Goldenspined Cereus [Bergerocactus emoryi (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose]

Goldenspined Cereus [Bergerocactus emoryi (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None CACTACEAE May-Jun.

Global Rank G3 State Rank S2.1

Distribution: San Clemente Island, Santa Catalina Island, southern San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Maritime Succulent Scrub is the primary habitat of this coastal cactus. Moist ocean breezes may be a key to its habitat requirements. In Baja California the Goldenspined Cactus is sometimes a dominant shrub of ocean-facing slopes overlooking the coastal strand. Euphorbia misera and Agave shawii may be plant associates.

Known Sites: A stand of this cactus grows on steep hillsides at Cabrillo National Monument. A sizeable shrub grows alongside H Street in Rice Canyon. Several small populations were noted in the hills just east of Border Field State Park. It is recommended the Cabrillo population be "expanded" to similar habitat nearby; a few small stands are found on Navy property to the immediate north. A colony occurs in O'Neil Canyon, where the canyon narrows, south of the County jail. One small colony is reported east of Beyer Way in San Ysidro; another in Goat Canyon in the Tijuana Hills; a northernmost population is reported from west of La Jolla Farms south of Torrey Pines State Park. Data Base information records sites in San Diego County on the south rim of Otay Mesa 1.4 miles north of Tijuana, at the northeast edge of Otay Mesa east of Dennery Canyon and 0.1 mile west of Chester Grade on Otay Valley Road, Spooners Mesa west of Border Field State Park, on Point Loma at the Naval Oceans System Center along the southwestern end of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, and near the Guy Fleming Trail at Torrey Pines State Reserve where introduced; also on Santa Catalina Island near China Point, coast east southeast of Ballast Point, Indian Head Point south of Little Harbor; on San Clemente Island in Bryce Canyon, the north fork of Eagle Canyon, an unnamed canyon due west of "Boulder," Vista Canyon, Thirst Canyon, Cave (i.e., Red Rock) Canyon, Middle Ranch Canyon, Norton Canyon, Box Canyon, Horse Canyon, and just south of Wilson Cove below the lighthouse.

Twenty collections from Baja are found at the San Diego Herbarium with records as far south as Arroyo de Venado where collected by Moran (SD 54375) near 29 48' North. Healthy populations occur along the coast south of Tijuana in northern Baja California where it can be locally common. In the volcanic hills south of the Guadalupe Valley to Punta San Miguel it is often a dominant shrub; it is locally common further north from San Antonio del Mar to Baja del Mar. Populations often range well inland from the coast.

Status: The limited U.S. populations of Goldenspined Cactus are slowly declining. All mainland populations should be protected. Selected cuttings from the Point Loma populations should be considered for transplantation to appropriate coastal habitat elsewhere in the region.


Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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