Aphanisma [Aphanisma blitoides Nutt. ex Moq. in DC]

Aphanisma [Aphanisma blitoides Nutt. ex Moq. in DC]

Listing CNPS List 1B R-E-D Code 2-2-2

State/Federal. Status -- /C2 CHENOPODIACEAE Apr.-May

Global Rank G2 State Rank S2.1

Distribution: San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, San Clemente Island, Santa Catalina Island, Santa Cruz Island, San Nicolas Island, Santa Rosa Island; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Coastal bluffs near the ocean and beach dunes were the historical mainland habitat of Aphanisma. Almost all such habitat has been disturbed in Southern California, and this likely accounts for the dearth of recent sightings for this succulent annual species. Soil at the Newport Back Bay site is mapped as Myford and Cieneba sandy loams.

Known Sites: Aphanisma may be extirpated in San Diego County. Heavy recreational use of beaches and housing construction have removed or degraded most dune/bluff habitat from San Onofre south to the Mexican border. A recent sighting on Point Loma is now extirpated by Navy construction. It could not be relocated growing on bluffs at San Onofre. Old historical collections are from the bluffs north of San Dieguito Creek, in the Tijuana Valley on alkaline flats near the ocean, the Silver Strand, San Diego Bay, Pacific Beach, a headland just south of Torrey Pines, on the north side of the mouth of San Dieguito Creek, and at La Jolla. Aside from a limited potential at the Tijuana Valley site and near Torrey Pines, these former populations have little likelihood of still being extant. Historical sites reported by Roberts from Orange County are from Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Arch Beach in South Laguna). A recent report is from near the Delhi Channel bike crossing at Newport Back Bay. Reported by Thorne as rare on Catalina Island near Ballast Point on the east side of Catalina Harbor, as well as 0.5 mile southeast of West Cove. Herbarium collections were examined at SD from Pyramid Cove and Wilson Cove on San Clemente Island, and Landing Cove on Santa Barbara Island. Also reported by Smith at the headlands near Lion's Head south of Point Sal, at the west end of Santa Rosa Island, and on the bluffs west of Ventura. Data Base sites for Los Angeles County are from near Portuguese Bend southward to near Royal Palms Beach Park, as well as in the Palos Verdes Hills; from Santa Barbara Island at Landing Cove, Cave Canyon, Cat Canyon, East Slope, Middle Canyon, just south of Graveyard Canyon, and the west end of the island; for Ventura County about 1.5 miles west of the Ventura River at the base of a coastal bluff on the Taylor Ranch; from San Clemente Island about 0.4 mile north of Eel Point; from the west end of Santa Cruz Island at the mouth of Canada de los Sauces, along a stream between Christy Ranch and the Beach; on Santa Catalina Island on the east side of Catalina Harbor near Ballast Point, near Avalon; from San Clemente Canyon in the second canyon south of Seal Cove, the lower half of China Canyon; from Orange County near Costa Mesa along base of sea cliffs near Highway 1 and 55, and 2 miles northwest of Laguna Beach in the vicinity of Reef Point and Crystal Cove.

This plant grows south in Baja California on a hillside near Cuesta de la Piedra Parada at 28 17' North where collected by Moran (SD 65065). Over 20 specimens are deposited from Baja in the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium.

Status: Aphanisma is possibly extirpated in San Diego County, and severely declining throughout its mainland United States range. If viable seed can be acquired, this may be a good candidate for reintroduction in appropriate coastal habitats. Horticultural requirements for growing Aphanisma are poorly understood. All mainland populations should be protected.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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