Encinitas Baccharis [Baccharis vanessae Beauchamp]

Encinitas Baccharis [Baccharis vanessae Beauchamp]

Listing CNPS List 1B R-E-D Code 2-3-3

State/Federal. Status -- CE/PE ASTERACEAE Aug.-Nov.

Distribution: San Diego County

Habitat: A mature but relatively low-growing chaparral dominated by Adenostoma fasciculatum is the primary habitat of this rare shrub. In the Encinitas region Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. crassifolia grows nearby along with Xylococcus bicolor and Yucca schidigera. Given the limited range of this species, edaphic requirements may significantly restrict dispersal. Soil at Encinitas is Corralitos loamy sand while the soil type on Mount Israel is mapped as the quite different Cieneba rocky coarse sandy loam (the Ralphs Ranch and Crest reports are also in Cieneba soils). At inland locales Encinitas Baccharis may be associated with large granitic boulders.

Known Sites: One mature shrub of this dioecious species remains in the northeastern corner of Oak Crest Park in Encinitas; perhaps a dozen seedlings were growing around it in spring 1991. Several other shrubs are reported in the southwestern portion of this park. A much more substantial population across the street to the north was graded for shopping and light industrial use. Further to the north, an illegal alien encampment has utilized another small population for firewood. The only surviving shrub here was found on a steep east-facing slope following a diligent search. An old biological survey report from near Mountain View Drive and El Camino Real in Encinitas may no longer be extant; a single shrub is reported from east of Chicarita Creek. Recent reports indicate a population is still present on the Ecke Ranch at Encinitas' Green Valley about 0.9 mile south of Batiquitos Lagoon and 0.5 mile due north of the eastern terminus of Woodley Road; as well as 1.4 miles south of Batiquitos Lagoon and 0.5 mile due west of intersection of El Camino Real and Olivenhain Road. One sizeable population on a rocky knoll was reported at Ralphs Ranch south of Lake Hodges. There is a recent report of a substantial population from the rocky Montana Serena area of Crest growing with the Lakeside Lilac. The few reports of occasional shrubs near Mount Israel (south of the road by that name) are in an area burned by a massive fire in 1990. Populations reported north of the Lake Hodges spillway are likely still extant. A healthy population of perhaps 30 shrubs was seen in spring 1991 resprouting from this fire on a ridge (north of Mount Israel Road) overlooking Lake Hodges to the west. All the shrubs noted were on an east-facing slope near the crest; several growing from fractures in large granite boulders. A recent report from Mount Woodson and nearby on the flank of Iron Mountain pushes the known range of this species well to the east. A lone shrub near Black Mountain Road south of Horseman's Park is reported no longer extant. One Data Base report is of a site west of Poway approximately 0.5 mile west of Meadowbrook Intermediate School. Another recent report is considerably north of known populations near Devil's Creek in the San Mateo Wilderness Area near the Riverside County border. At least 100 shrubs were observed on a north facing slope aspect west of Del Dios Highway and north of Mount Israel Road (northwest of a plant nursery).

Status: Encinitas Baccharis is nearing local extirpation in Encinitas and is endangered by urban development elsewhere in San Diego County. All known sites should be fully protected with viable buffers included. Attempts to transplant this species locally have not been particularly successful; nursery grown stock should be transplanted to biological open space preserves within its historical range. This species is recommended for Federally Endangered status. Encinitas Baccharis is one of the rarest shrubs in Southern California.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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