Orcutt's Brodiaea [Brodiaea orcuttii (Greene) Hoover]
Listing CNPS List 1B R-E-D Code 1-3-2
State/Federal. Status -- C2 AMARYLLIDACEAE Apr.-Jul.
Global Rank G2 State Rank S2.1
Distribution: Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico
Habitat: Vernally moist grasslands, mima mound topography, and the periphery of vernal pools are all preferred habitat for this corm. Soils include Stockpen gravelly loam on Otay Mesa and Redding gravelly loam on Mira Mesa. Orcutt's Brodiaea will occasionally occupy streamside embankments. In vernal pool locales Orcutt's Brodiaea will usually grow in the swales leading into the more developed pools, and on the lower flanks of small mima mounds. Deschampsia danthonioides may grow nearby.
Known Sites: This corm is regularly seen around the vernal pools at Otay Mesa, near Miramar Mounds Preserve, and growing in the pool areas just north of Miramar Road and west of Eastgate Mall. It is occasional within the primary drainage in Proctor Valley growing among Iva hayesiana. A few montane locations include scattered vernal meadows near Cuyamaca Lake and along a fast-flowing creek on Otay Mountain. Recent widespread destruction of vernal pools has dramatically reduced historical populations on Otay Mesa; it is still found north of the state prison and east of Brown Field. A very large population consisting of at least several thousand corms occurs west of the entrance to the San Marcos landfill in mesic grasslands. A recent report is from near Mussey Grade Road. Old reports indicate a scattered "back country" distribution from the Santa Margarita Mountains to Santa Ysabel; also on the Hosking Ranch in Pine Hills. A number of these old collections sites are likely to be extirpated as Brodiaea orcuttii is typically found in flat terrain near spring ponds where cattle frequently wallow and human associated impacts may be severe. Herbarium collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum include Henshaw Dam, Rainbow Valley, both 1 mile north and 4 miles west of San Marcos, Murphy Canyon, Barona, Japatul School, near San Vicente Dam, Corte Madera, north of Azalea Spring in the Cuyamaca Mountains, Organ Valley, Palomar Mountain Observatory, and El Cajon. Old biological survey reports are from the Hosking Ranch near Wynola, as well as Vista Ramona Road in the San Vicente Valley. Data Base reports are 0.6 mile east of junction of Santa Fe Road and Questhaven road on the south side of Questhaven Road, on the southwestern slope of Cuyamaca Peak near King Creek, in Woodwardia Canyon on Otay Mountain, numerous locales around Miramar Air Station, Tierra Santa just north of Shepherd Canyon and west of Mission Trails Park, in Tierra Santa at the south end of Santo Road, Oak Canyon below the second falls and 0.5 mile north of Old Mission Dam, in Carroll Canyon by Pomerado Road east of Highway 395, north of the junction of Carroll Canyon and Miramar Roads as well as on both the south and north rims of Carroll Canyon, north and south of Mira Mesa Boulevard in central Mira Mesa, west of the junction of New Salem Street and Barbados Way in Mira Mesa, Montgomery Airfield north of Serra Mesa, Lopez Ridge on the south side of Peñasquitos Canyon, a mesa between Peñasquitos Canyon and Deer Canyon, approximately 1 mile south southwest of Black Mountain Lusardi Lookout in Organ Valley, the corner of La Mirada Drive and Pacific Street in San Marcos, south of Palomar College just across Mission Road, 0.4 mile west of Palomar College, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park 100 meters north of Azalea Spring, along west side of Highway 79 at the south end of Cuyamaca Lake, approximately 1800 feet south of Discovery Street just west of the junction with Grand Avenue, Escondido Creek Floodplain north of the San Dieguito Reservoir, Valley Center Grade, southeastern corner of junction of La Costa Avenue and Rancho Santa Fe Road, several locales north of Spangler Peak summit west of San Vicente Valley, Rose Canyon approximately 0.5 mile southeast of junction of interstate 15 and Miramar Way, San Clemente Canyon, north of Miramar Road and from 0.5-1 mile east of Interstate 805, Lopez Mesa adjacent to Carl Sandberg School, Mira Mesa at the north end of Camino Ruiz, Kearny Villa South northeast of Highway 163/Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, and 0.5 mile south of Julian. Reported by Roberts in Orange County at Casper's Regional Park. Data Base reports for Riverside County are from the Santa Rosa Plateau near San Mateo Creek on southwestern Redonda Mesa, four pools on Mesa de Colorado, a pool on Mesa de la Punta, three pools on Mesa de Burro, 4 miles west of Tenaja Guard Station, and between Mesa de Colorado and Mesa de Burro 1.5 miles northeast of Santa Rosa Ranch.
No specimens for Baja California could be found at the herbarium of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Status: Orcutt's Brodiaea is substantially declining throughout its Southern California range. Generally, only a spring census during its blooming period, or immediately following, can determine the presence of this species. Given its relatively wide range of potential sites in vernally moist montane and coastal locales, it is likely a number of locales are being developed without realizing this corm was present. Substantial portions of all sizeable populations should be fully protected.
Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.
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