Species Profile

Spalding's Campion

Scientific Name: Silene spaldingii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2005
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); C2a(i,ii); D1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This long-lived perennial herb is a globally imperiled species restricted to two small areas west of the Rockies with only a single population in southern British Columbia. The Canadian population is one of the largest populations known but may contain fewer than 250 mature plants. These plants are at risk from on-going habitat loss and degradation especially by introduced weeds.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2005.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2006-08-15

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.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Spalding's Campion

Spalding's Campion Photo 1

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Description

Spalding’s Campion is a perennial with an erect stem base that is 20 to 60 cm tall. Its stems are hairy and branched at the top with four to seven pairs of broadly lance-shaped leaves. The leaves, measuring 6 to 7 cm in length, have no tail and are opposite on the stem. The inflorescence consists of a few to many white flowers in a leafy and usually compact cluster. The fruit consists of an oblong capsule containing light brown seeds. Spalding’s Campion produces dry fruit made up of an elongated capsule with rounded edges containing small light brown seeds.

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Distribution and Population

Spalding’s Campion is found in North America from southeastern British Columbia to neighbouring northwestern Montana and from north-central Idaho into eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. In Canada, where the species was discovered in the 1980s, Spalding’s Campion is limited to an area of less than 1 km² in the northern part of the rolling Tobacco Plains on a private ranch near Roosville, in British Columbia. In Canada as in the United States, the species only occurs in fragmented patches of its habitat.   In 1995, the Canadian population of Spalding’s Campion consisted of about 100 plants. In 2003, no plants were apparent at the site, probably due to the dormancy characteristics of the species, which is not capable of developing visible stems in a given year. It is therefore not currently possible to assess the population trend due to lack of information.

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Habitat

Spalding’s Campion is found at elevations of between 580 and 1220 m in the Palouse prairie, a habitat characteristic of the bottom of the Rocky Mountain valleys in British Columbia. The species seems to prefer gentle slopes facing north on relatively deep ground. Its populations, associated with several indigenous perennial grasses, extend into the edge of ponderosa pine woodlands. In Canada, its habitat is heavily grazed, as downy brome-grass, an herb introduced to feed livestock, occurs throughout.

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Biology

Spalding’s Campion is a perennial herb that spends almost half the summer in a dormant condition. Its shoot tips can be seen buried in the ground. In the plant’s first year, rosettes are formed. The first vegetative stems, those that will not carry any flowers, appear the following year. Spalding’s Campion does not have any means of vegetative propagation; therefore, it can only count on its flowers to reproduce. Individuals bloom for the first time around the age of two or three years. In Montana, they bloom in July and produce seeds in August. The seeds germinate in the fall or the next spring. This perennial usually survives for at least five years. This fairly long life allows the populations to persist for many years, despite the sporadic recruitment of new plants.

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Threats

Historically, loss of habitat has been the primary factor affecting survival of the species. The remaining habitat is being increasingly affected by the invasion of species introduced in the past for grazing. The Canadian population thus grows in a disrupted prairie invaded by these species, with which it competes for nutrients, light and pollinators. In addition, the drought conditions of the last few years most likely increase the stress that Spalding’s Campion is subjected to, which intensifies the other pressures exerted on it. Fire suppression also threatens the species by allowing the growth of young trees and the accumulation of plant litter, which reduces the available habitat.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Spalding's Campion 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

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Spalding's Campion (Silene spaldingii) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Team for the Spalding's Campion

  • Brenda Costanzo - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 250-387-9611  Fax: 250-356-9145  Send Email

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Documents

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.

10 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Spalding's Campion (2005-11-15)

    This long-lived perennial herb is a globally imperiled species restricted to two small areas west of the Rockies with only a single population in southern British Columbia. The Canadian population is one of the largest populations known but may contain fewer than 250 mature plants. These plants are at risk from on-going habitat loss and degradation especially by introduced weeds.

Recovery Strategies

Orders

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2005 (2005-08-12)

    2005 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0155), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-09-14)

    This project will involve the collection and subsequent germination of Spalding's campion seeds to help to ensure no net loss of Spalding's campion plants due to herbicide application to control leafy spurge, a noxious and invasive weed. Seed collection will be undertaken with the goal of collecting approximately 1,000 seeds. These seeds will be stored and subsequently grown at a native plant nursery. This activity is consistent with the Recovery Strategy for Spalding's campion, and is designed to ensure the survival of the species at this location.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2010-0161), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-11-15)

    This project will involve the application of chemical herbicide to leafy spurge plants on a site containing Spalding's campion. Different herbicides have been investigated, and the appropriate herbicide will be applied according to the time of year, leafy spurge growth stage, and risk to Spalding's campion plants. Although use of herbicides poses the risk of potential damage to Spalding's campion plants, only one sub-population of the species occurs in the area to be treated, and any injury would be limited and would not spread to nearby sub-populations. This activity is consistent with the Recovery Strategy for Spalding's campion, and is designed to ensure the survival of the species at this location.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: November 2005 (2005-11-16)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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