Coulter's Saltbush [Atriplex coulteri (Moq.) D. Dietr.]

Coulter's Saltbush [Atriplex coulteri (Moq.) D. Dietr.]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None CHENOPODIACEAE Mar.-Oct.

Global Rank G2G3 State Rank S2?

Distribution: San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, San Bernardino County, Santa Catalina Island, San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Anacapa Island, San Nicolas Island; Baja California and San Benito Island, Mexico

Habitat: Historical records indicate sea-bluff habitat is preferred.

Known Sites: Coulter's Saltbush has always been quite rare in San Diego County. Herbarium specimens examined were for Otay Mesa, Silver Strand, Balboa Park, the historical Santa Margarita Ranch House, and on the San Onofre Bluffs. Some specimens need to be carefully differentiated from Atriplex pacifica; further taxonomic work is necessary to clearly delineate these two species. Outside of San Diego County, herbarium specimens examined from SD include Santa Catalina Island (where reported locally common by Thorne) above Cottonwood Dam, at Little Harbor, and in Bulrush Canyon; on Seal Beach at San Nicolas Island, on Santa Cruz Island, and on San Benito Island in Mexico. It is apparently quite rare in Orange County where reported by Roberts, and on coastal bluffs near Point Dume in Los Angeles County where reported by Raven.

Status: This species may be nearing extirpation from San Diego County, as well as elsewhere in mainland California. All mainland populations should be protected with adequate buffers included. Coulter's Saltbush is similar in appearance to the Pacific Saltbush, but has a larger fruiting bract; identification should be carefully checked. A current review is needed of historical collections to include site re-visits, in conjunction with a focused investigation of additional potential sites, to more accurately assess the status of this species.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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