Orcutt's Bird's Beak [Cordylanthus orcuttianus Gray]
Listing CNPS List 2 R-E-D Code 3-3-1
State/Federal. Status -- /C2 SCROPHULARIACEAE Mar.-Jul.
Global Rank G2? State Rank S1.1
Distribution: Southern San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico
Habitat: Seasonally dry drainages and upland adjacent to riparian habitat is the preferred habitat of Orcutt's Bird's Beak. In the Tijuana River Valley it grows in a cobbly ecotone with sage scrub upslope and disturbed Broom Baccharis and Southern Willow Scrub near the watercourse. Reiff fine sandy loam is mapped at the Rogers Park site; Holocene alluviums and riverwash are found on the embankments of the Otay River.
Known Sites: This species is near extirpation and possibly no longer extant at Greg Rogers Park and Rice Canyon owing to recent residential development. There is a limited occurrence in Poggi Canyon. The major U.S. population is found in the Otay River drainage west of Interstate 805 to Beyer Boulevard where it is locally abundant. Scattered occurrences are found downstream. An old biological survey report notes this species near the large borrow pit at the extreme eastern end of the Tijuana Hills south of Monument Road. Data Base reports are from 0.75 mile due east of Wruck Canyon on Otay Mesa, and south of the Borderland Air Sports Center 1.5 miles east of Lower Otay Reservoir. The Otay River colonies should be considered the only vigorous extant U.S. population and should be rigidly protected.
Substantial collections are from Baja California with 30 specimens at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium. It grows south to 28 39' North where collected by Moran (SD 87246) near Rosarito.
Status: Orcutt's Bird's Beak is substantially declining within its limited U.S range; aside from the Otay River population, all known U.S. sites are presently endangered by direct development or significant secondary impacts. All U.S. populations should be protected.
Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.
Back to Craig H. Reiser's Rare Plants of San Diego County