nutrients, water and light and may contribute to habitat modification. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2014]
The Hare-footed Locoweed 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.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
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.
7 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Related Information (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Hare-footed Locoweed (2015-01-13)This member of the pea family occurs in highly restricted habitat within a small area of rough fescue prairie on gravelly soils in southern Alberta and western Montana. Alberta occurrences represent a large portion of the world population. The plants face numerous threats including competition with invasive alien plant species, mining and quarrying, cultivation, oil and gas drilling, road development, and intensive livestock grazing, all of which have not been mitigated and are contributing to continuing habitat loss and degradation.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2013-2014 (2014-10-15)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2013 to September, 2014) from November 24 to November 29, 2013 and from April 27 to May 2, 2014. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 0 Endangered: 23 Threatened: 12 Special Concern: 20 Data Deficient: 0 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 25 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.