Coast Matilija Poppy [Romneya trichocalyx Eastw.]

Coast Matilija Poppy [Romneya trichocalyx Eastw.]

Listing CNPS Unlisted R-E-D Code None

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

Global Rank None State Rank None

Distribution: San Diego County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: The huge population in the Dulzura region occurs primarily on Friant fine and rocky sandy loams.

Known Sites: Romneya trichocalyx is abundant in canyons north of Dulzura and occasional to the south in sage scrub or chaparral. It also occurs sporadically on Otay Mountain (e.g., Cedar Creek) and in the Jamul Mountains. Sites examined include near Deerhorn Valley Road, in Johnson Canyon on northeastern Otay Mesa, and in Sycamore Canyon. Herbarium specimens record Mission Trails Park near Padre Dam, Barrett Junction, and the Espinosa Trail on Pine Creek. Old reports include Potrero Grade/Tecate Mountain. Old biological survey reports note sites south of Highway 94 between Tecate Road and Potrero, southwest of Bee Valley near Mother Grundy Truck Trail, and just east of Tecate Junction. Reported by Smith in Ventura County (herbarium specimen examined from the Maricopa Grade); and Santa Barbara County from Bee Rock south of Lake Cachuma, Mono Creek, Agua Caliente Canyon, Matilija Canyon, upper Sespe Creek along State Highway 33, on Pine Mountain, and the Ozena area of upper Cuyama Valley.

Twenty-two voucher specimens from Baja California are found at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium; south to 30 43' North; where collected by Moran (SD 91198) at Arroyo Nueva York below an old ranch site.

Status: Romneya trichocalyx is slowly declining in San Diego County with residential development expanding into the foothill zone where it primarily is established. Away from the southwestern region of San Diego County are occasional colonies which may or may not be native; the species was once a popular horticultural plant and is found near abandoned homesites where invasive vegetation can mimic native habitat. Genetic studies comparing the northern populations in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County with the southern populations in southern San Diego County and Baja California should be conducted; Romneya coulteri is situated in the intervening region between these two meta-population clusters. Provisionally, substantial portions of all sizeable populations of this poppy in San Diego County are recommended for protection.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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