Cirsium vinaceum (Asteraceae), an endemic thistle of the Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico, is federally listed as threatened. It occurs in spring and streamside habitats; individual patches of plants vary widely in size and in distance from one another. We used floating seed traps to determine if seed movement by water contributes to gene flow and migration between patches. Seeds move in substantial numbers for considerable distances along these streams, indicating that a biological definition of population for this species must encompass more than single patches. We discuss implications for management, including the potential for restoration or recovery via aquatic dispersal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics