Flora of Borrego Badlands
Checklist Sorted by Abundance
Flora of Borrego Badlands
This checklist is a start at a true flora of the Borrego Badlands. It consists primarily of voucher records from many different people, augmented by three days of fieldwork in just four small areas of the Badlands in December, the worst possible time to do such surveys.
The floristic area denoted as the Borrego Badlands is delineated by the red rectangle in the following map:
The western area encompasses all of what is marked as the Borrego Badlands on the topographic map. This floristic area is extended to the east to the Imperial County Line since that eastern area is similar in many respects to the Badlands. The northern boundary is arbitrarily set along Highway S22 for convenience and clarity. The southern boundary is set to exclude the Borrego Sink Wash, San Felipe Creek, and the Ocotillo Wells Off-Road Vehicle Area.
The vouchers come from a search on 16 December 2007 of the Consortium of California Herbaria, and a search of the San Diego Plant Atlas and Herbarium records.
The Consortium records were searched for San Diego County specimens that contained the words badland or Font in the locality. Redundant vouchers were removed, and 73 vouchers from the Carrizo Badlands were eliminated, leaving 105 vouchers of 52 taxa. The dominant collectors in the Consortium records were Joe Barth, 26 vouchers; Jon P. Rebman, J. Gibson, A. Winner, & misc. botany vols., 47 vouchers (of 15 unique collection numbers); and Duffie Clemons, Erik Jonson, Mike Curto, 13 vouchers.
The San Diego records were retrieved for grid cells F26-F29 and G26-G29. One record of Clematis lasiantha was rejected, after an examination of the locality field revealed that the coordinates for this record were erroneous. This resulted in 150 vouchers of 80 taxa. Note that some of the San Diego vouchers also appear in the Consortium records. Only the Plant Atlas records are identified with collector. The dominant collector by far in the San Diego records was jb2 with 51 vouchers; the next largest collector had 7 vouchers.
The determinations for all San Diego Plant Atlas vouchers were all marked as verified by Jon Rebman except for the single voucher of Pectis papposa var. papposa which most likely had simply not yet been processed yet. There are many vouchers of this taxon nearby.
There were 95 total unique taxa found by combining the two searches. Two of these taxa, Isocoma acradenia var. acradenia and Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes, did not appear in Floristic Area #16 in Duffie Clemons' 1985 Checklist of Vascular Plants of the Anza-Borrego Desert, but are present in the 2006 San Diego County Checklist.
Since 16 December 2007, I have augmented the vouchers as I have come across additional records in the course of other work. In particular, in late November 2008 I added a few records from searches for species that I had observed in the Santa Rosa Mountains but which had no vouchers recorded in my database.
The total number of vouchered taxa was 97 on 7 December 2008.
Field Work near Fonts Point Wash
I recorded all species seen in the parts of Inspiration Wash and Fonts Point Wash near Highway S22 during targeted searches for Pilostyles thurberi and Psorothamnus emoryi on 28 December 2005, augmented by one species seen on 11 December 2007. A total of just 23 species were found in those searches.
Wayne Armstrong and I recorded all species seen on 15 December 2007 in a 2 mile loop containing Fonts Point; just 24 species were found in that search.
A total of 35 taxa were found in those December searches; 11 of those 35 taxa, 31%, are not among the 16 December 2007 vouchered species.
Field Work from Ella Wash, Short Wash, Vista del Malpais, Palo Verde Wash and Smoke Tree Wash
On 4 December 2008, I recorded all species seen on an 8 mile loop trip from S22 at Ella Wash to Vista del Malpais along Ella and Short Wash, returning via Palo Verde and Smoke Tree Wash. A total of 44 taxa were found that could be fairly confidently identified, and are given in the checklist below. Three other species were seen: an unknown dead annual like Chaenactis; a dead Cryptantha species probably distinct from the C. barbigera in the checklist; and a dead annual grass that may have been Schismus barbatus.
The total number of taxa presented below is 115, 109 of which are native. Of the 115 taxa, 54 were observed on one of the fieldtrips, leaving 61 to be found from surveys at a more optimal time of year. Of the 54 observed taxa, 36 have vouchers and 18 do not. This may imply that the voucher list is on the order of 50% incomplete. However, since many of the unvouchered taxa are common, it may only imply that the most common taxa have not yet been vouchered.
The unvouchered species do not come from any problem with my identifications, since those unvouchered species include such easy-to-recognize taxa as Opuntia ramosissima, Psorothamnus emoryi, Psorothamnus schottii, and Psorothamnus spinosus. This simply reflects the lack of botanical work for this area. I am certain that the vast majority of the area of the Borrego Badlands has not been botanically explored, and that many more taxa remain to be recorded.
That said, it is likely that this area may have the lowest native biodiversity of any part of San Diego County for the following reasons:
- there is little total elevation relief;
- the landscape is similar throughout the Badlands;
- much of the landscape is eroding rapidly, with very steep slopes, preventing plants from getting established; and
- much of the soil is highly alkaline, which is not tolerated by most species.
The size of the area delineated in red in the map above is roughly 51 square miles. However, the voucher search covered eight Plant Atlas Grid Cells, a total of 72 square miles. Future work will remove those vouchers not actually present in the red-outlined area. An area of this size in most of the rest of San Diego County would have roughly 500 native species, whereas this area has just 115 so far recorded. Oddly, the next most depauperate area in my database is San Clemente Island, with 233 native taxa in 57 square miles.
Although the number of species may be small, any area that contains Southern California's Most Unusual Wildflower, along with rarely-seen southern California species such as Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii and Algodones Dunes sunflower, Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes, is still of major botanic interest.
Checklist for Borrego Badlands
The Checklist is sorted first by category - dicots, monocots, and ferns - and then by family and scientific name. The Family and Scientific Name are from the Jepson Manual, with the Family being given by the first three letters. See Plant Family Abbreviations to decode the abbreviations. An asterisk before the Common Name indicates a non-native taxon.
Rough estimates of the number of plants and number of locations are given for each species observed in each of the three survey areas. The first number is the number of plants, maxing out at 99; the second number is the number of separate locations, maxing out at 9. The abbreviations for the three survey areas, along with the unique linear distance covered in each survey, are:
Abbreviation Location Miles Surveyed FPW / IW Lower Fonts Point Wash / Inspiration Wash 1.5 Fonts Point The area surveyed near Fonts Point 2.0 Ella / VdM Ella Wash, Short Wash, Vista del Malpais, Palo Verde Wash and Smoke Tree Wash 6.0
Taxa observed near Fonts Point have the same abundance estimate for that area.
The last column is the number of vouchers for each taxon from the Consortium. If the Consortium had no vouchers, that column gives the number of vouchers from the San Diego Herbarium. I did not add the number of vouchers together since many of the San Diego Herbarium vouchers are also given at the Consortium website.
See also Checklist Sorted by Abundance.
Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (4 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (1 double-sided page). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)
# FAM Scientific Name (*)Common Name FPW / IW
Ella / VdM
# V 1 PTE Cheilanthes parryi woolly lipfern 1 2 AMA Tidestromia oblongifolia Arizona honeysweet 2/1 3 ASC Asclepias albicans white-stemmed milkweed 1 4 ASC Asclepias subulata rush milkweed 2 5 ASC Sarcostemma hirtellum rambling milkweed 1 6 AST Ambrosia dumosa burroweed 99/9 99/9 99/9 1 7 AST Baileya pauciradiata Colorado Desert marigold 4 8 AST Bebbia juncea var. aspera sweetbush 99/9 9 AST Chaenactis artemisiifolia meally white pincushion 1 10 AST Chaenactis carphoclinia var. peirsonii Peirson's pincushion 1 11 AST Dicoria canescens desert dicoria 10/1 5 12 AST Encelia farinosa brittlebush 1/1 2/2 4 13 AST Encelia frutescens button encelia 10/1 40/9 3 14 AST Geraea canescens hairy desert-sunflower 2 15 AST Helianthus niveus ssp. canescens gray desert sunflower 4 16 AST Helianthus niveus ssp. tephrodes Algodones Dunes sunflower 2 17 AST Hymenoclea salsola var. salsola cheesebush 99/9 3 18 AST Isocoma acradenia var. acradenia alkali goldenbush 10/3 30/9 1 19 AST Monoptilon bellioides desert star 2 20 AST Palafoxia arida var. arida desert needle 10/1 4 21 AST Pectis papposa var. papposa chinch-weed 1 22 AST Perityle emoryi Emory's rock-daisy 1 23 AST Peucephyllum schottii pygmy-cedar 3 24 AST Rafinesquia neomexicana desert chicory 1 25 AST Stephanomeria pauciflora var. pauciflora wire-lettuce 3/1 2/1 30/9 26 AST Xylorhiza orcuttii Orcutt's woody-aster 2 27 BIG Chilopsis linearis ssp. arcuata desert-willow 10/1 1 28 BOR Cryptantha angustifolia narrow-leaved cryptantha 1 29 BOR Cryptantha barbigera bearded cryptantha 5/1 1 30 BOR Cryptantha costata ribbed cryptantha 1 31 BOR Cryptantha ganderi Gander's cryptantha 2 32 BOR Cryptantha maritima Guadalupe cryptantha 5/1 1 33 BOR Pectocarya heterocarpa chuckwalla pectocarya 1 34 BOR Pectocarya platycarpa broad-fruited combseed 1 35 BOR Tiquilia palmeri Palmer's coldenia 50/9 5/1 2 36 BOR Tiquilia plicata plicate coldenia 10/1 50/9 37 BRA Brassica tournefortii *Asian mustard 99/9 50/9 30/9 1 38 BRA Dithyrea californica spectacle-pod 2 39 BRA Guillenia lasiophylla California mustard 20/1 40 BRA Lepidium lasiocarpum var. lasiocarpum hairy-podded pepper-grass 20/2 1 41 BRA Lyrocarpa coulteri var. palmeri Coulter's lyrepod 3 42 BRA Sisymbrium irio *London rocket 1 43 CAC Opuntia echinocarpa silver cholla 5/1 10/9 20/9 1 44 CAC Opuntia ramosissima pencil cholla 2/1 30/9 45 CAM Nemacladus glanduliferus glandular nemacladus 2/1 46 CAM Nemacladus glanduliferus var. glanduliferus glandular nemacladus 1 47 CAP Cleomella obtusifolia Mojave cleomella 2 48 CAR Achyronychia cooperi frost mat 1 49 CHE Atriplex canescens ssp. canescens four-wing saltbush 10/2 99/9 1 50 CHE Atriplex hymenelytra desert holly 5/1 99/9 99/9 3 51 CHE Atriplex polycarpa cattle saltbush 20/5 52 CHE Chenopodium murale *nettle-leaved goosefoot 2 53 CHE Monolepis nuttalliana Nuttall's poverty weed 1 54 EUP Chamaesyce polycarpa small-seeded spurge 10/1 5/1 40/9 1 55 EUP Croton californicus California croton 10/1 40/9 8 56 EUP Ditaxis lanceolata narrowleaf ditaxis 1 57 EUP Stillingia spinulosa annual stillingia 3 58 FAB Acacia greggii catclaw 20/9 59 FAB Astragalus crotalariae Salton milk-vetch 2 60 FAB Astragalus lentiginosus var. borreganus Borrego milk-vetch 2 61 FAB Cercidium floridum ssp. floridum blue palo verde 30/9 2 62 FAB Dalea mollis silky dalea 3 63 FAB Lupinus arizonicus Arizona lupine 3/3 2 64 FAB Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana honey mesquite 1 65 FAB Psorothamnus emoryi Emory's indigo-bush 30/3 5/1 66 FAB Psorothamnus schottii indigo bush 10/2 5/1 99/9 67 FAB Psorothamnus spinosus smoke tree 2/2 99/9 68 FOU Fouquieria splendens ssp. splendens ocotillo 20/9 30/9 2 69 GER Erodium texanum Texas filaree 1 70 HYD Eucrypta micrantha desert eucrypta 1 71 HYD Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua heliotrope phacelia 30/9 1 72 HYD Phacelia crenulata var. minutiflora little-flowered heliotrope phacelia 1 73 HYD Phacelia neglecta alkali phacelia 1 74 KRA Krameria erecta Pima rhatany 1 75 KRA Krameria grayi white rhatany 50/9 20/9 76 LAM Hyptis emoryi desert-lavender 10/5 1 77 LAM Salvia columbariae chia 1/1 78 LOA Mentzelia involucrata bracted blazing star 1/1 1 79 LOA Petalonyx thurberi ssp. thurberi Thurber's sandpaper-plant 10/1 30/9 80 MAL Eremalche rotundifolia desert five-spot 1 81 NYC Abronia villosa var. villosa hairy sand-verbena 9 82 NYC Allionia incarnata trailing four o'clock 1 83 NYC Boerhavia wrightii Wright's spiderling 1 84 NYC Mirabilis bigelovii var. bigelovii Bigelow's desert four-o'clock 1 85 ONA Camissonia boothii ssp. condensata Booth's desert primrose 20/9 5/1 2 86 ONA Camissonia californica California suncup 20/3 2 87 ONA Camissonia cardiophylla ssp. cardiophylla heartleaf sun-cup 1 88 ONA Camissonia claviformis ssp. peirsonii brown-eyed primrose 99/9 2 89 ONA Oenothera deltoides ssp. deltoides dune primrose 1/1 1 90 PAP Eschscholzia parishii Parish's poppy 1 91 PLA Plantago ovata desert plantain 5/1 1/1 1 92 POL Gilia latifolia broad-leaf gilia 1 93 POL Gilia stellata star gilia 1 94 POL Langloisia setosissima ssp. setosissima bristly langloisia 1 95 POL Chorizanthe brevicornu var. brevicornu brittle spineflower 10/1 1 96 POL Chorizanthe corrugata wrinkled spineflower 1 97 POL Chorizanthe rigida devil's spineflower 20/9 50/5 1 98 POL Eriogonum deflexum var. deflexum flat-topped buckwheat 20/9 1/1 1 99 POL Eriogonum inflatum desert trumpet 99/9 99/9 1 100 POL Eriogonum thomasii Thomas' buckwheat 10/9 101 POR Calandrinia ambigua desert red maids 1 102 RAF Pilostyles thurberi Thurber's pilostyles 10/3 3/1 1 103 RAN Clematis lasiantha virgin's bower 1 104 RES Oligomeris linifolia narrowleaf oligomeris 1 105 SOL Nicotiana obtusifolia desert tobacco 2 106 SOL Physalis crassifolia thick-leaved ground cherry 1 107 VIS Phoradendron californicum desert mistletoe 10/5 108 ZYG Larrea tridentata creosote bush 50/9 99/9 40/9 1 109 ZYG Tribulus terrestris *puncture-vine 1 110 LIL Hesperocallis undulata desert lily 4 111 POA Achnatherum hymenoides Indian ricegrass 4 112 POA Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens *red brome 1 113 POA Erioneuron pulchellum fluff grass 50/9 114 POA Pleuraphis rigida big galleta 5/3 99/9 30/9 1 115 POA Schismus barbatus *Mediterranean schismus 1
Copyright © 2007-2008 by Tom Chester
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Last update: 7 December 2008 (Font's corrected to Fonts on 14 December 2009; link to Family name abbreviations added 21 January 2010)