Scientific Name: Epilobium torreyi
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2018
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: D1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This annual herb has not been seen since 1993. One of the sites where it was last found was in a regional park. It is possible that viable seeds are dormant there and may germinate given the right conditions.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2018.
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.
Brook Spike-primrose is an erect, annual herb 10 to 60 cm tall. Plants are greyish with spreading hairs; the leaves are narrow, finely toothed along the margin, and nearly stalkless and hairy, except at the base of the plant. The lower leaves are opposite, while the upper leaves are alternate. The small pink or white flowers are arranged in a leafy terminal spike. When mature, the plant produces dry fruit consisting of capsules containing many seeds. The capsules are cylindrical, about 8 to 13 mm long. Unlike the seeds of most other species in the genus, the seeds of this species are lacking a tuft of silky hairs (coma) at the summit. Brook Spike-primrose may be confused with another rare species in British Columbia, the dense spike-primrose, which may occur at the same site. The flowers of Brook Spike-primrose are less crowded than the flowers of the dense spike-primrose and its capsule has a prominent beak.
Distribution and Population
The range of Brook Spike-primrose extends from southern British Columbia to northwestern California and east to Idaho and Nevada. In Canada, it has been found in only two localities, both in the vicinity of Victoria, British Columbia: the Craigflower Meadow site and the McTavish Road site, in North Saanich. Based on careful surveys conducted from 2001 to 2004, both reported populations of Brook Spike-primrose in Canada are presumed extirpated. The Craigflower Meadow population has not been observed since 1993, and the McTavish Road population since 1966. Neither site has been visited regularly and either could have been extirpated well before 2000. However, given the relatively short period of time since the last observation of plants in 1993, there is still the possibility that some viable seeds remain in the seed bank (in the soil).
In Canada, Brook Spike-primrose has been found in seasonally moist meadows and open sites that dry out during the summer. During the years before Brook Spike-primrose was extirpated from the Craigflower Meadow site, the site was dominated by a mix of native and exotic herbs with a sparse cover of invasive shrubs.
In most Brook Spike-primrose flowers, self-pollination occurs in the bud before the flower opens. It flowers and fruits in mid- to late summer, and the seeds probably germinate the following fall or winter. The seeds require moisture and light to germinate. Unlike the seeds of most other species in the genus, the seeds of Brook Spike-primrose lack a fluffy coma that aids in wind dispersal. This lack of a seed dispersal mechanism limits it ability to spread to unoccupied suitable habitats. Its capsules open in the late fall and the seeds fall to the ground, probably as the capsules are shaken during winter rains.
Serious threats to Brook Spike-primrose are the degradation/loss of habitat, mainly through alteration by residential and agricultural development. The habitat of this plant has also been altered by physical disturbance of sites by heavy equipment, by the introduction of invasive alien plants and by the natural encroachment of native Douglas-fir trees. The extirpation of Brook Spike-primrose appears to have been the result of degradation/loss of habitats where it formerly occurred, as well as its great rarity. The Thetis Lake Park population originally occupied a small area within Craigflower Meadow. Prior to the designation of the area as a park, the City of Victoria planted grand firs at this site. As well, the site has been invaded by one-seeded hawthorn (English hawthorn) and many invasive alien plants. This has had a serious impact on the habitat and may be responsible for the extirpation of the species. The North Saanich site was in an open, grassy meadow along the eastern end of McTavish Road. Much of this stretch has been converted to residential use and the rest has suffered from ditching and invasion by highly competitive non-native plants.
The Brook Spike-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, Brook Spike-primrose is not protected under any provincial statute.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery strategy for the Brook Spike-primrose (Boisduvalia stricta) 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.
11 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (2 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (2 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Brook Spike-primrose (2020) (2020-01-07)This annual herb has not been seen since 1993. One of the sites where it was last found was in a regional park. It is possible that viable seeds are dormant there and may germinate given the right conditions.
Response Statements - Brook Spike-primrose (2006-11-29)Although no plants have been seen at the two known sites after intensive directed surveys, there is still the possibility that some seeds may remain in the soil seed bank given the relatively short period of time since the last observation of plants in 1993, or that previously overlooked populations may be found.
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.
COSEWIC Annual Report 2018 to 2019 (2019-10-09)Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 56 wildlife species, 2 of which were assigned a status of not at risk. Of these 56, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 25 wildlife species; of these, the majority (80%) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 799 wildlife species in various risk categories including 356 endangered, 189 threatened, 232 special concern, and 22 extirpated (that is, no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 18 wildlife species have been assessed as extinct, 59 wildlife species have been designated as data deficient, and 199 have been assessed as not at risk.