Peninsular Spineflower [Chorizanthe leptotheca Goodm.]

Peninsular Spineflower [Chorizanthe leptotheca Goodm.]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None POLYGONACEAE May-Aug.

Global Rank G3G4 State Rank S2S3

Distribution: San Diego County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: This tiny annual is typically found in xeric openings in Chamise Chaparral.

Known Sites: Limited numbers of this spineflower were seen in the chaparral along Highway 94, west of Jamul; as well as southwest of the intersection of Japatul Valley Road and Interstate 8. Herbarium specimens for San Diego County were examined from Campo, near Canyon City, Corte Madera, Doane Valley, Mount Woodson, Echo Dell; as well as Doane Valley in the Palomar Mountains. Old biological survey reports noting Chorizanthe staticoides in the foothills and mountains of San Diego County may represent misidentified Chorizanthe leptotheca. An additional voucher specimen was seen from near Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains of Riverside County. Peninsular Spineflower has also been reported from Santa Ysabel, Mesa Grande, Pala, Ramona, and Otay Mountain. Reported by Reveal near the southern base of the San Bernardino Mountains, along the eastern edge of the Santa Ana Mountains, and through the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains of Riverside County. A population south of Vail Lake in Riverside County appears somewhat intermediate to C. staticoides with pink flowers.

Two voucher specimens from Baja California are found at the herbarium of the San Diego Natural History Museum; south to 32 33' North where collected by Moran (SD 107442) eleven kilometers east of Tecate. It was occasional in chamise chaparral on volcanic soils on the Tecate/Ensenada Highway, near the crest of the road north of Valle de Las Palmas, in Baja California.

Status: Peninsular Spineflower is presumed stable in the region given its typical inland chaparral habitat, oftentimes on steep slopes. The relationship between this species and Chorizanthe staticoides is not always clear. Live plants typically have a pale blue to white calyx as opposed to the pink calyx of C. staticoides. In San Diego County well defined C. staticoides is apparently restricted to near the coast while inland and montane forms are referable to C. leptotheca. More taxonomic work is needed to elucidate the range and diagnostic traits of this species. Given the limited information available on the Peninsular Spineflower, significant portions of all substantial populations should be protected.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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