Desert Beauty [Linanthus bellus (Gray) Greene]

Desert Beauty [Linanthus bellus (Gray) Greene]

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

State/Federal. Status -- /C3c POLEMONIACEAE Apr.-May

Global Rank G2G3 State Rank S?

Distribution: San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: High Desert Chaparral, usually in broad sandy openings, is the typical habitat of Desert Beauty. This small annual uses Mottsville loamy coarse sand at Boulevard, as well as northward in the McCain Valley. Numerous other annuals grow sympatrically here in very productive, high desert terrain. Open, sandy upland locales, anywhere in the region where reports are concentrated, may potentially contain this species.

Known Sites: Desert Beauty grows at Boulevard on the boundaries of this hamlet, and in well drained sand at Bankhead Springs. A sizeable population is found in McCain Valley where annuals may be abundant following rare "wet years." Old reports from the same region include Tierra Del Sol, Hipass, and Jacumba; also reported south of Lost Valley Road in McCain Valley, and south of Interstate 8 east of Live Oak Springs. Old biological survey reports note sites between Old Highway 80 and Interstate 8 west of the Boulevard exit, between the same two roads near Manzanita, and near Tierra del Sol Road 2 miles south of Tierra del Sol.

Twenty-seven collections for Baja California are found in the San Diego Herbarium. It was collected as far south as 30 22' North by Moran (SD 88817) on the eastern slope of Cerro Matomi. Typically this species occurs in gravelly, granitic soil or sand.

Status: Populations of Desert Beauty are presently stable in San Diego County, but limited residential development near Boulevard is making inroads into this high desert region. While readily identifiable in late spring when flowering, this tiny, ephemeral annual is unlikely to be readily noted during the remainder of the year.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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