Beach Goldenaster [Heterotheca sessiliflora (Nutt.) Shinn. ssp. sessiliflora]

Beach Goldenaster [Heterotheca sessiliflora (Nutt.) Shinn. ssp. sessiliflora]

Listing CNPS Unlisted R-E-D Code None

State/Federal. Status -- None ASTERACEAE Mar.-Jul.

Global Rank None State Rank None

Distribution: San Diego County; southern California coast; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Coastal Sage Scrub in sandy locales is the general habitat for this herbaceous perennial. The locale in Del Mar has soils mapped as Terrace Escarpment. Reported habitat in counties to the north consists of beach bluffs and maritime locales.

Known Sites: A small vestigial population survives at the south end of a disturbed field, at the foot of a slope on the south side of San Dieguito Lagoon, growing in dense sage scrub. The understory here is quite sandy and Torrey Pines occur well upslope. Reported sites for San Diego County are for San Elijo Lagoon, Torrey Pines, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, North Island, Silver Strand, San Diego, and the boundary monument at the Mexican border. Most of these reported sites are in highly urbanized areas along the coast and are likely no longer extant.

Status: The San Diego County populations of Beach Goldenaster are almost extirpated. This subspecies appears quite distinct from other subspecies of goldenaster with its typically large leafy bracts subtending the single flowering head; taxonomic work is needed to clarify its relationship to these other entities. It may merit full species status. More collection information is needed from throughout Southern California and Baja California. It is presumed that most of its coastal habitat has been developed in the United States. Provisionally all San Diego County populations are recommended for protection.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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