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COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Columbian Carpet Moss in Canada


Global Range

Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum is endemic to western North America (Fig. 2), and has been found in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California (Lawton 1971, McIntosh 1986, 1997, Zander 2000). It has also been reported from the Northwest Territories (Steere & Scotter 1978) and Bolivia (Lewis 1981). The Bolivian collection has been re-identified as B. fuscinervium (Mitt.) Zand. (Zander, pers. comm. 2002), but no further information has been found on the collection from Northwest Territories; it was not listed by Zander (2000) but is listed by NatureServe Explorer (2003).

Figure 2: North American Distribution of Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum

Figure 2: North American distribution of Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum.

Canadian Range

In Canada, Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum has been reported with certainty only from British Columbia, though it may possibly also exist in the Northwest Territories. Table 1 lists all of the locations, or populations, where this species has been collected, to date, in British Columbia (collections 8 and 10 are part of the same population). Of the eighteen known locations of this species in the province, 11 have been confirmed for the purpose of this report (Fig. 3, with some dots on the map representing more than one population; McIntosh 1986, McIntosh and Paige 2001). Populations are concentrated within a narrow geographic area: principally in the south Okanagan Valley and near Kamloops, although it also has been found near Spences Bridge, and at one site along the Fraser River in the Cariboo area.

Table 1: Collection Locations (Populations) and Observational Information for Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum in British Columbia
Collection #Location/PopulationDates VisitedConfirmed
1Oliver 11980/2002no
2Spence’s Bridge1980/2002no
3Osoyoos 11981/2000/2002no
4Kamloops 11983/2002no
5Oliver 21986/2002no
7McGhee Flats2001no; not visited in 2002
8 and 10Kamloops 22002yes
9Kamloops 32002yes
11Kamloops 42002yes
12Kamloops 52002yes
13Kamloops 62002yes
15Keremeos 22003yes
16Osoyoos 22002yes
17Osoyoos 32003yes
19Osoyoos 41981no

Collection numbers correspond to the collections listed in Collections Examined section.

Figure 3: Canadian Distribution of Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum

Figure 3: Canadian distribution of Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum.

Dots may represent more than one population.

McIntosh (1986) found Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum at 11 sites during his Ph.D. research. Collections were made from four of these sites (Collections 1 – 4 in Table 1) and accessioned into the UBC herbarium (individual plants or tiny clumps of B. columbianum were seen in general collections from the other seven sites, but they were not accessioned into the herbarium). For the purposes of this report, searches were made at all 11 sites reported by McIntosh (1986). Since precise location information for the original populations is lacking, all sites had to be extensively re-examined. In 2002, B. columbianum was not found at collection sites 1 – 4. Site 1 has probably been converted into a vineyard. Site 2 has had considerable erosion near the waterfalls where the original collection was made and the population may have been lost. The populations at sites 3 and 4 were not re-located, even though environmental conditions probably have not changed since the time of their first collections. As for the remaining seven sites listed in McIntosh (1986), B. columbianum was found again in the Valleyview area (Collections 8, 9 and 10), east of Kamloops adjacent to the cement plant (Collections 12 and 13), and found in two locations south-east of Keremeos (Collections 14 and 15). It was not found south-west of Vernon or at two reported sites west of Skaha Lake in the South Okanagan. Two additional collections, Collection 5 near Oliver and Collection 19 near Osoyoos, were made by other researchers and, although their locations were visited, Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum was not found. Much of the location information on these earlier herbarium collection packets is not very specific and, since these locations have abundant potential habitat, the exact location of individual populations may have been missed. 

In 1997, Terry McIntosh initiated a survey of provincial arid-land areas in order to complement his doctoral work (McIntosh 1986) in preparation for a research paper describing and providing keys for the bryophytes of these regions. From 1997 to 2003, including sites visited for this report, some 300 sites of suitable habitat for Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum in the semi-arid portions of the province were surveyed and collections made and examined for the presence of this species (this survey was focused in the Okanagan Valley and around Kamloops, but also included other dryland areas in the Cariboo, near Grand Forks, and in the Rocky Mountain Trench). Also, some 500 collections from provincial arid-land areas made by T. McIntosh during his Ph.D. fieldwork but not included as sites in his dissertation were examined for the presence of B. columbianum and other rare dryland species. As a result of these surveys and examinations, B. columbianum was found five more times (Collections 6, 7, 11, 16, and 17; the McGhee Flat site, Collection 7, was not confirmed for this report).