Eriodictyon capitatum - Eastw.
Lompoc Yerba Santa
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eriodictyon capitatum Eastw. (TSN 31366)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.128691
Element Code: PDHYD04040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Waterleaf Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Solanales Hydrophyllaceae Eriodictyon
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Eriodictyon capitatum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Oct2015
Global Status Last Changed: 20Aug2013
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Endemic to Santa Barbara County, California. Known from 7 occurrences. Some occurrences contain one or only a few genetic individuals and have extremely limited seed production. Several sites are on military lands (Vandenberg AFB) and receive some protection from development there; however, they are probably not managed for their stability or increase.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States California (S2)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (20Mar2000)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Eriodictyon capitatum is endemic to southwestern Santa Barbara County, California. It is found in three areas of the county: on Vandenberg Air Force Base, on the west crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains on Hollister Ranch, and on Graciosa Ridge in the Solomon Hills southeast of Orcutt. The entire range extent covers about 365 sq mi.

Area of Occupancy: 1-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Only two EO's have acreages noted; they addup to about 200 acres.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: 7 known occurrences all in Santa Barbara County, California. 5 have not been seen/reported on in the last 20 years.

Population Size Comments: It is extremely difficult to assess the abundance of E. capitatum at a given site because it is clonally reproducing and the number of ramets present may significantly overestimate the number of genetic individuals present. About 568 stems were known as of 2005.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: 2 EO's are ranked good or better.

Overall Threat Impact: High - medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Eriodictyon capitatum is probably threatened primarily by loss of habitat. Currently, land use on Vandenberg Air Force Base and Hollister Ranch appear to pose no direct threat to the persistence of the species. Changes in land use in either location could have severe negative repercussions. In addition, prescribed burning at Vandenberg could impact the species. However, it is not entirely clear whether burning has a negative or positive influence on growth. One study found vigorous resprouting of E. capitatum in the first year after a fire with an increase in the number of clumps and the number of stems per clump (Jacks et. al. 1984). However, it has also been suggested that fire may adversely affect the species by allowing invasion of iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis). The large occurrence on Union Oil land is potentially the most threatened. This occurrence was last surveyed in 1986, and the current land use regime is not known. In 1986, pipelines and spur roads leading to oil wells were found throughout the area. Although it has been suggested that this type of minor surface disturbance may encourage vegetative reproduction of E. capitatum, specific research would be useful to determine whether this is actually the case.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: The trend is relatively stable due to several populations being located on military lands where development is less of a threat.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Because there are so few extant occurrences and because we have limited understanding of the effects of disturbance and fire regime on the persistence of E. capitatum, the species ought to be considered fragile. Levels of disturbance and fire regime vary among occurrences. Some sites are subject to periodic minor disturbance which may enhance vegetative growth while others are relatively more isolated and may be threatened by lack of disturbance. Fire suppression is encouraged in some localities, and prescribed burning is considered at others.

Environmental Specificity: Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Only known from three small areas in Santa Barbara County, California.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Eriodictyon capitatum is endemic to southwestern Santa Barbara County, California. It is found in three areas of the county: on Vandenberg Air Force Base, on the west crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains on Hollister Ranch, and on Graciosa Ridge in the Solomon Hills southeast of Orcutt. The entire range extent covers about 365 sq mi.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA

Range Map
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U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Santa Barbara (06083)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Santa Maria (18060008)+, San Antonio (18060009)+, Santa Ynez (18060010)+, Santa Barbara Coastal (18060013)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An evergreen shrub, growing to about 3 m tall. Leaves are narrow. Flowers are lavender, borne in head-like, densely hairy clusters. Blooms May-August.
Technical Description: Aromatic, evergreen shrub with shredding bark up to 2 m tall. Open, weedy growth from woody underground rootstocks. Twigs glabrous and sticky. Leaves: linear, sessile, entire, margin rolled under, glabrous and glutinous above and white- tomentose beneath, 2-9 cm long and 2-5 mm wide. Inflorescences: capitate. Flowers: calyx lobes linear, densely hairy 3-8 mm long, corolla lavender, tubular, 6-15 mm long, style 3-6 mm long. Capsule: densely pubescent, 3 mm long. Seeds: about 1 mm long, finely transversely reticulate. n = 14 (Munz and Keck 1959, Hickman 1993).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Eriodictyon capitatum is distinguished from other members of the genus primarily by its capitate (head-like) inflorescences (Savage 1978, Myers 1987) and narrow leaves (McMinn 1939). It is similar in appearance to the San Luis Obispo County endemic, E. altissimum Wells (Smith 1976).
Duration: PERENNIAL, EVERGREEN
Reproduction Comments: Eriodictyon capitatum is capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction. The importance of sexual reproduction in maintaining populations is unclear. Some occurrences of the plant apparently contain only one genetic individual, a single clone (determined by starch gel electrophoresis of isozymes). Since the species has been shown to be self-incompatible, these uniclonal occurrences are incapable of producing seed without pollen flow from other populations. Occurrences which are multiclonal have higher seed production (Elam 1994).

The number of genetic individuals present at a site is important because it appears, along with other factors, to influence seed production. Apparently uniclonal occurrences have low seed production. In addition, there is a wide range of variation in seed production among multiclonal occurrences.

It is unclear whether vegetative reproduction is sufficient to maintain a population.

Ecology Comments: Eriodictyon capitatum apparently can tolerate and may be encouraged by minor disturbance (Savage 1978, CNPS 1987, Myers 1987). It may be negatively affected by crowding in the understory (Myers 1987) and fire suppression (CNPS 1987). Vigorous new growth was observed in one occurrence after a prescribed burn in 1982 (Jacks et. al. 1984). However, long-term effects of the burn have not been described. Jacks et. al. (1984) also suggested that hotter fires may adversely impact the species by killing underground stems, preventing resprouting. It is also possible that burning may negatively impact the species in some sites by allowing invasion of iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) (Odion et al 1992). More research into the influence of disturbance, competition and fire regime would be useful.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: Two distinct habitats: on sandstone soils (Orcutt or Marina and Oceana sandstones) in chaparral and coastal sage scrub communities with associates such as chamise (Adenostema fasiculatum), black sage (Salvia mellifera), California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), California-lilac (Ceanothus) and manzanita (Arctostaphylos); also found on diatomaceous Monterey shales with an overstory of Bishop pine (Pinus muricata) (California Native Plant Society 1987, Myers 1987).
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: 1. Because Eriodictyon capitatum is state-listed rare and its distribution is restricted to a relatively small area in southwestern Santa Barbara County, monitoring of the few extant populations ought to be undertaken on a regular basis.

2. In addition, further research into the species biology and the effects of management practices would be valuable. It would be of particular interest to determine how the species responds to burning and subsequent competition from iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis), to minor disturbances such as road maintenance and to crowding or shading that might occur in the absence of burning. It would also be valuable to determine whether reproduction in the field is primarily asexual or whether the seed produced in some occurrences germinates to produce new genetic individuals.

3. Finally, it is extremely important that the landholders be made aware of management concerns with respect to this species and that they be strongly encouraged to participate in active protection and/or management.

Restoration Potential: It is difficult to evaluate the establishment or recovery requirements for Eriodictyon capitatum because few specifics are known about its mode of reproduction. It is likely to reproduce regularly by vegetative means, but the role of sexual reproduction in its population dynamics is unknown (although some occurrences do set seed). Importing pollen to apparently uniclonal occurrences may be a means of enhancing seed production in these sites (though such work should be done with great caution and should consider the potential consequences of importing genes from other areas). One study (Jacks et al 1984) found vigorous resprouting after a prescribed fire, but the long- term effects of the fire have not been monitored. In addition, there is concern (Odion et al 1992) that fire may allow the invasion of iceplant, Carpobrotus edulis (at least on Vandenberg Air Force Base).
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Currently there are no specifically protected sites for Eriodictyon capitatum. Landholders are aware of the species' presence. Sites for protection of the species probably ought to emphasize protection of fairly large areas of intact habitat surrounding the extant populations.
Management Requirements: It is unclear what active management program might be valuable to ensure persistence of Eriodictyon capitatum. It has been suggested that minor surface disturbance enhances vegetative growth and that burning may cause resprouting. However, there are few long-term data to address the specific role of these factors in the growth and population persistence of Eriodictyon capitatum. It has also been suggested that burning, at least on Vandenberg Air Force Base, may allow the invasion of the undesirable Carpobrotus edulis. Given this concern, any burning of E. capitatum populations ought to be followed by vigorous hand-weeding of C. edulis seedlings. Odion et al (1992) suggest weeding twice a year for the first 2-3 years and yearly thereafter until the canopy has regenerated (ca. 10-15 years). It has also been suggested that crowding in the understory may suppress resprouting of E. capitatum. If sexual reproduction is an important component in population persistence, there may be ways to increase seed production at some sites. Since the species is self-incompatible and two sites are apparently uniclonal, seed production might be increased at these sites by importing pollen or stems from other sites (with serious consideration being given to the problems associated with moving material among sites, e.g. local adaptation).
Monitoring Requirements: It would be valuable to search for Eriodictyon capitatum seedlings in the field to help determine the role of seed production in population dynamics. Simple counting of ramets at each site might be useful but is limited because it can be an extremely inaccurate estimation of the number of genetic individuals present at a site.

Management Programs: Landholders (Hollister Ranch, Union Oil and Vandenberg Air Force Base) are aware of the presence of Eriodictyon capitatum, but there are apparently not any active management programs in place.
Monitoring Programs: No known monitoring programs.
Management Research Programs: The most recent research on Eriodictyon capitatum was conducted by Diane R. Elam in 1992-1994. The questions addressed in the study were (1) Is there evidence that each population of Eriodictyon capitatum consists of a single clone?, (2) Is the species self-incompatible?, and (3) Is there seed production in populations of Eriodictyon capitatum? Results showed that some populations of the species are apparently uniclonal, that the species is self-incompatible and that some populations (those that are multiclonal) are capable of seed production.
Management Research Needs: Investigations of the response of Eriodictyon capitatum to burning (and subsequent invasion of Carpobrotus edulis), to minor disturbance and to crowding would be of very great value. In addition, it would be of interest to determine what causes variation in seed production among multiclonal occurrences of Eriodictyon capitatum. Included in such studies might be analyses of pollinator visitation rates and behavior, fruit parasitism and more detailed descriptions of the distribution of genetic individuals within populations. Elam is planning to conduct further research into these issues. It would also be useful to evaluate the relative roles of asexual and sexual reproduction in Eriodictyon capitatum. While sexual reproduction may be an important contributor to adaptation in evolutionary time, over the short-term asexual reproduction may be more typical.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Jan2006
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Elam, Diane R., slightly rev. Maybury (1997); rev. R. Bittman 2006
Management Information Edition Date: 31Mar1995
Management Information Edition Author: ELAM, DIANE R. (FOR SHARA HOWIE, HO)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 31Mar1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Elam, Diane R.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • California Department of Fish and Game. 1995. Special plants list. California Department of Fish and Game.

  • California Native Plant Society. 1987. Status report on Eriodictyon capitatum.

  • Elam, D.R. 1994. Genetic variation and reproductive output in plant populations: effects of population size and incompatibility. Chapter 4. [Ph.D. dissertation]. Univ. California, Riverside.

  • Hickman, J. C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1400 pp.

  • Jacks, P., C. Scheidlinger, and P. Zedler. 1984. Response of Eriodictyon capitatum to prescribed fire on Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Final report of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service #11310-0263-81.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • McMinn, H.E. 1939. An illustrated manual of California shrubs. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  • Munz, P.A., with D.D. Keck. 1959. A California flora. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 1681 pp.

  • Myers, M. 1987. The Nature Conservancy status report on Eriodictyon capitatum.

  • Odion, D.C., D.E. Hickson, and C.M. D'Antonio. 1992. Central coast maritime chaparral on Vandenberg Air Force Base: an inventory and analysis of management needs for a threatened vegetation type. For The Nature Conservancy.

  • Savage, W. 1978. Rare plant status report for the California Native Plant Society. Code ERCA-7.

  • Skinner, M.W., and B.M. Pavlik, eds. 1997 (1994). Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 1997 Electronic Inventory Update of 1994 5th edition, California Native Plant Society, Special Publication No. 1, Sacramento.

  • Smith, C.F. 1976. A flora of the Santa Barbara region. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California.

  • Smith, D.M. 1982. Field study of candidate or endangered plant species at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Contract #11310-0133-81.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1995. Category and Listing Priority Form.

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