Vail Lake Ceanothus [Ceanothus ophiochilus Boyd]

Vail Lake Ceanothus [Ceanothus ophiochilus Boyd]

Listing CNPS List 1B R-E-D Code 3-3-3

State/Federal. Status -- CE/C2 RHAMNACEAE Feb.-Mar.

Global Rank G1 State Rank S1.1

Distribution: Riverside County

Habitat: This shrub grows on a reddish-hued, pyroxenite outcrop at Oak Mountain in Chamise Chaparral; it utilizes gabbroic soils near Woodchuck Campground. Shrub diversity is relatively limited and the Vail Lake Ceanothus is a very localized but common component of this chaparral.

Known Sites: This unique, small-leaved species was recently described by Boyd, Ross, and Arnseth. A sizeable colony is found on the eastern slopes of Oak Mountain, approximately 1 mile west of Vail Lake in Riverside County. From a distance this shrub bears a superficial similarity to Chamise, with which it grows sympatrically, which may in part account for its recent discovery. A second site where this shrub is found in several dense concentrations is south of Highway 79 and south of Woodchuck Campground within the Agua Tibia Wilderness near the San Diego County line. Additional sites may occur nearby in the rugged and little explored Agua Tibia Wilderness Area of San Diego County.

Status: Currently the population of this shrub is stable. The Vail Lake Ceanothus is a strong candidate for Federally Endangered status given its few known populations and repeated attempts to propose development for the Vail Lake area. All populations should be protected.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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