Coulter's Matilija Poppy [Romneya coulteri Harvey]

Coulter's Matilija Poppy [Romneya coulteri Harvey]

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

State/Federal. Status -- None PAPAVERACEAE May-Jul.

Global Rank G3 State Rank S3.2

Distribution: San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Riverside County

Habitat: This suffruticose perennial is a fire follower which may occur in areas of sage scrub; or more typically in chaparral or along rocky watercourses. Open or mildly disturbed terrain is sometimes favored and mature chaparral or sage scrub limits the expansion of this showy member of the Poppy Family. At the Chiquita Canyon site the soils are mapped as Capistrano series.

Known Sites: Specimens of Coulter's Matilija Poppy examined in the field from San Diego County were all of questionable (e.g., horticultural) origin except one. A small population of Romneya coulteri grows north of San Onofre Creek and south of Basilone Road not far from the nuclear power plant. This may be a washdown element from the eastern mountains. Sites examined in western Riverside County are at the confluence of Leach and Dickey Canyons, and by Mountain Avenue near Alberhill (as well as a number of other locales on and in canyons near Alberhill). It is also reported from washes in Fresno Canyon and Wardlow Canyon west of Corona, from south of Lee Lake near Interstate 15, and the mouth of Horsethief Canyon. This shrub was seen in one dense colony in Chiquita Canyon in Orange County. Roberts reports this matilija poppy in Orange County at Santa Ana Canyon, Rancho Mission Viejo along Highway 74, the Audubon Starr Ranch, and San Juan Canyon. It grows locally within Silverado Canyon, near the mouth of Holy Jim Trail, in the broad wash of Trabuco Canyon, and in Modjeska near the wildlife center. Herbarium specimens examined were from Temescal Canyon near Glen Eden and Hagador Canyon in Riverside County; as well as Lower Santiago Canyon in Orange County.

Status: This species is slowly declining in Orange and Riverside counties as the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains are being developed. The status of Coulter's Matilija Poppy in San Diego County is unknown; it is presumed present in only very limited numbers. Substantial portions of all sizeable populations should be protected; smaller populations should be placed into biological open space whenever possible.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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