The Shasta snow-wreath (Neviusia cliftonii Shevock, Ertter & D.W. Taylor; Rosaceae) is a rare shrub, endemic to areas near Shasta Lake in the eastern Klamath Range of northern California, USA. Since discovery in 1992, the number of known populations has increased from 3 to 33. Shasta snow-wreath is a thicket-forming shrub, thought to reproduce primarily vegetatively, where individual stems (ramets) arise from the root system. We provide the first descriptions of demography and site characteristics using data collected in eight populations of Shasta snow-wreath. We established permanently-marked transects and recorded the number of ramets, individual stem heights, and the number of inflorescences in 2011, 2012, and 2013. We also characterized sites by tree canopy, shrub components, fuels, vegetation, and ground cover. Using the number of ramets recorded and the total population area, we estimated the number of ramets in each population (‘ramet population size'). Ramet population size ranged from 716 to 18,641 (mean = 5467), and the average maximum stem height ranged from 50 to 159 cm (mean = 104 cm). Larger ramet population size and taller stems were both associated with less tree cover. The two largest ramet population sizes were found at the two highest elevations and most west-facing sites. The average number of inflorescences per stem over three years ranged from 0.08 to 4.91 (mean = 2.76) and showed an increase with elevation. How Shasta snow-wreath will respond to succession or disturbances is unknown, but the negative relationship of ramet population size and canopy cover indicates that fire may have been important for influencing the population size historically. Continued monitoring of the studied populations, and the addition of more populations to the monitoring program, would be useful for detecting demographic changes and for better understanding the factors that govern Shasta snow-wreath.
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Vol. 64 • No. 4