California Spineflower [Mucronea californica Benth.]

California Spineflower [Mucronea californica Benth.]

Listing CNPS List 4 R-E-D Code 1-2-3

State/Federal. Status -- None POLYGONACEAE Mar.-Aug.

Global Rank G4? State Rank S3S4

Distribution: San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, Ventura County, Kern County, Monterey County

Habitat: This ephemeral annual herb grows in very sandy microhabitats in coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and dunes. It is also reported from grasslands and cismontane woodlands.

Known Sites: In San Diego County only one extant site is known near northwest of Fort Rosecrans Cemetery on Point Loma growing on property controlled by the U.S. Navy. Herbarium specimens were examined from Torrey Pines, Pacific Beach, and the San Luis Rey Valley. In Los Angeles County this species is reported from the El Segundo Dunes near LAX Airport. Smith reports this species in the Santa Barbara region from Fox Canyon in Santa Barbara, Buellton to Lompoc, Los Alamos, Santa Maria, Pt. Sal, Nipomo Mesa, lower Cuyama River canyon; also on dunes at Pt. Conception, Pt. Arguello, and Surf. Hoover reports this species in San Luis Obispo County in the upper Salinas Valley from Atascadero eastward to the north end of the La Panza Range and southward to near Pozo; also locally common around Morro Bay and southward along the beaches, and on dunes just south of Hazard Canyon. Reveal reports this species in extreme western San Bernardino County and northwestern Riverside County. Herbarium specimens were examined from Cajon Pass in San Bernardino County, Playa del Rey in Los Angeles County, South of Sudden Ranch Gate on Vandenberg Air Force Base as well as Graciosa Ridge in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Guadalupe in San Luis Obispo County, and near Wild Horse Creek in Monterey County. Raven reports the California Spineflower in Los Angeles County on sandy flats behind Point Dume.

Status: Formerly plants near the ocean with larger bracts were called variety suksdorfii. Given the paucity of reported sites in Southern California, and the likelihood that most historical habitat occurred near the coast in areas now heavily urbanized, it is recommended that all Southern California populations be protected. California Spineflower is substantially declining in the region due to coastal urban development, and may be locally extirpated over much of its historical range in Southern California.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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