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Aliciella cliffordii
(Clifford’s gilia)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family:

Scientific Name: Aliciella cliffordii J.M. Porter

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: Clifford’s gilia

R-E-D Code: 2-1-2

Description: Taprooted, glandular pubescent, short-lived perennial with a well-developed basal rosette of leaves; stems 10–90 cm tall, freely and divaricately branching; basal leaves entire, to coarsely toothed, to once-pinnatifid, 1.2–5 cm long, 1–4.5 mm wide; lower stem leaves entire and linear to occasionally pinnatifid, reduced in size upward, 1–18 mm long; inflorescence a loosely open cymose-panicle; calyx cylindrical to campanulate, 3–4.7 mm long; corolla 6–18 mm long, blue to nearly white, funnelform to salverform, tube 5.5–12 mm long, corolla lobes narrowly oblanceolate, 3–5.5 mm long; stamens equally inserted in the upper tube; style well exserted to included; fruit a capsule, 3–5 mm long, 2.3–2.9 mm wide, ovoid; seed 1.8–2.2 mm long, pale gray-brown. Flowers May through early August.

Similar Species: Aliciella haydenii, which is widely scattered throughout the Four Corners region, is very similar in most vegetative aspects, but its corolla is magenta when fresh and its corolla lobes are broadly oblanceolate and larger, 3.5–9 mm long, 2–4.2 mm wide.


Distribution: New Mexico: San Juan County, Beautiful Mountain and west of Shiprock; Arizona, Apache County, eastern slopes of the Lukachukai and Chuska mountains.

Habitat: Generally red, sandy or clay soils in badlands of the Wingate Formation and the Owl Rock Member of the Chinle Formation. Plants grow in Utah juniper-piñon pine and ponderosa pine communities from 1,525–1,980 m (5,000–6,500 ft).

Remarks: The specific epithet honors Arnold Clifford, important plant collector in the Four Corners region and the Navajo Nation. Aliciella cliffordii is endemic to a small area of the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona.

Aliciella cliffordii is mostly pollinated by beeflies (Bombilius lancifer) while the closely related A. haydenii is pollinated by hawk moths. Porter (2011) states, “While A. cliffordii seems technically weak if considering the morphological features alone, the different pollination system and geographic disjunction is consistent with a hypothesis of peripatric speciation, involving a change in pollination mechanisms.”

Conservation Considerations: A narrow endemic, but current land uses do not significantly threaten its habitat. It may occasionally by impacted by road maintenance.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Heil, K.D., S.L. O’Kane, L. Reeves and A. Clifford. 2012 (In Press). Four Corners flora. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, Missouri.

*Porter, J.M. 2011. Two new Aliciella species and a new subspecies in Ipomopsis (Polemoniaceae) from the western United States of America. Phytotaxa 15:15-25.

Information Compiled By: Kenneth D. Heil, 2012

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Aliciella cliffordiiSoCSoC...S1G1


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council