Scientific Name: Psilocarphus elatior
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2018
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1abc(iii,v)+2abc(iii,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This small annual plant only occurs in a few, small, specialized habitats on southeastern Vancouver Island. Habitat destruction and modification at one site has resulted in significant decline in the Canadian population. Competition from invasive species and management of drainage are the primary continuing threats; other threats include recreational activities, habitat disruption by non-native resident Canada Geese, and haying/mowing.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2001. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.
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 Tall Woolly-heads
Tall Woolly-heads is an erect woolly annual, 1-15 cm tall. Its branched stems are woolly-hairy with opposite, moderately silky-hairy, entire leaves. One or several spherical flower heads are clustered in the forks of stems or at their tips and are up to 6 mm tall. The cylindrical, glabrous (hairless) fruits are 1.0-1.7 mm long.
Distribution and Population
The species occurs in southwestern British Columbia, southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan in Canada, and ranges south through Idaho, Washington and Oregon to northern California. The Pacific population is restricted to southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia.The species still occurs at six of the eleven known sites in BC. Four of these sites have been confirmed since 1993.
The species inhabits dried beds of vernal (spring) pools and other open, moist, often disturbed sites in the coastal Douglas fir zone at elevations below 1000 m. The climate of the this zone consists of mild wet winters and warm dry summers. Tall Woolly-heads typically occupies open, exposed sites that are usually seasonally flooded after a rapid snow melt. The locations are often level, although generally slightly depressed. The species is not found within particular communities and often occupies sites where other species are sparse. There does not appear to be any specific association with other plants.
Little information exists regarding the biology of the species. Lack of structures attractive to insects and animals, and an interpretation of the floral structure, indicates that the species may self-pollinate. However, pollen may not be essential for seed production, and asexual reproduction may also occur.
Habitat destruction is the greatest threat to existing populations of Tall Woolly-heads. In BC, sites where the species occurs are either subjected to heavy pedestrian trampling or are at risk from development. One Tall Woolly-heads site is located in Uplands Municipal Park, but the status of the population in Francis-King Regional Park is unknown. Maintenance of footpaths and mountain-biking in both parks have been destroying surrounding vegetation. The population at Somenos Lake would likely be eliminated if the water level were lowered for agricultural purposes. Threats to the continued survival of Tall Woolly-heads are compounded by the lack of biological and ecological information, which makes it difficult to manage sites for the species.
The Tall Woolly-heads 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 Multi-Species at Risk in Vernal Pools and other Ephemeral Wet Areas Associated with Garry Oak Ecosystems 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.
5 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Tall Woolly-heads (2019-01-11)This small annual plant only occurs in a few, small, specialized habitats on southeastern Vancouver Island. Habitat destruction and modification at one site has resulted in significant decline in the Canadian population. Competition from invasive species and management of drainage are the primary continuing threats; other threats include recreational activities, habitat disruption by non-native resident Canada Geese, and haying/mowing.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report 2017 to 2018 (2018-10-15)Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 90 wildlife species and 11 of these were assigned a status of Not at Risk. Of these 90, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 38 wildlife species; of these, the majority (87%) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 771 wildlife species in various risk categories including 338 Endangered, 183 Threatened, 228 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated (i.e. no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 18 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, and a total of 59 wildlife species have also been designated as Data Deficient and 197 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.