Tufted Pine-grass [Calamagrostis koelerioides Vasey]

Tufted Pine-grass [Calamagrostis koelerioides Vasey]

Listing CNPS Unlisted R-E-D Code - None

State/Federal. Status - None POACEAE Jun.-Jul.

Global Rank None State Rank None

Distribution: Orange County, San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Rugged terrain in chaparral, primarily on gabbroic or metavolcanic derived soils, is the primary habitat of this perennial rhizomatous grass; the peaks and upper ridgelines of mountains appear to be a preferred microhabitat. Las Posas fine sandy loams are found at the summit of Sequan Peak and Black Mountain-Lusardi Peak; Acid Igneous rock lands are mapped for Lyons Peak, Lawson Peak, as well as a number of the other reported sites. Tufted Pine-grass typically occurs in openings in Chamise with exposed rock common in the area and soils noticeably shallow.

Known Sites: This species is rare in the Jamul Mountains. A recent report comes from near Montana Serena Road northwest of Crest. Herbarium specimens at the San Diego Natural History Museum are from Lawson Peak, Potrero Peak, Poser Mountain, Dos Picos County Park, Otay Mountain, Black Mountain/Lusardi, Descanso, the south fork of Featherstone Creek, and Inspiration Point overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert. Old reports are from Guatay Mountain, San Miguel Mountain, Viejas Mountain, Lyons Peak, Kings Creek, Four Corners below Los Pinos Mountain, Corte Madera Valley, Los Terranitos, and Skye Valley. A number of reports are from lot splits near Engineers Road on North Peak; also at Hoskings Ranch in Pine Valley, and west of Cuyamaca Peak on Boulder Creek Road. Dense Reed Grass was locally common on the crest near the summit of Sequan Peak in 1990. When not in flower, this species is easily overlooked. It is locally common at the upper elevations of Black Mountain-Lusardi and rare in gabbroic soils north of Magee Road near the Riverside County line. It is occasional in the rugged hills south of Japatul Valley. Old biological survey reports note sites at the intersection of Farmer and Wynola Road in Julian, near the Montiel Truck Trail south of Loveland Reservoir, near Penstemon Road and Engineers Road in Pine Hills, west of Cosmit Peak near Engineers Road, 1 mile west of Cuyamaca Peak, 1 mile northeast of Harrison Park, and west of Inspiration Point. Data Base reports are from a southwest facing slope of North Peak along Engineers Road, the southeast side of Arrowmakers Ridge, southeast end of Airplane Ridge, top of the western slope of Pine Ridge in the Cuyamaca Mountains, west side of Japacha Peak, 0.9 mile east southeast of Oakzanita Peak, 1 mile southeast of Oakzanita Peak, the south side of the Sweetwater River 0.33 mile west of Los Terranitos, Guatay Mountain along the summit ridge, northwest of Guatay Campground, 3 miles southwest of Guatay Mountain, at Four Corners approximately 1.25 miles southeast of Los Pinos Mountain, near Potrero Valley, at King Creek 1 mile southwest of Japacha Peak, 1 mile northeast of Corte Madera Mountain, on Boulder Creek Road from the Burney Ranch to just north of Wildcat Spring, on Tule Springs Road 1 mile south of Mineral Hill, near Conejos Creek 1 mile west southwest of Wildcat Spring, Dubois Road 1 mile east southeast of Burney Ranch in Echo Valley, on the east and north sides of Barber Mountain, and on the north flank of Elena Mountain. Reported by Roberts from Coal Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains of Orange County. Also reported in Orange County from Black Star Canyon near Hidden Ranch, as well as at the Claymont Clay Mine in the Santa Ana Mountains. This species also occurs elsewhere in the state, according to the Jepson Manual, in the Northwestern and Central Western regions, and into Idaho and Wyoming.

The range of this grass likely extends southward into the mountains of Northern Baja California; however, no voucher specimens are deposited in the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium.

Status: Populations of Tufted Pine-grass in Southern California are presumed stable, this encompasses plants formerly referred to Calamagrostis densa. Given the inconspicuous nature of this bunchgrass, a number of as yet undiscovered populations are expected to be found in montane and foothill locales during the next decade. The reported flowering period of this grass is June and July. Late in the year this species may be overlooked due to its superficial similarity to other common bunchgrasses and the absence of its conspicuous flowering panicle.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

Back to Craig H. Reiser's Rare Plants of San Diego County