San Diego Mesa Mint [Pogogyne abramsii J. T. Howell]

San Diego Mesa Mint [Pogogyne abramsii J. T. Howell]

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

State/Federal. Status -- CE/FE LAMIACEAE Apr.-Jun.

Global Rank G2 State Rank S2.1

Distribution: San Diego County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: This small annual is restricted to Vernal Pools. Redding cobbly loams are the preferred soil type near Miramar. Oftentimes this mint blooms profusely following heavy inundation and standing water in the pools; sometimes blanketing pool basins with flowers. Individual flowers may bloom late well into the summer. During drought years only sporadic portions of the pool basins may exhibit coverage with this mint. Growing sympatrically with this species are usually Downingia cuspidata and Eryngium aristulatum ssp. parishii. An unusually open Chamise Chaparral often occurs on the periphery of the pools and typically includes the Coast Scrub Oak. Sometimes habitat can be identified from aerial photographs by searching for Mima Mound topography; on the surface these small mounds are quite distinctive and may harbor vernal pools in the low-lying, intervening areas between the mounds.

Known Sites: E. Bauder's recent field work amply documents the rapid decline of this species in the vernal pools of Kearny Mesa. San Diego Mesa Mint is locally common at Miramar Mounds; growing in scattered pools westward to the eastern terminus of Eastgate Mall. The majority of the remaining San Diego Mesa Mint now grows in a block of land north of Highway 52, South of Miramar Road, west of Interstate 15, and east of Interstate 805. A second area of pools with this mint is west of Abing Avenue and north of Peñasquitos Canyon. An old report where no longer extant is from a mesa north of Talmadge Park (June 1941) now occupied by homes. The numerous Data Base reports are clustered within the limited mesalands already mentioned, with many of the locations merely peripheral extensions of the once cohesive and unfragmented, large populations. They are north of Miramar Road and 1 mile east of Interstate 805, at the south end of Santo Road, east of Montgomery Field between the airport and Ruffin Road, east of Highway 395 between Miramar Way and Miramar Road, east of Highway 395 and south of Rose Canyon, northeast of Interstate 15 near Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, just north of Shepherd Canyon and west of Mission Trails Park, just north of Interstate 15 and east of Kearny Villa Road, on the southeast side of Kearny Villa Road at its junction with San Clemente Canyon, 1 mile east of Kearny Villa Road between San Clemente Canyon and Murphy Canyon, 1 mile east of the junction of Murphy Canyon and Kearny Villa Road, east of the Miramar Naval Air Station runways, north of San Clemente Canyon between the mining area and Highway 163, northeast of the intersection of Highway 163 and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, west of Highway 163 between San Clemente Canyon and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, southeast of the junction of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and the Cabrillo Freeway, between the west end of the Miramar Naval Air Station Runways and Rose Canyon, between these same runways and San Clemente Canyon, in Mira Mesa east of Montongo Street and north of Swansea Place, west of the junction of New Salem Street and Barbados Way, north and south of Mira Mesa Boulevard east of Mira Mesa, along both the north and south rims of Carroll Canyon, at the west gate of Miramar Naval Air Station, north of the junction of Carroll Canyon and Miramar Road, Lopez Mesa on the south side of Peñasquitos Canyon, Lopez Mesa adjacent to Carl Sandberg Elementary School, at the north end of Camino Ruiz, between Peñasquitos Canyon and Deer Canyon, the northwest side of Fletcher Parkway and Amaya Drive, south of the Miramar Naval Air Station runway and west of the Harris Sand Quarry, northwest of the junction of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Highway 163, south of Miramar Road and 1 mile east of Interstate 805.

A plant closely related to San Diego Mesa Mint is locally common in the vernal pool complex north of Cerro Bola and west of the Tecate/Ensenada Highway in Valle de las Palmas, Baja California, on Rancho Esperanza near the power lines. Taxonomic work is underway to determine if this entity deserves subspecific recognition.

Status: San Diego Mesa Mint is slowly declining in San Diego County owing to a multitude of direct and secondary impacts from urban development pressures. Loss of watershed for individual pools, despite pool basin preservation, is a concern. Federal Endangered status has recently substantially slowed the continued loss of San Diego Mesa Mint. The strong minty odor of this species sometimes reveals its presence during the fall when it is partially decomposed and not readily identifiable. It may be difficult to adequately census for in late fall and winter, or during droughts. All populations should be protected.

Copyright © May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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