Seaside Calandrinia [Calandrinia maritima Nutt.]

Seaside Calandrinia [Calandrinia maritima Nutt.]

Listing CNPS List 4 R-E-D Code 1-2-1

State/Federal. Status -- None PORTULACACEAE Mar.-May

Global Rank G4? State Rank S2?

Distribution: Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, San Clemente Island, Santa Catalina Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Sandy bluffs near the beach and sandy openings in Diego Sage Scrub are preferred habitat of this distinctive annual. This species may be subject to extensive herbivory owing to its succulent nature, and may also be susceptible to eradication by hikers who might crush it underfoot. All populations noted appear to occur at locales with moist sea breezes. Flat-top Buckwheat and Coastal Sagebrush are the dominant shrubs at most of these sites; however, steep slopes with open chaparral may also include potential populations. Gaviota fine sandy loams are utilized on Point Loma, while the soils are mapped as Terrace Escarpments at the Torrey Pines and Swallowtail Road sites.

Known Sites: A small population of Seaside Calandrinia, east of Palm Ave and Interstate 805 was removed in 1988 by grading. Another small population still extant grows on bluffs at Torrey Pines State Park. This species is much rarer now than 50 years ago (when likely still uncommon), and is in danger of extirpation in San Diego County. Its beach bluff habitat in southern San Diego County is now almost nonexistent. A sizeable population occurs on the Subase sea bluffs, on the east side of Point Loma. A small colony grows on a steep hillside in Military Sector Oscar One north of the Santa Margarita River on Camp Pendleton. Similar small colonies are found on a sandy ridge north of the terminus of Swallowtail Road in Encinitas, north of El Nido Road in Rancho Santa Fe, and over 100 plants were clustered in a small area on a south-facing slope of Carmel Mountain. One old report comes from the hillsides of southern La Jolla where it is probably no longer extant; another is from north of Via de la Valle and west of El Camino Real in Encinitas. Reported by Thorne from one locale on Santa Catalina Island. It is reported by Smith on Anacapa Island on the trail above Frenchman's Cove, on Santa Cruz Island on the sea cliffs at Coches Prietos and Frys Harbor, and on bluffs west of Ventura. Raven reports an historic population from Santa Monica which is likely no longer extant.

Thirty-four collections from Baja California are found in the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium; south to 28 5' North where collected by Moran (SD 64961) east of La Vuelta. In northern Baja California this species is locally common near the coast at Punta Banda, La Fonda, Baja Del Mar, and Jatay. Much of its seabluff habitat in northern Baja is being developed for vacation homes.

Status: Seaside Calandrinia is severely declining in mainland Southern California, and is approaching extirpation in San Diego County and Orange County; only a limited number of small sites are now known from the former. All mainland U.S. sites should be protected. Horticultural requirements for this showy succulent plant should be investigated to determine if it can be viably re-introduced into appropriate native, beach bluff habitat.


Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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