Palmer's Frankenia [Frankenia palmeri Wats.]

Palmer's Frankenia [Frankenia palmeri Wats.]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None FRANKENIACEAE May-Jul.

Global Rank G3G4 State Rank S1.1

Distribution: Coastal San Diego County; Baja California and Sonora, Mexico

Habitat: This low-growing shrub occurs on the periphery of Salt Marsh. Generally, nearby areas have been developed in San Diego County with urban growth typically extending up to the very edge of the inundated marshlands. Salicornia subterminalis is a plant associate along with two species of Suaeda. At Gunpowder Point the Palmer's Frankenia grows on distinctive mounds that rise above the surrounding terrain; soils here are mapped as Huerhuero loam.

Known Sites: The only known native U.S. population occurs in Chula Vista at Gunpowder Point in the Sweetwater Salt Marsh where two small colonies survive. One old report where probably extirpated is the bay side of the Silver Strand. Reported by Felger for Tiburon Island in the Gulf of California.

Forty-three collections of this species from Baja California are found at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium; south to 26 45' North where collected by Moran (SD 92359) along the coast. It is also found in mainland Mexico on the west coast of Sonora.

Status: Palmer's Frankenia is close to extirpation in the United States. Seedlings from the Sweetwater site should be propagated and planted at secure locales around San Diego Bay. One planting was recently noted at the Tijuana River National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Imperial Beach. Another recent planting is reported at the D Street fill in Chula Vista. All populations should be protected.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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