CULP VALLEY, ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
MAY 2012 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




About a week ago (April 28), as part of a floristic survey of an area in the Culp Valley of San Diego County with Tom Chester, RT and Shaun Hawke, Kate Harper made an extraordinary find of an extremely tiny plant that most people would not even have noticed. Culp Valley consists mainly of a bouldery and sandy ridge and wash area strewn with scrubby desert vegetation that lies between 3000' and 4000' elevation above Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and along the S-22 leading down into the Park. This rare species was identified by the survey members as Nemacladus twisselmannii. Considered by the U.S. Forest Service as a critically imperiled species, it is listed by CNPS as 1B.2 (rare, threated or endangered in California and elsewhere). Its only known other location is a very small area in higher elevation decomposed granitic soils of the southern Sierra Nevadas north of Lake Isabella. Its short stems and cushion-like growth form distinguish it from other species of Nemacladus. On this field trip I joined Tom Chester, Nancy Morin (the author of the Nemacladus treatment in JM2 who drove 12 hours from the Mendocino area to see it), Kate Harper, Wayne Armstrong, James Dillane and Bill Sullivan, in a preliminary effort to survey washes similar to the one where it was found last week and try to gain a better understanding of where it likes to grow and how widespread it might be. Pending genetic analysis hopefully soon to be done, we are calling this species N. twisselmannii. The only other possibility seems to be that it is a previously undescribed species very similar to N. twisselmannii. This was a very exciting find and I was happy to be a small part of the survey effort and at the same time document in photographs this species and some of the other plants that inhabit this beautiful rocky area that I have driven by and not paid any attention to on many previous occasions. The symbol ^ next to the common name indicates a taxon that was new to me when I photographed it on this field trip. For a flora of the Culp Valley, click here, and for Tom Chester's page on N. twisselmannii, click here. Thanks also to Tom for proofing this gallery and making corrections and suggestions.


   
San Bernardino sun cup
Camissoniopsis confusa
Onagraceae


 
Phlox-leaved bedstraw
Galium andrewsii var. andrewsii
Rubiaceae


 
 
 
California figwort
Scrophularia californica
Scrophulariaceae
 
 



   
Goldfields
Lasthenia gracilis
Asteraceae
 



   
Sapphire woolstar
Eriastrum sapphirinum ssp. sapphirinum
Polemoniaceae


 
Desert woolstar
Eriastrum eremicum ssp. eremicum
Polemoniaceae


 
 
Parish's Jacumba milkvetch
Astragalus douglasii var. parishii
Fabaceae

 
Sugar bush
Rhus ovata
Anacardiaceae
 


 
Western wallflower
Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum
Brassicaceae
 
Common phacelia
Phacelia distans
Boraginaceae


 
 
Scarlet bugler
Penstemon centranthifolius
Plantaginaceae
 
 



 
Ashy silk-tassel
Garrya flavescens
Garryaceae
 
 



   
Interior goldenbush
Ericameria linearifolia
Asteraceae


CALFLORA.NET HOME PAGE