Winged Cryptantha [Cryptantha holoptera (Gray) MacBr.]

Winged Cryptantha [Cryptantha holoptera (Gray) MacBr.]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None BORAGINACEAE Mar.-Apr.

Global Rank G3G4 State Rank S?

Distribution: San Diego County, Imperial County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Inyo County, Arizona, Nevada; Baja California and Sonora, Mexico

Habitat: Sonoran and Mojavean Desert Scrub in washes, plains, and slopes are the reported habitats for this seldom infrequently species.

Known Sites: Winged Cryptantha has few recent sightings on the western periphery of the Colorado Desert. Vast areas of unexplored desert terrain may yet yield significant populations. An unconfirmed site near Split Mountain is reported. Dedecker reports this species from the Black Mountains of the northern Mojave Desert. Herbarium collections include the east side of Jefferson Road across from the entrance to Cahuilla Lake County Park south of Indio in Riverside County, at the Laguna Dam in Imperial County north of the bridge over the canal, in the Gila Mountains of Arizona, at Carnegie Peak in the Sierra Pinacate in Sonora, Mexico where abundant, and at Hourglass Canyon in Sonora. Reported by Knight on rocky slopes at low elevation in the Muddy Mountains of Clark County; by Norris in Death Valley; by Mclaughlin on north-facing slopes in arid eastern Imperial county; also reported at low elevations in Deep Canyon of the Coachella Valley.

Two collections from Baja California were found at the herbarium for the San Diego Natural History Museum; where collected by Clemons at 32 30' North (SD 122261) in Cañada Cantu de las Palmas; also collected in the Sierra de las Pintas. A small population was observed alongside the steep highway grade east of La Rumarosa and midway down the flanks of the eastern Sierra Juarez.

Status: The status of Winged Cryptantha on the western periphery of the Colorado Desert is poorly understood; it is presumed stable. While the nutlets are broadly winged and distinctive, the numerous superficially similar Cryptantha species on the deserts make ready visual identification in the field difficult. This species is primarily reported from very arid and little visited areas on the eastern Colorado and Mohave Deserts. Only intensive field studies of this species are likely to reveal whether or not it has a distinctive niche which can be correlated with an identifiable microhabitat. Provisionally, all populations found on the western portions of the desert should be protected.

Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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