Catalina Mariposa Lily [Calochortus catalinae Wats.]

Catalina Mariposa Lily [Calochortus catalinae Wats.]

Listing CNPS List 4 R-E-D Code 1-2-3

State/Federal. Status -- None LILIACEAE Feb.-May

Global Rank G3 State Rank S3.2

Distribution: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, Catalina Island, Santa Cruz Island, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Rosa Island

Habitat: Open chaparral, cismontane woodland, and valley and foothill grasslands are all recorded habitats for this bulbous perennial. In the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles County, Raven reports this species as locally common in grasslands, and particularly conspicuous after fires. In foothills near Malibu it was observed within an area of native bunchgrasses and introduced Eurasian annual grasses, on an open ridgeline not far from the ocean.

Known Sites: No valid collections of Catalina Mariposa Lily can be located from San Diego County. An historical, unverified report is from Ramona; the report from Lake Hodges is based on a misidentification. This species was found in limited numbers in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles County on a hillside overlooking Escondido Canyon. Reported by Thorne as common on Santa Catalina Island. Reported by Roberts from Orange County in Santa Ana Canyon, at Upper Shady Canyon in the San Joaquin Hills, in Upper Wood Canyon at Aliso-Wood Canyon Regional Park, in Rancho Mission Viejo, on a ridge between Limestone and Santiago Canyons, at Casper's Regional Park, and in both Black Star and Trabuco Canyons in the Santa Ana Mountains. A recent report is from Tonner Canyon near Brea. Smith reports this mariposa lily from grassy woodland openings on the south side of the Santa Ynez Mountains, from the upper Santa Ynez River to Figueroa Mountain, and on Santa Cruz Island. It is not mentioned by Hoover in his flora of San Luis Obispo County, but apparently at least one record for this region is known. Herbarium specimens examined were for the Santa Ynez Mountains near Highway 154, 5 miles below San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County; from the Palos Verdes Hills, Las Flores Canyon near Santa Monica, near Mulholland Highway and its intersection with Pacific Coast Highway, and Malibu Road in Los Angeles County; near Avalon on Santa Catalina Island; and at Beecher's Bay on Santa Rosa Island.

Status: This bulb is slowly declining in Southern California due to urban residential expansion into the foothills surrounding the Los Angeles basin. The status of Catalina Mariposa Lily in San Diego County is unknown; it may not be native to this area. Opportunities for re-introducing this showy species into appropriate native habitat from seed-grown nursery material should be investigated. A substantial portion of all sizeable Southern California populations should be protected.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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