San Diego Sagewort [Artemisia palmeri Gray]

San Diego Sagewort [Artemisia palmeri Gray]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None ASTERACEAE Jul.-Sep.

Global Rank G2? State Rank S2.1

Distribution: Coastal San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: San Diego Sagewort is primarily found along creeks and drainages near the coast; inland it may occur in mesic chaparral conditions. Well inland near Sequan Peak this suffrutescent shrub was found in some abundance in Cieneba very rocky coarse sandy loam on a steep moist, north-facing chaparral slope. Ceanothus leucodermis and Quercus berberidifolia were the primary constituents at this locale. In its more usual riparian context, San Diego Sagewort grows within a shaded understory beneath willow, sycamore, or cottonwood. Occasionally it also is seen beneath Quercus agrifolia, but in decidedly mesic circumstances.

Known Sites: San Diego Sagewort is most often seen within perennial drainages. Peñasquitos Creek is typical of such habitat and has an extensive population from Poway to Interstate 5. A significant population is found scattered along Escondido Creek and its tributaries from Olivenhain northeastward to the Questhaven Retreat. It is occasional beneath oaks in the drainages north of Mt. Israel Road and on the north-facing slopes of Rose Canyon near Interstate 805. The southeasternmost locale is in a creek just east of Glen Lonely near 2000 feet in elevation; also growing abundantly on a north-facing slope in chaparral south of Sequan Road near the Tavern Road turnoff to Alpine. San Diego Sagewort is occasional within the Tijuana River Valley west of Interstate 5; scattered on the shores of San Vicente Reservoir; as well as in shaded chaparral southwest of the Barona Indian casino. This plant is occasional in Rose Canyon near the Interstate 805 bridge, by the Montiel Truck Trail near Lawson Valley, east of Interstate 15 near the Mercy Road extension, and in Dulzura Creek near the Daley Rock Quarry. Also, old reports are from east to Mount Woodson, Alpine, near Japatul Valley School, and north of Deerhorn Valley Road; as well as northeast into the Valley Center/Lilac area and south of the Questhaven Retreat. It is rare on the south shore of Lake Wohlford. It was recently reported from upper Proctor Valley, and Green Valley in Poway. Old reports are from near Old Town, Euclid Avenue, and Tecolote Canyon in the City of San Diego. Old biological survey reports note numerous locales including south of Poway Road between Espola Road and Highway 67, near the Green Valley Truck Trail on the Blue Sky Ranch in Poway, by Old Coach Road south of Highland Valley Road in Poway, 0.7 mile northwest of the junction of Archie Moore Road and Highway 67, northwest of Skyline Truck Trail near Lyons Peak, east of Starvation Mountain, west of Barber Mountain, near Mountain View Road northwest of the community of Harbison Canyon, near Polk Road in Alpine, in Peutz Valley north of Alpine, northwest of Victoria Drive in Alpine, north of Lilac Road and west of Anthony Road in Valley Center, near Red Mountain Road not far from Old Castle Road, on Gaskill Peak in Lawson Valley, in Deerhorn Valley, close to Jamul Highlands Road, by the Montiel Truck Trail south of Loveland Reservoir, south of Highway 94 near the Steele Canyon Road, near the intersection of Fairmont Road and Montezuma Road close to San Diego State University, in Steele Canyon, near Highway 94 just west of Jamul, Mina de Oro Road in eastern Poway, Honey Springs Truck Trail, near Western Victoria Drive in Alpine, west of Anthony Road near Lilac, near La Cresta Boulevard and Forrester Creek in Alpine, southwest of Harmony Grove in San Elijo Canyon, near Wisecarver Truck Trail and Skyline Truck Trail, Wisecarver Road near the intersection of Skyline Truck Trail and Lyons Valley Road, on Poway Grade, close to Fortuna Ranch Road in Elfin Forest, the north slope of Lawson Peak near Carveacre Road, Green Valley Truck Trail near Espola Road in Poway, near Red Mountain Road and south of Old Castle Road, the slopes immediately south of Hidden Glen, Carroll Canyon east of El Camino Memorial Park, across the road from the Old Padre Dam parking lot, and a drainage flowing into Forrester Creek in Crest. Data Base reports are from San Pasqual Valley east of Lake Hodges, 2.75 miles northeast of Rancho Bernardo, Lopez Canyon, north of San Dieguito Reservoir in Escondido Creek, near the confluence of Lusardi Creek and the San Dieguito River, in the Otay River Valley near Beyer Way, north of Beeler Canyon and south of Poway Road, south of Twin Peaks Road near Rattlesnake Creek in Poway, north of Sequan Peak, south of Sequan Peak east of Beaver Hollow, and east of El Camino Real approximately 1.8 miles north of its intersection with La Costa Avenue. A limited population is found beneath the freeway bridge near the ocean at San Onofre along San Mateo Creek. This may be the northwestern limit for the species, only yards south of the Orange County border.

This shrub grows south into Baja to 31 38' North where collected by Moran (SD 101788), 1 km east of El Paraiso. Thirteen collections for northern Baja are deposited in the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium.

Status: San Diego Sagewort is declining in the U.S. and being impacted by numerous local projects that channelize or disrupt minor drainages, or via massive flood control efforts, such as the San Diego River/Mission Valley project. However, it is substantially more common than reported in 1994 CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plants of California. This herbaceous shrub should be considered for introduction to native plantings in riparian habitats. Substantial portions of all larger populations are recommended for protection.


Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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