Scientific Name: Oxytropis lagopus
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2014
Last COSEWIC Designation: Threatened
SARA Status: Schedule 3, Special Concern - (SARA Schedule 1 provisions do not apply)
Image of Hare-footed Locoweed
Hare-footed Locoweed (Oxytropis lagopus var. conjugans) is a member of the Fabaceae (pea family). It is a perennial forb, having a stout taproot crowned by leaves and large, purple, attractive flowers. Despite its attractiveness it has little interest for the horticultural trade. Plants can be poisonous to livestock, especially horses. Parts of the plant have medicinal properties and they were used by First Nation peoples to treat several ailments. (Updated 2017/07/28)
Distribution and Population
There are three varieties of Oxytropis lagopus: atropurpurea, conjugans and lagopus. Variety conjugans is restricted to the prairies in southern Alberta and western Montana. The other two varieties occur in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, USA. In Canada, Hare-footed Locoweed is known from 11 subpopulations in an area of approximately 229 km2 on the uplands of the Milk River Ridge and Del Bonita Plateau in southern Alberta. The number of subpopulations in Montana is unknown. The nearest US subpopulation is approximately 48 km south of the Canadian-USA in Glacier County, Montana. (Updated 2017/07/28)
In Canada, Hare-footed Locoweed grows within the Foothills Fescue and Mixedgrass Subregions south of Lethbridge. Plants grow on thin gravelly soils in open grassland at elevations between 1,189 and 1,995 m (3,900 to 6,545 feet) in Alberta. Native rough fescue grassland communities, in which it occurs, are themselves becoming rarer and are considered a high priority for conservation efforts. A notable characteristic of the habitat descriptions is the almost continuous cover of microbiotic crust (primarily lichens) and Dense Spikemoss. There is also indication that a calcium carbonate (limestone) component to substrate materials may be important. (Updated 2017/07/28)
Hare-footed Locoweed blooms in late April to early June. The flowers are insect-pollinated. The plants take advantage of spring moisture and pods mature early in the year. Seed predation by insects may be heavy in some years and annual seed production is likely to fluctuate between years and localities. Seed is dispersed primarily by gravity. Wind and rodents may also contribute to seed dispersal. The longevity of the seed in the soil and the state of the seed bank is unknown. (Updated 2017/07/28)
Gravel extraction, energy (oil and gas) development, cultivation, off-road vehicles, road building and intensive livestock grazing have, and potentially may, contribute to habitat loss and modification. Recent observations have also concluded that the invasive species Crested Wheat Grass is adversely influencing the numbers of plants in at least five occurrences. These plants are likely direct competitors for nutrients, water and light and may contribute to habitat modification. (Updated 2017/07/28)
Species that have been designated at risk by COSEWIC since the Species at Risk Act (SARA) was written must be added to Schedule 1 through a regulatory amendment. Information on this procedure is available in the Assessment section. If Hare-footed Locoweed is added to Schedule 1, it will benefit from the protections afforded by 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
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.
6 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
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