Species Profile

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose

Scientific Name: Camissonia contorta
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2006
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: An annual herb restricted to several dry, open  and sandy coastal habitats of very small size. The small fragmented populations are impacted by on-going habitat loss, high recreational use and competition with several invasive exotic plants.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13

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: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Description

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is a small herb that can reach up to 40 cm in length. Its stem is wiry and generally branched. The top of the stem is covered with coarse spreading hairs. Its leaves are 5 to 30 mm long. The shape of the leaves varies from linear to an elongated oval, and the edges of the leaves are toothed. The small flowers have four yellow petals that fade to red. They can bear small gland-tipped hairs. The fruit are small twisted pods (hence the name Contorted-pod Evening Primrose) that contain several small seeds. The stems, leaves, and capsules are often deep red, particularly in unshaded environments.

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Distribution and Population

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose occurs from British Columbia to California and east to Idaho and western Nevada. In Canada, it is restricted to coastal areas along southeastern Vancouver Island and the adjacent Gulf Islands. Within this zone, the plants occupy seven small areas that are geographically isolated from each another. There are seven extant populations and one extirpated population in Canada. The extant populations include two on Savary Island in the Strait of Georgia, four on the Saanich Peninsula and nearby offshore islands near Victoria, and one southwest of Victoria. In 2004, the total Canadian population was estimated at 3500 to 4500 mature plants, with individual populations varying from 20 to 2000 mature plants. One population has recently disappeared and another has declined by an estimated 95%. Past records of Contorted-pod Evening-primrose are not sufficiently detailed to allow overall trends in the Canadian population to be determined. However, the total Canadian population is estimated to have declined by approximately 35% in recent years.

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Habitat

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose prefers dry, open sandy habitats. It is found in sparsely vegetated grasslands and woodlands. In Canada, it is restricted to sandy flats and partially vegetated dunes (semi-stable dunes) no more than 15 m above sea level. Such habitats are naturally fragmented, but they have become more fragmented with the degradation of sandy coastal habitats where the species occurs. The fragmentation is fundamentally due to the natural distribution of shoreline sand deposits, although this has been exacerbated by residential and tourist development in many fragments which were once suitable.

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Biology

Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is a short-lived annual; it lives no more than a few weeks. Plants typically germinate between March and May, flower in April or May, and disperse seeds in May or June. Most plants die with the onset of the summer drought in June or July. In years with unusually heavy summer rainfall, a small proportion of plants may survive until late summer or early autumn. Following major rainfall these plants may show renewed vegetative growth, flowering, and fruiting. Contorted-pod Evening-primrose has small, inconspicuous flowers that are probably self-fertilized most of the time. Plants tend to produce between 3 and 10 fruit, each containing 10 to 20 seeds at maturity. These seeds lack any apparent adaptations to assist in long-distance dispersal, so most seeds likely remain in the immediate vicinity of the parent plant. Seeds may be transported in sand during severe winds, and this may occasionally result in dispersal over a distance of several metres. The species survives the summer drought and winter cold as a seed.

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Threats

In British Columbia, several major factors threaten the extant populations of Contorted-pod Evening-primrose and its potential habitat. The most serious threat is recreational activities—vehicle use in particular and the trampling associated with hiking, dog walking, sunbathing, and picnicking—on the remaining areas of suitable habitat, which have undergone losses over recent decades. A number of invasive exotic plants are severely altering the ability of sites to support the species. For example, Scotch broom, which was present in the immediate vicinity of all seven extant populations, has presumably invaded areas formerly suited to Contorted-pod Evening-primrose. The dense thickets formed by Scotch broom can completely stabilize semi-active sand areas, and once a dune has become vegetated, it can no longer support Contorted-pod Evening-primrose, which prefers open habitats. Six of the seven populations are at risk simply because of their small size.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Contorted-pod Evening-primrose 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, Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is not protected under any provincial legislation.

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 Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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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.

14 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the contorted-pod evening-primrose Camissonia contorta in Canada (2006-08-30)

    Contorted-pod evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) is a member of the Evening-primrose family. It is a diminutive, slender herb, up to 40 cm long, arising from a slender taproot. Its stem is wiry, usually branched, peeling below and often sprawling. It bears small flowers with four yellow petals. Its fruits are small, twisted pods that contain several small seeds. The stems, leaves and capsules are often deep red, particularly in unshaded environments.

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (2006-11-29)

    An annual herb restricted to several dry, open  and sandy coastal habitats of very small size. The small fragmented populations are impacted by on-going habitat loss, high recreational use and competition with several invasive exotic plants.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) in Canada (2011-09-12)

    Contorted-pod Evening-primrose (Camissonia contorta) was assessed as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in April 2006 and was added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in December 2007. Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is an annual plant that occurs from British Columbia (B.C.) to California, east to Idaho and western Nevada. The species is considered to be globally secure. There are nine known populations in Canada, one of which has been extirpated (last observed in 1893). In Canada, Contorted-pod Evening-primrose is limited to the southeast coast of Vancouver Island and the southern and northern Gulf Islands, the northern limit of its global range. Within Canada, it is restricted to sandy backshore habitats. It prefers low elevation (under 100 m) open areas that are moist in the winter and spring and very dry by mid-summer.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada (2018-08-01)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan that regularly occur at this site. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits to other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at GINPR.

Critical Habitat Statements

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2007) (2007-05-16)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of 40 species done pursuant to paragraph 15(1)(a) and in accordance with subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 141, number 26, December 13, 2007) (2007-12-26)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)

    2006 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.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#FRH-2016-21599-SARA ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2016-06-01)

    Parks Canada will collect seeds or other propagules, grow plants in a nursery, prepare and maintain translocation sites and out-plant the resulting stock to suitable sites at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and or Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site to increase populations of a number of species at risk in coastal sand dune and Garry Oak ecosystems, as per the recovery strategies for the species.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GI16-05), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2016-11-01)

    Parks Canada will restore a portion of coastal sand ecosystem on Sidney Spit, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, by removing target invasive plant species, augmenting the population of endangered contorted-pod evening-primrose, and enhancing current visitor facilities through installation of signage and fencing to protect nesting Common Nighthawk. The primary goal of this restoration project is to recover species at risk present at the site by improving habitat, removing identified threats and augmenting populations. The net effect of project activities on species at risk populations at the site is expected to be positive, but it is possible that a small number of individuals may be disturbed while conducting restoration work to improve the overall condition of their populations and habitat. For example, there is a risk of trampling a few contorted-pod evening-primrose (En) individuals (out of a population in the thousands), displacing a few contorted-pod evening-primrose seeds or a few larvae/pupae of Edwards' beach moth (En) (population considered locally abundant) or minor disturbance to one or two common nighthawk individuals (e.g. temporarily flushing from nest). Mitigations (described below) will be followed to minimize the risk of these minor disturbances. Conversely, if the restoration was not conducted, further loss or degradation of suitable habitat would likely continue.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GI16-05-02), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-10-01)

    Parks Canada will restore a portion of coastal sand ecosystem on Sidney Spit, within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, by removing target invasive plant species, augmenting the population of endangered contorted-pod evening-primrose, and enhancing current visitor facilities through installation of signage and fencing to protect nesting Common Nighthawk. The primary goal of this restoration project is to recover species at risk present at the site by improving habitat, removing identified threats and augmenting populations. The net effect of project activities on species at risk populations at the site is expected to be positive, but it is possible that a small number of individuals may be disturbed while conducting restoration work to improve the overall condition of their populations and habitat.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GINP-2020-37539), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2020-04-01)

    This is a conservation and restoration project for species at risk at the Parks Canada Coastal British Columbia Field Unit. The project aims to increase the supply of propagative material for a number of plant species at risk within the field unit; implement recovery actions outlined in Parks Canada's multi-species action plans for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site; and improve knowledge on the best practices for the propagation, enhancement, translocation and habitat management of these species at risk. Propagative material (seed and rhizome) will be collected from species at risk in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve from May through October and will be sown outdoors in the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site conservation nursery from September through March. Propagative material from Coastal Scouler's Catchfly and Golden Paintbrush will be collected from populations on Mini D'Arcy Islet. Propagative material from Contorted-pod Evening-primrose will be collected from the population on Sidney Island. Contorted-pod Evening primrose may be affected by some localized trampling of the species and Common Nighthawk may be flushed from their nests. This project specifically addresses the species threats outlined in the recovery strategies and is believed necessary to secure the persistence of these plant species in Canada.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GINPR-2014-16419 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2014-06-16)

    This research project located in coastal sand ecosystems on Sidney Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve aims to (1) confirm the presence of Edwards' Beach Moth on Sidney Island and address knowledge gaps about the species' biology and habitat requirements; and (2) conduct habitat management trials for Contorted-pod Evening-primrose.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act Terrestrial Species: December 2006 (2006-12-28)

    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. Please submit your comments by March 16, 2007 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 14, 2008 for species undergoing extended consultations.
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