Coast Wooly-heads [Nemacaulis denudata Nutt. var. denudata]

Coast Wooly-heads [Nemacaulis denudata Nutt. var. denudata]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None POLYGONACEAE Apr.-Sep.

Global Rank G4T3? State Rank S1?

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

Habitat: This prostrate annual is found in well developed coastal sand dunes along the beaches. The back dunes, in mildly protected locales, seem to be preferred.

Known Sites: Small populations occur in the dunes north of the mouth of the Santa Margarita River, on a miniscule sandy embankment just west of the Pacific Coast Highway on the periphery of Peñasquitos Lagoon, on the Silver Strand to the west of Emory Cove near Imperial Beach, and on the back dunes at Border Field State Park. Herbarium specimens examined include a marsh near Cardiff, Del Mar Beach, beach fill for the National City tidelands, Coronado Beach, Mussel Beds near Ocean Beach, Old Town, Ocean Boulevard and G Street in Coronado, Imperial Beach, and at the Boundary Monument. Most of these locales are likely no longer extant. Roberts reports this species for Orange County.

Ten specimens from Baja California have been collected for the herbarium at the San Diego Natural History Museum; south to Puerto Santa Catarina at 29 31 minutes North where found by Moran (SD 84016).

Status: Coast Woolly-heads is severely declining and is almost extirpated in San Diego County due to extensive recreational beach use leaving few expanses of dune habitat available. Several specimens of the desert dwelling ssp. gracilis (or a hybrid) are known from the coast (reported at Oceanside and the marine base on San Diego Bay); other possible hybrids with ssp. denudata are reported from Baja California. All sites should be protected. This species is a potential candidate for Federal Endangered status; focused field work is necessary for a more detailed assessment.

Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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