Orcutt's Woody-aster [Xylorhiza orcuttii (Vasey & Rose) Greene]

Orcutt's Woody-aster [Xylorhiza orcuttii (Vasey & Rose) Greene]

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

State/Federal. Status -- /C2 ASTERACEAE Mar.-Apr.

Global Rank G3 State Rank S2.2

Distribution: San Diego County, Imperial County, Riverside County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Sonoran Desert Scrub in rocky canyons and sandy washes is the habitat of this lanky, herbaceous shrub. Observed locales were relatively devoid of substantial shrub cover.

Known Sites: This striking species is found along the Salton Seaway in the mud hills east of Palo Verde Canyon Wash near the eastern boundary of the county, and occurs at scattered locales in Canyon Sin Nombre. Herbarium specimens examined are from Font's Point, Carrizo Station, Benson's Dry Lake, Borrego Springs, Split Mountain, Vallecitos, Banner Grade, Arroyo Tapiado, and the Borrego Salton Seaway. Old reports are from Short Wash and at Benson's Dry Lake. One old biological survey notes a site north of Box Canyon near Mecca Hills Park in Riverside County. Data Base reports for Imperial County are from the south fork of Arroyo Salada, between Arroyo Salada and Tule Wash, 2 miles east of Carrizo Stage Station, near Basin Wash Road and into Tule Wash, Bank Wash about 1 mile northeast of Squaw Peak, in Red Rock Canyon, and the Carrizo Impact Area 0.5 mile northeast of Old Carrizo Stage Station; from San Diego County 0.5 mile northeast of Squaw Peak, San Felipe Creek 1.25 miles southeast of Squaw Peak, east of Bank Wash, Palo Verde Wash in Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreational Area, near Ocotillo Wells, Fish Creek Wash Road 2.3 miles southwest of the paved portion of Split Mountain Road, the north fork of Fish Creek Wash from 4.2 miles west of Lycium Creek Wash turnoff to the end of the north fork, 0.5 mile east of Fonts Point Wash, Coachwhip Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains, Truckhaven Trail near Seventeen Palms, Arroyo Seco Del Diablo 0.2 mile northwest of Fish Creek Turnoff, Arroyo Tapiado 0.5 mile south of road crossing to Arroyo Seco Del Diablo, Loop Wash and Fish Creek Wash to 2.7 miles up Sandstone Canyon, 1.3 miles west of Mesquite Oasis in the Carrizo Badlands, and Arroyo Tapiado about 2 miles north of Vallecito Creek.

Orcutt's Woody Aster is reported by Wiggins along the northern desert slopes of the Sierra Juarez.

Status: Orcutt's Woody Aster populations are presumed stable on the southern deserts; many of the known populations lie within Anza-Borrego State Park boundaries and are well protected. It is difficult to account for the relative rarity of this shrub; field work is necessary to further define its precise ecological requirements. All populations are recommended for protection.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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