Mucronea californica - Benth.
California Mucronea
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Mucronea californica Benth. (TSN 21293)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.152192
Element Code: PDPGN0F010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buckwheat Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Polygonales Polygonaceae Mucronea
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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: Mucronea californica
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10Mar2015
Global Status Last Changed: 18Mar1997
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Endemic to southern Central Western and Southwestern California, along the coast from San Luis Obispo County south to San Diego County and inland in the South Coast and Transverse ranges (Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, and San Jacinto Mountains). This species has almost certainly declined substantially from historical levels, as its most suitable/abundant habitat is considered to be near the coast in areas now heavily urbanized. Because of the extensive urbanization in southern California, the species is now considered "uncommon" within its range. Over 200 herbarium specimens have been collected, but only about 50 of these were collected in 1980 or later. The species is believed to still be declining in the region due to coastal urban development and is also threatened by aggregate mining, vehicles, flood control modification, and water percolation projects.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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.
United States California (S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Endemic to southern Central Western and Southwestern California (Hickman 1993); most frequently collected from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2005) describes the species as "found mainly along the Pacific Coast from San Luis Obispo County south to San Diego County and inland in the southern Coast and Transverse ranges from Monterey County to Los Angeles and western Riverside County." According to Hickman (1993), it occurs in the Central and South Coast (incl. Channel Islands), San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, and San Jacinto Mountains. Counties where recorded include Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties (CNPS 2009).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Occurrences of this species have not been mapped. Approximately 210 distinct herbarium specimens are present in the Consortium of California Herbaria database (2009), although only about 50 of these have been collected since 1980. The California Native Plant Society (2009) describes it as "rare in southern California; many herbarium records old."

Population Size Comments: Now uncommon within its range (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005). Hoover (1970) described it as "common near the coast from around Morro Bay southward" in San Luis Obispo County, but unclear if it is still so.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Remaining populations are considered "fairly endangered" in California; they are threatened by aggregate mining, vehicles, flood control modification, urbanization, and water percolation projects.

Short-term Trend Comments: Substantially declining in the region due to coastal urban development (Reiser 1994).

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: This species has almost certainly declined substantially from historical levels, as its most suitable/abundant habitat is considered to be near the coast in areas now heavily urbanized (Reiser 1994). Because of the extensive urbanization in southern California, the species is now considered "uncommon" within its range (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005) and may be locally extirpated over much of the range that it occupied historically (Reiser 1994).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Endemic to southern Central Western and Southwestern California (Hickman 1993); most frequently collected from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2005) describes the species as "found mainly along the Pacific Coast from San Luis Obispo County south to San Diego County and inland in the southern Coast and Transverse ranges from Monterey County to Los Angeles and western Riverside County." According to Hickman (1993), it occurs in the Central and South Coast (incl. Channel Islands), San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, Peninsular Ranges, and San Jacinto Mountains. Counties where recorded include Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties (CNPS 2009).

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
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An ephemerial annual herb 3-50 cm tall. All leaves are basal (none along the stem) and are generally 1-3 cm. The flowering stem has awned bracts and involucres at each node, creating a spiny appearance around each flower. There are 1-2 flowers per node, each of which has 6 white petal-like structures. Flowering March-July, sometimes into August.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Sometimes found growing with Mucronea perfoliata, from which it is distinguished by its 1-3 involucres per node (M. perfoliata always has 1 per node); its usually 3 (rarely 2 or 4) bracts per node, positioned to the side of the node with awns usually 1-2.5 mm (vs. 4 perfoliate bracts per node with awns usually 0.5-1.2 mm in M. perfoliata); and its 1-2 flowers per node (M. perfoliata always has 1 per node) (Flora of North America Editorial Committee 2005). In the rosette stage, it can be distinguished from Chorizanthe orcuttiana (in San Diego County) by its sparse, stiff hairs primarily at the leaf margins (vs. long, silky trichomes in C. orcuttiana).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Sand/dune, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Often in sandy openings within coastal sage scrub and chaparral communities; also occurs on dunes and on sandy substrates in coastal grasslands, valley and foothill grassland, and cismontane (pine-oak) woodlands. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2005) reports that "along the coast (especially in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties), it can be weedy in deep, moving sands." 0 - 1400 m.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 10Jul2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Oliver, L., rev. K. Gravuer (2009)

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
Help
  • California Native Plant Society (CNPS). 2009. Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants. California Native Plant Society. Sacramento, CA. Online. Available: http://www.cnps.org/inventory (accessed 2009).

  • Consortium of California Herbaria. 2009. Online database of vascular plant specimens in California herbaria. Online. Available: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/ (accessed 2009).

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2005. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 5. Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae: Caryophyllales, Polygonales, and Plumbaginales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. vii + 656 pp.

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

  • Hoover, R.F. 1970. The vascular plants of San Luis Obispo County, California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 350 pp.

  • 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.

  • Reiser, C. 1994. Rare plants of San Diego County. http://sandiego.sierraclub.org/rareplants/. Site updated October 6, 2001 by E. Kanner and B. Buffett. Site accessed 2003.

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