San Diego Button Celery [Eryngium aristulatum Jeps. ssp. parishii (Coult. & Rose) Math. & Const.]

San Diego Button Celery [Eryngium aristulatum Jeps. ssp. parishii (Coult. & Rose) Math. & Const.]

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

State/Federal. Status -- CE/FE APIACEAE Apr.-Jun.

Global Rank G5T2 State Rank S2.2

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

Habitat: Vernal Pools or mima mound areas with vernally moist conditions are the preferred habitat for San Diego Button Celery. Redding gravelly loams appear to provide optimal soils for the populations at Miramar Mounds. This species is somewhat more tolerant of peripheral vernal pool habitat than most obligate vernal pool species such as Pogogyne abramsii with which it sometimes grows.

Known Sites: This herbaceous biennial is usually restricted to vernal pools and has been radically depleted in numbers over the last two decades on Kearny Mesa. It is still locally common within some of the remaining pools. It grows in "J" series pools on Otay Mesa and near Wruck Canyon, but was recently extirpated from many locales in this region by unchecked grading and discing following a "land rush" to develop the mesa. Three plants were seen in the now heavily degraded and recently disced vernal pools in downtown San Marcos east of Pacific Street. It is found along the railroad tracks and in the adjacent field west of Interstate 5 and north of Poinsettia Lane despite regular discing (possibly Eryngium armatum at this locale). Recent reports are from upper Proctor Valley at the R3+ pool and at the K5 pools south of Otay Lake; an older report is from 0.75 mile north of the Mission Valley Shopping Center. In southern Camp Pendleton several small populations occur at Wire Mountain in isolated vernal pools. Data Base reports largely reiterate in greater detail, the sites already mentioned. Many of these reports are, in fact, found on the peripheries of single large pool systems and are not truly separate locales; sites include in the Otay region approximately 0.75 mile south southeast of Alta School and southeast of Brown Field, on the former Brown Field Bombing Range 2.1 miles northeast of Alta School, 1.5 miles west of Brown Field, 0.5 mile south of Lower Otay Campground, north and east of Buschalaugh Cove on Lower Otay Reservoir, east of Brown Field and 1.9 miles east northeast of Alta School, west of Brown Field and southeast of Dennery Canyon, northwest of Brown Field 1 mile northwest of Benchmark 505, 0.5 mile southwest of the eastern end of Moody Canyon and 0.5 mile west of Dillon and Finger Canyons, southeast of Dillon and Finger Canyons along the south rim of Spring Canyon, south of Wruck Canyon and southeast of Spring Canyon, 1 mile northeast of the Alta School, the south rim of Otay Mesa 0.5 mile northeast of Interstate 805 junction with the border crossing, 0.5 mile west of Wruck Canyon, above Dennery Canyon along Highway 117, south of Moody Canyon; near 50th Street and Adams in east San Diego (where likely extirpated); in the northern City of San Diego region at numerous locales on Miramar Naval Air Station, northeast of Montgomery Field Airport between runways and the eastern perimeter fence, west of Highway 163 between San Clemente Canyon and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, both northeast and northwest of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Highway 163 cloverleaf, southeast of the junction of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and the Highway 163, the vicinity of Highway 163 and Kearney Villa Road, north of Miramar Road and 0.5-1.0 mile east of Interstate 805 1 mile south of the Mesquite benchmark east of Interstate 805 and north of Los Peñasquitos Canyon, northeast of junction of Interstate 5 and Interstate 805, mesa at the head of Deer Canyon north of Peñasquitos Canyon as well as a mesa between Peñasquitos and Deer Canyons, Lopez Ridge on the south side of Peñasquitos Canyon, Mira Mesa at the north end of Camino Ruiz, Mira Mesa east of Montongo Street and north of Swansea Place, north and south of Mira Mesa Boulevard (mapped as Pool Groups C9-C16), on both the south and north rims of Carroll Canyon, north of the junction of Carroll Canyon and Miramar Roads; also in the San Marcos region 0.25 mile southwest of Palomar College across Mission Road, 1 mile north of San Marcos near Twin Oaks Valley Road; in Chollas Park south of Chollas reservoir spillway north of Ryan Road, and at the Chollas Heights Naval Radio Station on the north side of Zero Road. Data Base information for Riverside County notes sites on the Santa Rosa Plateau at Pools C1, C3, and C4 on Mesa de Colorado, and 0.1 mile northeast of the largest vernal pool on Mesa de Colorado, as well as Pools B1-B3, B6, B8 on Mesa de Burro.

Eleven specimens are found from Baja at the San Diego Herbarium; south to 30 28' North where collected by Moran (SD 100923) north of Ejido Papalote.

Status: San Diego Button Celery is severely declining with continued losses despite its State Endangered status. The number of known sites listed above is misleading; many of these locations are remnant colonies of once larger populations that included several of the reported sites, and it is presumed that most U.S. sites for this species have already been discovered. All populations should be fully protected with adequate buffers. The Eryngium found on grasslands (Huerhuero loam) near ocean bluffs at Camp Pendleton may represent Eryngium armatum (disjunct from the Santa Barbara region), or an as yet unidentified and related entity. Further taxonomic work is needed. Hundreds grow in an atypical habitat of vernally moist grasslands north of Mass 3 Road (also possibly representing a new taxon); thousands occur on the grassland/beach bluffs north and immediately south of Cocklebur Creek, northward to Las Flores Creek and the lagoon. This still extensive habitat is primarily established within a corridor extending 50 yards back from the beach bluffs, with many plants growing in dense patches in open grassland. Presumably, the occasional fogs create moist seasonal conditions.

Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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