Publication Date

Summer 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences


Susan Lambrecht


conservation, endemism, intraspecific variation, rare plants, reproductive biology, serpentine

Subject Areas

Plant biology; Ecology


The majority of our knowledge about the natural world has come from the study and observation of common species, yet a significant portion of species in the world are rare. In this study, biological and ecological data was collected for six rare taxa from Plumas National Forest. The taxa were Monardella stebbinsii, Monardella follettii (Lamiaceae), Lewisia cantelovii (Montiaceae), Cypripedium californicum, Cypripedium fasciculatum (Orchidaceae) and Clarkia mildrediae subsp. mildrediae (Onagraceae). The two Monardella's and Cypripedium californicum are serpentine endemics, and the Lewisia is found growing both on and off serpentine. Five sites were visited per species, and soil samples and leaf tissue were collected to examine elemental concentrations in the soil and respective ion uptake. Detailed studies were conducted on the three rarest taxa, including comparative ecology and reproductive biology of the two congeners and a reciprocal transplant to assess the extent of local adaptation to substrate in L. cantelovii. Significant differences were found in the study of the two Monardella's and Lewisia cantelovii showed early evidence for local adaptation to substrate. Gaining a better understanding of the biology and ecology of these rare plants will increase the efficacy of management practices as well as provide data in order to inform a multi-species conservation approach.