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Status of Listed Species and Recovery Plan Development

Blowout Penstemon

Penstemon haydenii -- Endangered


JPG-Blowout Penstemon     GIF-Occurrence map

Current Status:

This stout perennial herb in the snapdragon family has adapted itself to the environmental extremes of active blowoutsóconical or irregular craters scooped out of deep, loose sands by swirling winds. The penstemon reproduces by rhizomes, sending out shoots at progressively higher stem nodes as the sands build. When blowouts are stabilized and revegetated by other plants, the penstemon cannot compete. Insects and drought also threaten the species' survival.


A recovery plan was completed in 1992 for this plant, which is endemic to the Nebraska Sandhills. One of the primary recovery actions identified is the establishment of four new populations. Greenhouse and field studies have resulted in successful propagation and transplant methods. Annual population monitoring revealed that a species of moth threatened one population in 1991, but this discovery led to the identification of insecticides that could be applied safely.

Current Recovery Needs:

Establishing at least four additional viable populations, developing and implementing management plans for natural and introduced populations, and monitoring and protecting natural and introduced populations need to be accomplished for reclassifying this endangered plant to threatened status.

Section 6 Funding and Activities:

Monitoring populations, identifying insect pests and their control, determining effects of grazing and disturbance factors, and assessing genetic variability were projects undertaken with $15,200 of section 6 funding in FY 1992 by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.


Forest Service: The Forest Service is identifying and searching potential habitat for the species. If the species is found on Forest Service land, the agency will monitor, manage, and protect the site.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission: With primary recovery responsibility for the species, the Commission is using section 6 and agency funding for recovery. It led in the preparation of the recovery plan.

University of Nebraska at Lincoln: The Department of Agronomy has conducted research to determine propagation and reintroduction methods.

The Nature Conservancy: The Conservancy has purchased and is managing property containing one of the largest populations.

Recovery Plan Status:

Plan approved 7/17/92.

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