Palmer's Grappling Hook [Harpagonella palmeri Gray = Pectocarya palmeri (Gray) Veno]

Palmer's Grappling Hook [Harpagonella palmeri Gray = Pectocarya palmeri (Gray) Veno]

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

State/Federal. Status -- /C2 BORAGINACEAE Mar.-Apr.

Global Rank G4T3 State Rank S2.1

Distribution: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Santa Catalina Island, Arizona; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Clay vertisols with open grassy slopes or open Diegan Sage Scrub are typical habitats for this inconspicuous annual. Diablo clays are favored along the coast; Sloping gullied land is mapped for Table Mountain.

Known Sites: Several thousand individuals grow on the slopes of Table Mountain near Jacumba. Otherwise most populations are small and scattered along the coast, as at the east end of Otay Valley near the mouth of Salt Creek, and just north of Cocklebur Creek west of Interstate 5. A small colony was seen east of the sand pits and just upstream of Sweetwater Reservoir; another small site is in open grasslands east of Via Del Charro in Rancho Santa Fe. Palmer's Grappling Hook is localized on clay balds on Poser Mountain. Herbarium collections include the eastern end of Sweetwater Lake, on Sequan Peak, west of Dehesa School, a burn on Poway Grade, and at Camp Kearny. Other herbarium collections where possibly no longer extant are from near the corner of Federal and Euclid in East San Diego, near the mouth of Mission Gorge, Fletcher Hills, Emerald Hills, the mouth of Alvarado Canyon, north of Grossmont High School, and in Olivenhain. Old biological survey reports note sites southwest of Sienna Canyon Drive in Encinitas, and near Steele Canyon Bridge and Highway 94 by the water tank. Another recent report is from Magee Road near the Riverside County line. Data Base reports are from the north end of Santo Road in Tierra Santa, on the east side of Tecolote Canyon near the end of Tait Street, on the east rim of Soledad Canyon 0.5 mile south of Peñasquitos Canyon, at Evans Point south of Oceanside, in Johnson Canyon on the south side of Otay Valley, on a sandstone bluff on the north side of San Elijo Lagoon, northeast of Rancho Santa Fe north of Del Dios Highway, on Miramar Naval Air Station north of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and west of Santo Road, the lower southwest slope of Viejas Mountain just north of Otto Avenue, on the rim of Lux Canyon east of El Camino Real, the east slope of Barber Mountain west of Barrett Lake and south of Wilson Creek, just south of Encinitas Road about 400 yards its junction with Linda Vista Drive, just north of the Brown Field on Otay Mesa, northeast of Batiquitos Lagoon at 0.8, 1.8, and 1.25 miles due north of La Costa Country Club, northeast of Batiquitos Lagoon 0.4 mile northwest of the radio facility and north of San Marcos Creek, in northern Proctor Valley 2 miles east of the summit of San Miguel Mountain and 0.25 mile east of Indian Rock Corral, near Rancho de los Quiotes from 0.4 mile northeast to 0.4 mile southeast of the Rancho, 0.6 mile southwest of Rancho de los Quiotes, east of Sycamore Canyon approximately 2.7 miles south of the Goodan Ranch, along Proctor Valley Road 0.3 mile northwest of Gobbler's Knob southeast along Proctor Valley Road to the vicinity of Wild Man's Canyon, 2 miles west of the tip of Upper Otay Mesa and 0.3 mile due north of benchmark 664 north of Proctor Valley Road, west of the summit of Mother Miguel Mountain, and north of Lusardi Creek approximately two kilometers from its confluence with the San Dieguito River. In western Riverside County Palmer's Grappling Hook grows in heavy clay soils on Alberhill Mountain, on the south slopes of Bachelor Mountain near Lake Skinner, and at Harford Springs Park near Idaleona Road. Old biological survey reports note sites south of Lee Lake near Interstate 15, and near Borel Road and the French Valley Airport. Data Base reports for Riverside County are in Temescal Canyon on the south side of Alberhill Mountain, 2 miles west northwest of Alberhill just west of DiPalmas Italian Village, on the mesa just west of Skunk Hollow, 0.25 mile east of Winchester Road and 1.25 miles east of Murrieta Hot Springs and 0.5 mile south of Borel Road, south of Palomar Valley about 5 miles northeast of Murrieta and 1 mile south of Bundy Canyon Road west of Highway 395, on a terrace in Temescal Canyon Wash, on the southwest side of DePalma Road 0.1 mile east of Indian Truck Trail, on the south-facing slopes of Oak Mountain near Vail Lake and at other locales in this vicinity, on the southeast-facing slopes of Bachelor Mountain about 2.3 miles east of Washington Avenue, on the Gavilan Plateau 0.4 mile west of the junction of Lake Mathews Drive and Gavilan Road, at Kolb Creek/Pechanga Creek Divide two kilometers southwest of Yampa Ranch, and at the northwest base of Gavilan Peak; for Orange County between Trampas and Cristianitos Canyons 1 mile south of Highway 78, in Cristianitos Canyon 0.3 mile west of the clay pit. Reported in Orange County by Roberts at Dana Point, Casper's Regional Park, and Gabino Canyon in Rancho Mission Viejo. It is said to be frequent on Catalina Island by Thorne. Shreve and Wiggins report variety arizonica from Pima and Maricopa counties in Arizona. This species is also reported from Isla Guadalupe.

Twenty-three collections from Baja California are found at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium; south to 27 32' North where collected by Moran (SD 92554) on the north slope of Cerro Azul.

Status: Palmer's Grappling Hook is declining throughout Southern California. Many historical sites are likely extirpated by urban development and agricultural discing. Surveys in annual grasslands must be careful to examine clay areas otherwise dominated by Eurasian grasses, and not presume only non-native elements are present. This annual cannot be reliably censused except during the spring and early summer before it has decomposed; it is likely under-reported during biological surveys. All sizeable populations should be protected; substantial portions of smaller populations should be protected within dedicated biological open spaces.

Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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