Scientific Name: Cryptantha minima
Other/Previous Names: Tiny Cryptanthe
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Alberta, Saskatchewan
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2012
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1b(iii)c(iv)+2b(iii)c(iv)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This small herbaceous annual plant is limited in Canada to a small area of grassland habitat in southeastern Alberta and adjacent southwestern Saskatchewan. Though a larger range and population size are now known due to greatly increased search effort, the species remains under threat from residential and industrial development, agricultural activities, altered hydrological regimes, and a lack of fire and grazing which allows encroachment of competing vegetation, such as invasive species. The species’ extent and quality of habitat continue to decline and it is subject to extreme fluctuations in population size, which increases its vulnerability.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 1998. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in May 2012.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
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.
Tiny Cryptantha is a small, bristly-haired annual plant that has tiny white flowers with yellow centres. The Canadian populations are the most northern occurrences of this species, and because these populations are disjunct from more southern populations, they could carry unique genetic variability that may contribute to adaptations and long-term persistence of the species. (Updated 2017/08/11)
Distribution and Population
Tiny Cryptantha is native to North America. In Canada, the species is associated with river systems, mainly the South Saskatchewan River valley in the eastern half of Alberta and into western Saskatchewan. It also occurs near the lower Red Deer, lower Bow, Oldman and Lost rivers in Alberta and the Red Deer River in Saskatchewan. The closest occurrence outside Canada is a historical collection from Great Falls, Montana approximately 200 km from the southernmost Alberta population at Onefour. The species’ range in Canada represents less than 1% of its total range. (Updated 2017/08/11)
Tiny Cryptantha is found within about five kilometres of river systems, typically in sandy, level to rolling upland areas and sand dunes near valley breaks, valley slopes with up to 50% slope, and level or gently sloping terraces in valley bottoms, particularly in meander lobes where flooding provides more frequent disturbance. It requires habitats with low litter levels and a minimum of 10% bare soil for establishment. Periodic soil disturbance by wind, water, erosion or animals is required to open up the canopy and provide spaces for germination and establishment. However, areas that have repeated intense disturbance, such as actively eroding slopes, dunes and sandbars do not appear to support Tiny Cryptantha. (Updated 2017/08/11)
Tiny Cryptantha is an annual that spends a large portion of its life cycle as a seed. It lacks a dormancy mechanism, but exhibits conditional dormancy in which germination is temperature and moisture dependent. The proportion of seeds deposited into the seed bank and the period of viability of seeds remains unknown. Seeds are likely dispersed passively, with most falling close to the parent plant. There may also be dispersal by animals, wind and water. There is no means of asexual reproduction for this species. (Updated 2017/08/11)
Availability of suitable habitat is limiting. Identified threats to Tiny Cryptantha include habitat loss and degradation as a result of residential development and oil and gas exploration. Cultivation and sand/gravel extraction have also been identified as threats. Additional threats include modifications to natural processes through altered hydrological regimes and lack of grazing and/or fire, invasion by alien species, and the effects of climate change. (Updated 2017/08/11)
The Tiny Cryptantha 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
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Tiny Cryptanthe (Cryptantha minima) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Name Amendment to the Final Recovery Strategy for the Tiny Cryptanthe (Cryptantha minima) in Canada RE: Identification of Critical Habitat and Action Planning
Status First posting on SAR registry
Name Amended Recovery Strategy for the Tiny Cryptanthe (Cryptantha minima) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Prairie Plant Species at Risk Recovery Team
Candace Neufeld - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
Phone: 306-975-4101 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.
14 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (3 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Permits and Related Agreements (3 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Residence Description (1 record(s) found.)
- Related Information (1 record(s) found.)
- Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Tiny Cryptantha (2013-01-03)This small herbaceous annual plant is limited in Canada to a small area of grassland habitat in southeastern Alberta and adjacent southwestern Saskatchewan. Though a larger range and population size are now known due to greatly increased search effort, the species remains under threat from residential and industrial development, agricultural activities, altered hydrological regimes, and a lack of fire and grazing which allows encroachment of competing vegetation, such as invasive species. The species’ extent and quality of habitat continue to decline and it is subject to extreme fluctuations in population size, which increases its vulnerability.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2011-2012 (2012-10-05)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 (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 1 Extirpated: 4 Endangered: 29 Threatened: 10 Special Concern: 15 Data Deficient: 2 Not at Risk: 6 Total: 67 Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).
Permits and Related Agreements
Residence Rationale - Tiny Cryptanthe (2005-06-22)Individual Tiny Cryptanthe plants do not appear to use a dwelling place similar to a nest or den, and therefore do not qualify to have a residence. There would be no additional legal protection not already afforded by protection of the individual and its critical habitat.