[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]
(Capitan Peak alumroot)
Scientific Name: Heuchera woodsiaphila P.J. Alexander
Vernacular Name: Capitan Peak alumroot
R-E-D Code: 3-1-3
Description: Acaulescent perennial herb from an elongate branching caudex; leaves with lanceolate stipules, petioles 4-8 cm long, glandular-puberulent and sparsely villous with white multicellular hairs to 5(-8) mm long, blades sub-reniform to broadly ovate, the base cordate, larger leaf blades 2.5-4 cm wide and 2-3.5 cm long, shallowly 5-lobed with about 25-30 broad teeth, surfaces glandular-puberulent, sparsely villous on the adaxial veins; flowering stems 8-20 cm high, usually with 1-3 sterile bracts resembling the basal leaves; inflorescences 3-4 cm long, one-sided or nearly so, flowers in small bracteate cymules; flowers apetalous, regular, 5.25-6 mm long at anthesis, hypanthium 1-1.5 mm long, widening gently from the inferior portion of the ovary, sepals 2.75-3.75 mm long, greenish-white to cream at anthesis, densely glandular-puberulent on both surfaces, stamens about 2 mm long, arising from the hypanthium slightly below the base of the sepals, gynoecium of 2 carpels, styles 2. Flowers June to September.
Similar Species: Five species of Heuchera in New Mexico have white, greenish-white, or cream-colored flowers. Of these, only H. woodsiaphila is apetalous.
Distribution: New Mexico, Lincoln County, Capitan Mountains.
Habitat: Moist soil pockets in stable granitic talus on north and northeastern slopes in montane coniferous forest; 2,550-2,900 m (8,370-9,510 ft).
Remarks: The specific epithet woodsiaphila refers to the close association of this species with Woodsia plummerae. This species was discovered in 2006 by Patrick Alexander while hiking in the Capitan Mountains Wilderness of the Lincoln National Forest.
Conservation Considerations: There is little activity in this plant’s remote habitat. It appeared to be equally abundant in burned and unburned areas following a recent forest fire (Alexander 2008).
Important Literature (*Illustration):
*Alexander, P.J. 2008. Heuchera woodsiaphila (Saxifragaceae), a new species from the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 2(1):447-453.
Information Compiled By:
Charlie McDonald, 2010