Plant Guide to Beach Trail / Broken Hill Trail Loop, Torrey Pines State Reserve
This is a working list, about which I make no guarantees at all until I officially release it. Use at your own risk!
Introduction and Explanation of Plant Trail Guides
Highlights of This Trail
Plant Communities and Floristics
Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time
Botanical Trip Reports
The Plant Guide
Comments On Specific Species
Most people would describe Torrey Pines State Reserve with a single word: charming. There is no place quite like it. The physical setting is dramatic. There are bold sandstone cliffs, with a variety of patterns from weathering. The sandstone grows beautiful and unusual plants that change from their normal habits away from the ocean to wind-pruned compact growth near the ocean. And some of those plants are trees! Pine trees, no less, of a species found no place on Earth except here and on Santa Rosa Island!
The ocean makes the tableau complete. It is always there, providing its endless vistas to the west if the air is clear. More than anything else, the ocean sets and changes the mood of Torrey Pines. Under a beautiful clear blue sky, the ocean can be gentle and peaceful, with beautiful lines of breaking waves that splash across sandy beaches. Or it can show its force, if winter storms have made large waves, which crash against sturdy rock formations. Or the skies can be gray, the air heavy with fog, blanketing Torrey Pines Reserve from the traffic and other human sounds, making the visitor's world only reach to the nearest plants.
Most of Southern California is igneous rock, so it is a delight to come across the sedimentary rocks here. Instead of granitic soil, the plants here grow in sandy soil. That, and the extreme coastal environment, changes even old friends to almost unrecognizable forms.
But the main appeal to botanists are the rare plants. Jane Strong and I have 73 trails in our database as of 7 February 2004; not a single other trail even comes close to approaching the number of rare and uncommon species found in the trails of Torrey Pines.
The large number of uncommon plants here is probably due to several reasons. First is probably that fact that this location has more in common with Baja California than with the rest of Southern California. The rainfall here is the lowest in cismontane California - only ten inches per year. That low rainfall, coupled with sandy soil that doesn't hold moisture, makes this coastal location more like the desert than any other coastal location in Southern California. For example, one of the uncommon plants found here is listed in the Jepson Manual as being only found in the desert!
The second reason for the large number of uncommon plants is the shameful fact that humans have destroyed 90% of the natural environment along the coast. Out of ~60 miles of coastline in San Diego County south of Camp Pendleton, only the ~4 miles of Torrey Pines and ~2 miles of Cabrillo National Monument remain in a semblance of their natural state.
A biological rule of thumb is that if you destroy 90% of any given habitat, you extirpate half of all the species found in that habitat. Thus we have irrevocably lost half of all the species formerly found in this coastal environment within ~one mile from the beach; these lost species no longer exist at Torrey Pines or anywhere else along the coast. And of course, we've therefore made the remaining species uncommon.
Worse, we have put these remaining species at a much higher risk of extirpation. Previously, with 100% of their habitat intact, if a disturbance extirpated a species in 10% of that habitat, the species could easily recover by spreading from the remaining 90% of that habitat. Now, with only 10% of their habitat intact, any such disturbance extirpates the species forever.
Most visitors are blissfully unaware of this somber story told by the plants at Torrey Pines, and hence can enjoy a visit untarnished with this sad reality. Knowledgeable botanists will treasure their visits to Torrey Pines, too, but their hearts will hold a tinge of sadness in what we humans have done to the plants and animals of this coastal environment.
Directions to Torrey Pines State Reserve:
From the north: Take I-5 south to Del Mar Heights Road, exit #34, which is the next exit after the Via De La Valle / Del Mar Fair / Del Mar Racetrack exit. Turn right, west, on Del Mar Heights Road, take it past the shopping center at the top of the hill, and go down the hill to ~two blocks from the ocean, to the stop light at Camino Del Mar, S21. Turn left on Camino Del Mar (there are two left turn lanes). You'll quickly see the beach, with lots of people parking alongside the road, near the next stoplight at Carmel Valley Road. Continue straight; S21 now changes its name to North Torrey Pines Road, and follow the rest of the directions below.
From the south: Take I-5 north to the Carmel Valley Road exit, Exit #33. Turn left on Carmel Valley Road and take it~1.5 miles to its end at North Torrey Pines Road / Camino Del Mar. Turn left on North Torrey Pines Road, and follow the rest of the directions below.
The rest of the directions: Now, the only tricky part. Immediately past the lagoon bridge, STAY RIGHT (which means you'll actually continue straight ahead)! Almost everyone will curve left as North Torrey Pines Road goes uphill and goes around the east side of Torrey Pines State Reserve. Instead, you "exit" from North Torrey Pines Road by going straight (maybe a bit to the right) into the Torrey Pines State Reserve entrance at the lower parking lot. In a very short distance will be the kiosk where you pay the parking fee.
Immediately after the kiosk and the end of the parking lot, the road turns left and goes uphill. Drive very slowly and carefully on this road, since it is full of bikers and hikers entering or leaving Torrey Pines on foot. Immediately after the first switchback (to the right) is the parking area on the right for the Guy Fleming Trail.
Continue on the Torrey Pines main road to the stop sign at the Visitor Center Parking Lot. Weave through the parking lot to its exit back at the main Torrey Pines Road. Cross the road to the parking lot on the other side of the main road. The signed trailhead for the Beach Trail is immediately next to the bathrooms at the far end of the parking lot.
See Thomas Brothers Map, 1207.
Parts of this trail are shown in the wonderful coastal photographs of Kenneth Adelman. The beach part of this trail is shown in this photograph. Clicking on that photograph gives a 7 MB full-resolution version that clearly shows the steps on the trails and the wire fence lining the edge of the trail. In the full-resolution picture, you can clearly see the junction with the Broken Hill Trail at mile 0.65. (Previous portions of the trail are hard to see. The final loop of the Yucca Point trail is shown in the second photograph to the north.) The trail just beyond that part is obscured by the cliffs, but the exposed section at mile 0.67 is seen coming out of the heavily-shadowed area in middle left. The trail near the base of the cliffs is in the middle of the photograph, and the final steps to the beach at mile 0.74 is seen just right of the middle. Flat Rock is at the end of the point immediately to the right.
The steps at the bottom of the Broken Hill Trail show clearly in the full-resolution photograph, and the bottom loop of the Trail is visible, as well as the portion beyond it.
Highlights of This Trail
The botanical highlights of this trail are:
Plant Communities and Floristics
This section is not updated every time the guide is updated. Last update for this section: 27 February 2004. (Only the histogram in the Number of Unique Taxa On This Trail is always updated each time the guide is updated.)
This trail goes through vegetation that could be claimed by a number of plant communities as described, e.g., in Beauchamp (1986). These include:
- Maritime Succulent Shrub (Beauchamp says best developed at Torrey Pines and Point Loma; includes the Ferocactus viridescens, Encelia californica, Opuntia littoralis, Dudleya spp.);
- Inland Sage Scrub (Artemisia californica, Eriogonum fasciculatum, Baccharis sarothroides, Eriophyllum confertiflorum, Hazardia squarrosa);
- Chamise Chaparral (Adenostoma fasciculatum, Xylococcus bicolor, Salvia clevelandii, Salvia mellifera, Cneoridium dumosum);
- Mixed Chaparral (Ceanothus verrucosus, Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. crassifolia, Cercocarpus minutiflorus, Quercus dumosa, Adenostoma fasciculatum); and
- Torrey Pine Woodland (Pinus torreyana).
The plants in the parentheses are the typical members of each community as given in Beauchamp that are present on this trail. You can see that these concepts of plant communities don't fit this area very well!
The older version of the San Diego County Vegetation Map from Tom Oberbauer, in Beauchamp (1986), plots this area mostly as Coniferous Forest, with a bit of Mixed Chaparral.
The Trail plant list contains 121 taxa, of which 116 have so far been identified, in 2.09 unique miles of trail. Of these 116 taxa, 18 (15%) are non-native.
I have plotted these numbers against the other trails in my database. The plots show:
- For its elevation, the percentage of native taxa is surprisingly high compared to the other trails in our database. This is most likely due to either the relative pristineness of this area or the low, almost desert-like rainfall here. However, the incompleteness of this trail guide so far could also be a factor. The subnormal rainfall in the years I've surveyed this trail might not have germinated all the non-native annuals.
- The number of native taxa is about that expected from our other trails.
Lifeform Native Non-native Total Taxa Trees 1 0 1 Shrubs 38 0 38 Pteridophytes 3 0 3 Perennial Herbs 31 2 33 Perennial Grasses 5 0 5 Annual Grasses 0 9 9 Annual Herbs 20 7 27 Total 98 18 116
Lifeform Native Non-native Total Taxa Trees 1% 0% 1% Shrubs 39% 0% 33% Pteridophytes 3% 0% 3% Perennial Herbs 32% 11% 28% Perennial Grasses 5% 0% 4% Annual Grasses 0% 50% 8% Annual Herbs 20% 39% 23% Total 100% 100% 100%
Number of Unique Taxa On This Trail
The following histogram gives the number of trails in my database that contain each taxon on this trail. I had 87 trails in my database when this histogram was made; 2 of those trails, including this one, are at Torrey Pines. A number of "1" means the taxon has only been found on this trail among the trails in my database; numbers of "2" or smaller may indicate taxa found only at Torrey Pines.
Number of Trails
Containing A Taxon
Number Of Taxa
On This Trail
% of Taxa
On This Trail
1 7 5% 2 15 11% 3 7 5% 4 6 4% 5 6 4% 1-5 41 30% 6-10 19 14% 11-15 24 17% 16-20 13 9% 21-25 10 7% 26-30 6 4% 31-35 5 4% 36-40 10 7% 41-45 6 4% 46-50 4 3% Total Taxa 138 100%
I found 9 additional species not in the above table, since they have not been fully identified yet. The unidentified ones are marked with ? or sp in the id? column in the guide, and have no entries in the #all column.
The taxa that are truly unique, or almost unique, to this trail or area, out of the 73 trails in my database on 7 February 2004, are:
#all Latin Name Common Name Distribution in Southern California / Distribution in Trail Guides 1 Navarretia hamata ssp. leptantha hooked skunkweed SCo, ChI. This is the only trail in my database for this subspecies; I have three occurrences of ssp. hamata on other trails. 1 Lycium californicum California box-thorn Coastal bluffs, coastal-sage scrub; < 150 m. s SCo, ChI; Baja CA. 1 Amblyopappus pusillus coast weed Coastal dunes, beaches, headlands; < 50 m. SCo, ChI; Baja CA. 1 Opuntia oricola tall coast prickly pear SCo, ChI, WTR, w PR; Baja CA. 1 Selaginella cinerascens ashy spike-moss Uncommon. < 300 m. s SCo (San Diego County); Baja CA. 1 Chorizanthe staticoides Turkish rugging SW (except e PR); common. Some call the plants here ssp. chrysacantha, which is RARE. 1 Chorizanthe polygonoides var. longispina long-spined spineflower PR; n Baja CA. 2 Pinus torreyana Torrey pine RARE. Only found here and on Santa Rosa Island. 2 Quercus dumosa coast scrub oak RARE. SCo; Baja CA. 2 Opuntia Xoccidentalis western prickly pear SCo, w edge PR. 2 Cardionema ramosissimum sandmat Sandy beaches and hills, dunes, bluffs; < 150 m. SCo to WA, Mex, also in Chile. 2 Ferocactus viridescens San Diego barrel cactus UNCOMMON. SCo (San Diego County); Baja CA. 2 Chaenactis glabriuscula var. orcuttiana Orcutt's yellow pincushion Coastal dunes, bluffs; < 100 m. SCo; nw Baja CA. 2 Opuntia prolifera coast cholla Ocean bluffs, inland coastal scrub; < 300 m. SCo, ChI; Baja CA, Guadalupe Island. 2 Abronia umbellata ssp. umbellata pink sand verbena SCo; Baja CA. 2 Camissonia cheiranthifolia ssp. suffruticosa shrubby beach-primrose SCo; Baja CA. 2 Atriplex californica California saltbush Sandy soils, coastal dunes, shrubland, salt marshes; < 50 m. SCo, ChI; Baja CA; elsewhere. 2 Matthiola incana *stock Sandy areas, beaches, ocean bluffs; < 100 m. SCo; Mex. 2 Dichondra occidentalis western dichondra UNCOMMON. SCo, s ChI; Baja CA. 2 Delphinium parryi ssp. maritimum blue larkspur coastal chaparral; 0-300 m. SCo, ChI; n Baja CA. I have five occurrences of ssp. parryi on other trails. 3 Astragalus trichopodus var. lonchus coast locoweed Coastal bluffs, fields; < 300 m. SCo, n ChI; Baja CA. Found here and at Cabrillo National Monument. 3 Ceanothus verrucosus wartystem ceanothus RARE in CA. s SCO (San Diego County); n Baja CA. Found here and at Cabrillo National Monument. 3 Cneoridium dumosum bushrue s SCo, San Clemente Island; Baja CA. Found here and at Cabrillo National Monument. 3 Coreopsis maritima sea dahlia RARE in CA. s SCo (San Diego County); Baja CA. Found here and at San Elijo Lagoon.
Fieldwork Dates and Summary of List Changes With Time
The following table gives the dates the trail was walked and taxa recorded. After each visit, the table gives the total number of taxa on the list and the breakdown of the taxa without positive identification. See Explanation of Plant Trail Guides to understand the symbols below.
Visit Date Visit # # taxa # "?" # "sp" # "~" # "ssp" 7/9/2002 1 56 13 0 6 1 7/15/2002 2 69 10 1 8 3 6/18/2003 3 108 2 5 5 2 11/29/2003 4 112 2 3 5 1 2/5/2004 5 121 3 3 7 1 3/18/2004 6 130 2 3 4 1 1/5/2005 7 147 3 7 9 1
On 7/9/02, only the Beach Trail portion of the loop was covered.
The winter of 2001-2002 was a severe drought year, which is undoubtedly at least partly responsible for the low number of taxa recorded in summer 2002.
I thank James Dillane for help with the 11/29/03 fieldwork; in particular, finding specimens of Rhamnus crocea, Lepidium sp., Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. crassifolia, Salvia clevelandii and Selaginella cinerascens; the identifications of Lycium californicum and Opuntia prolifera for plants without flowers or fruit; and noting several interesting features of the trail such as the concretions and woodrat's nests.
I thank Jane Strong for help with the 2/5/04 fieldwork, for helping to find and identify new species on the trail, and Michael Charters for finding the Palmer's grapplinghook, Harpagonella palmeri, on 4/11/04.
Botanical Trip Reports
5 February 2004
18 February 2004
5 January 2005
The Plant Guide
Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page (7 pages)
Mile S # id? Common Name Latin Name #here #all 0.00 Start of trail at bathrooms at parking lot; elevation ~345 feet (105 m). Sign: "Razor Point 0.6 mile; Flat Rock 0.8 mile; Mussel Rock 1.2 mile" 0.00 l 1 California buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum+ 30 / 3 46 0.00 l 2 chamise Adenostoma fasciculatum 99 / 9 35 0.00 l 3 (baby) coyote bush Baccharis pilularis+ 20 / 9 23 0.00 l 4 ~ coast locoweed Astragalus trichopodus var. lonchus 20 / 5 3 0.00 b 5 *rabbits-foot grass Polypogon monspeliensis 5 / 1 15 0.00 l 6 *red brome Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens 99 / 9 44 0.00 l 7 *rattail fescue Vulpia myuros var. myuros / 11 0.00 l 8 *purple false-brome Brachypodium distachyon / 5 0.00 l 9 *Australian brass-buttons Cotula australis 10 / 1 14 0.00 r 10 Torrey pine Pinus torreyana 10 / 9 2 0.00 11 horseweed Conyza canadensis / 27 0.01 End sidewalk on side of bathrooms 0.01 l 12 bicolored everlasting Gnaphalium bicolor 3 / 3 27 0.01 l 13 lemonade berry Rhus integrifolia 99 / 9 12 0.01 l 14 broom baccharis Baccharis sarothroides 50 / 9 7 0.01 l (adult) coyote bush Baccharis pilularis / 0.01 r 15 *scarlet pimpernel Anagallis arvensis 99 / 9 22 0.01 r 16 saltgrass Distichlis spicata 20 / 5 14 0.01 r 17 *redstem filaree Erodium cicutarium 99 / 9 48 0.01 r 18 popcorn flower Cryptantha intermedia 99 / 9 22 0.01 b 19 everlasting nest-straw Stylocline gnaphaloides 50 / 5 7 0.01 r Check if the baby Gnaphalium here turns out to be different from G. bicolor. 0.01 r 20 *tocalote Centaurea melitensis 50 / 5 41 0.01 r 21 hooked skunkweed Navarretia hamata ssp. leptantha 99 / 9 1 0.01 b 22 slender tarweed Hemizonia fasciculata 99 / 9 11 0.01 l 23 coast scrub oak Quercus dumosa 99 / 9 2 0.01 l 24 giant needlegrass Achnatherum coronatum 20 / 9 21 0.01 b 25 golden yarrow Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum 50 / 9 50 0.01 l 26 black sage Salvia mellifera 30 / 9 37 0.01 r 27 deerweed Lotus scoparius var. scoparius 30 / 9 22 0.02 r 28 wartystem ceanothus Ceanothus verrucosus 50 / 9 3 0.02 b 29 foothill needlegrass Nassella lepida 99 / 9 18 0.02 l 30 climbing bedstraw Galium nuttallii ssp. nuttallii 10 / 9 28 0.02 l 31 ~ wild celery Apiastrum angustifolium / 10 0.02 l 32 California sagebrush Artemisia californica 30 / 9 42 0.02 l 33 bushrue Cneoridium dumosum 99 / 9 3 0.02 l 34 ssp purple snapdragon Antirrhinum nuttallianum ssp. nuttallianum / 12 0.02 b 35 lanceleaf dudleya Dudleya lanceolata 99 / 9 19 0.02 r (San Diego barrel cactus, Ferocactus viridescens, sometimes visible) 0.03 r Jct. other entrance to trail; continue forward 0.03 r First large coast scrub oak, Quercus dumosa. 0.03 l (Check for woolly marbles in the season wet area here.) 0.03 b 36 thick-leaved yerba santa Eriodictyon crassifolium var. crassifolium 50 / 7 6 0.04 r 37 saw-toothed goldenbush Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides 20 / 9 32 0.04 r 38 bush monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus 5 / 3 39 0.04 l Sign: "Foot traffic only" 0.04 l 39 California-aster Lessingia filaginifolia var. filaginifolia+ 30 / 9 50 0.04 l 40 coast prickly-pear Opuntia littoralis 5 / 5 7 0.04 r 41 ~ western prickly-pear Opuntia occidentalis 5 / 5 2 0.05 Trail turns right 90°. 0.05 l Check for Gnaphalium canescens here and 5 other places on trail, seen in 2002 but not in 2004. 0.05 l 42 wild-cucumber Marah macrocarpus var. macrocarpus 10 / 9 40 0.05 43 ~ south coast branching phacelia Phacelia ramosissima var. austrolitoralis / 3 0.07 l 44 sandmat Cardionema ramosissimum 40 / 9 2 0.07 r 45 rush-rose Helianthemum scoparium 50 / 9 10 0.08 l 46 sp suncup Camissonia sp.+ / 0.08 r 47 *Mediterranean schismus Schismus barbatus / 15 0.08 r 48 San Diego wreathplant Stephanomeria diegensis+ 50 / 9 18 0.09 l 49 narrowleaf bedstraw Galium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium 10 / 9 41 0.09 l Sign: "Area closed for plant rehabilitation". 0.09 r Jct. Razor Point Trail; stay left 0.09 l 50 canchalagua Centaurium venustum 1 / 1 5 0.09 b 51 *slender wild oats Avena barbata / 25 0.09 l 52 six-weeks fescue Vulpia octoflora var. octoflora 5 / 1 2 0.09 l Check for new species like small annual everlasting 0.09 l 53 seashore bentgrass Agrostis pallens 99 / 9 5 0.11 r 54 chaparral bush mallow Malacothamnus fasciculatus 1 / 1 13 0.11 Trail turns 90 degrees to left 0.11 b 55 Parish's purple nightshade Solanum parishii 20 / 9 16 0.11 l 56 mission manzanita Xylococcus bicolor 50 / 9 12 0.11 r 57 yellow mariposa lily Calochortus weedii var. weedii 20 / 9 7 0.13 l 58 triangular-fruit sedge Carex triquetra / 13 0.13 r (A toyon ~20 feet high and ~40 feet wide) 0.13 r A mission manzanita "tree", Xylococcus bicolor. 0.14 Trail turns 90 degrees to right; the skunk odor of hooked skunkweed, Navarretia hamata ssp. leptantha, is strong here. 0.15 r First good specimen of western prickly pear, Opuntia Xoccidentalis. 0.15 r (Mohave yucca, Yucca schidigera) 0.16 r southern suncup Camissonia bistorta+ / 10 0.16 r 59 southern Indian pink Silene laciniata ssp. major / 15 0.17 l Jct. sandy area that looks like the beginning of a trail, but which is not. 0.17 r Another trail comes in at 300 degrees. 0.17 r 60 bristly bird's beak Cordylanthus rigidus ssp. setigerus 20 / 9 25 0.18 r (shiny lomatium, Lomatium lucidum) 0.18 l 61 small-flowered soap plant Chlorogalum parviflorum 40 / 9 5 0.18 l 62 southern honeysuckle Lonicera subspicata var. denudata 2 / 2 38 0.19 l 63 *smooth cat's ear Hypochaeris glabra / 27 0.19 r Jct. connector trail to Razor Point Trail on right; go left; Sign: "Red Butte [to right]", "Razor Point 1/4 mile [to right]; Beach Trail 1/2 mile to Flat Rock [to left]" 0.19 l 64 three spot Osmadenia tenella / 7 0.19 l 65 coastal goldenbush Isocoma menziesii+ 30 / 9 13 0.19 l San Diego wreathplant (glandular form) Stephanomeria diegensis+ / 0.20 r 66 San Diego morning-glory Calystegia macrostegia ssp. tenuifolia 3 / 3 17 0.20 r 67 ladies fingers Dudleya edulis 99 / 9 7 0.20 68 sp different suncup Camissonia sp. / 0.21 Begin S-shaped switchback 0.22 l 69 chaparral yucca Yucca whipplei 3 / 3 27 l 70 *nit grass Gastridium ventricosum / 19 0.23 End S-shaped switchback. Plants have now become very flattened due to winds off the ocean. 0.24 r 71 California four o'clock Mirabilis californica 20 / 9 18 0.24 r (Check for different species like Lomatium dasycarpum) 0.24 r 72 western dichondra Dichondra occidentalis 99 / 9 2 0.25 r (Check for box-thorn, Lycium californicum.) 0.25 r 73 sp clarkia? Clarkia sp.? / 0.25 l (sea dahlia, Coreopsis maritima) 0.25 Switchback right. 0.27 Six steps, then switchback left. 0.27 l (coast Indian paintbrush, Castilleja affinis ssp. affinis) 0.28 b 74 splendid mariposa lily Calochortus splendens / 11 0.28 r 75 blue dicks Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum / 40 0.28 r 76 silver puffs Uropappus lindleyi / 19 0.29 r 77 *Crete weed Hedypnois cretica / 16 0.30 l 78 bladderpod Isomeris arborea 10 / 9 7 0.30 b 79 toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia 40 / 9 42 0.31 l 80 ~ California chicory Rafinesquia californica / 19 0.31 b 81 sea dahlia Coreopsis maritima 50 / 9 4 0.31 l 82 common bedstraw Galium aparine 10 / 1 36 0.32 r 83 coast Indian paintbrush Castilleja affinis ssp. affinis 10 / 5 3 0.32 l 84 sp annual phacelia Phacelia sp. / 0.32 l First location of San Diego barrel cactus, Ferocactus viridescens, in 2002; gone in 2004. 0.32 r 85 California poppy Eschscholzia californica 30 / 3 24 0.32 r 86 California encelia Encelia californica 20 / 5 12 0.32 r Definite wild celery, Apiastrum angustifolium, here. 0.32 Bench without back l 87 Palmer's grapplinghook Harpagonella palmeri / 1 0.33 90 degree curve to right 0.34 r 88 San Diego barrel cactus Ferocactus viridescens 30 / 9 2 0.34 r 89 *creeping Australian saltbush Atriplex semibaccata 20 / 9 10 0.35 r 90 sp sow thistle Sonchus oleraceus? / 0.35 r 91 *Russian thistle Salsola tragus 20 / 3 25 0.36 r 92 *narrowleaf filago Filago gallica / 40 0.36 r 93 blue-eyed grass Sisyrinchium bellum 30 / 2 18 0.36 r 94 warty spurge Euphorbia spathulata / 4 0.37 Switchback left. 0.37 r 95 *crystalline ice plant Mesembryanthemum crystallinum 20 / 9 5 0.44 b 96 nodding needlegrass Nassella cernua 30 / 5 11 0.44 r Jct. Yucca Point / Razor Point Trail; continue straight ahead 0.44 r Bench without back 0.45 16 steps down, then 90 degrees right, then one more step. 0.47 Small S-shaped switchback to left 0.48 l 97 California box-thorn Lycium californicum 50 / 9 1 0.50 l View of sandstone arch down drainage. 0.51 r 98 California dodder Cuscuta californica var. californica 2 / 2 14 0.51 Switchback left; cross 8 wood plank bridge over drainage 0.53 17 steps down plus step over waterbar just past the end. 0.54 r 99 Orcutt's yellow pincushion Chaenactis glabriuscula var. orcuttiana 30 / 5 2 0.54 r 100 coast cholla Opuntia prolifera 30 / 9 3 0.55 b 101 California groundsel Senecio californicus 20 / 2 2 0.56 l 102 *prickly sow thistle Sonchus asper ssp. asper 2 / 1 19 0.58 l 103 virgin's bower Clematis pauciflora 1 / 1 9 0.59 l 104 pink sand verbena Abronia umbellata ssp. umbellata 30 / 9 2 0.59 l 105 Robinson's pepper-grass Lepidium virginicum var. robinsonii 10 / 2 5 0.59 Wood plank bridge over drainage 0.62 l 106 giant wild-rye Leymus condensatus 5 / 2 28 0.62 r 107 San Diego birdsfoot lotus Lotus hamatus 20 / 1 15 0.62 r 108 shrubby beach-primrose Camissonia cheiranthifolia ssp. suffruticosa 30 / 9 2 0.63 r 109 threadstem Pterostegia drymarioides 20 / 2 20 0.64 r 110 *soft chess Bromus hordeaceus / 36 0.65 Jct. Broken Hill Trail (the stairs going up ahead); go right down wooden staircase and enter sandstone cliffs 0.65 b 111 sea-cliff buckwheat Eriogonum parvifolium 20 / 3 4 0.65 l 112 California saltbush Atriplex californica 10 / 3 2 0.66 l 113 *common groundsel Senecio vulgaris 10 / 1 13 0.66 Trail turns left 90° 0.67 Trail is now exposed for the short remaining way - watch your footing! 0.74 Beach Trail ends at wooden staircase to beach, elevation 0 feet (0 m); go back up trail to the Broken Hill Trail. 0.83 r Jct. Broken Hill Trail at top of lower wooden staircase; go right and take it. 0.83 l 114 sp fiesta flower Pholistoma sp. / 0.83 r 115 *ripgut brome Bromus diandrus 10 / 1 44 0.83 b (California polypody, Polypodium californicum) Check for iceplant, Carpobrotus sp.; check later on trail for occurrence of polypody on trail. 0.83 Go up 15 step staircase 0.83 r 116 coast weed Amblyopappus pusillus 10 / 1 1 0.84 l Field of coast cholla, Opuntia prolifera. 0.85 l 117 *California burclover Medicago polymorpha 20 / 1 37 0.88 12 step staircase with a 90° left turn. 0.88 r 118 *stock Matthiola incana 1 / 1 2 0.89 (tall coast prickly-pear, Opuntia oricola, dead ahead on ridgetop.) 0.89 11 step staircase of railroad ties. 0.89 l 119 *foxtail barley Hordeum murinum ssp. glaucum+ / 9 0.92 r Bench without a back. 0.95 r 120 ? small-flowered melica? Melica imperfecta? 1 / 1 0.96 l 121 fuchsia-flowered gooseberry Ribes speciosum 1 / 1 6 0.97 122 tall coast prickly-pear Opuntia oricola 5 / 2 2 0.97 r 123 graceful bedstraw Galium porrigens var. porrigens 1 / 1 3 1.00 Curve left, then switchback right. 1.01 Switchback left. 1.02 S-curve 1.02 r 124 ~ eucrypta Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia var. chrysanthemifolia 2 / 1 22 1.04 Switchback right. 1.06 Switchback left. 1.09 Switchback right. 1.10 b Acres of lemonade berry, Rhus integrifolia. 1.11 Switchback left. 1.11 r Bench without a back. 1.12 Switchback right. 1.13 l 125 ~ California filago Filago californica / 14 1.15 Switchback left. 1.17 r 126 silverback fern Pentagramma triangularis ssp. viscosa 10 / 2 4 1.17 r 127 ashy spike-moss Selaginella cinerascens 10 / 5 1 1.17 r (Mohave yucca, Yucca schidigera) 1.17 b 128 coast jepsonia Jepsonia parryi 10 / 2 15 1.17 r 129 pygmy-weed Crassula connata 50 / 3 14 1.17 r 130 sp purple sanicle? Sanicula bipinnatifida?+ 10 / 1 1.17 r 131 shooting star Dodecatheon clevelandii ssp. clevelandii 5 / 1 10 r (California everlasting, Gnaphalium californicum) 1.18 r Sign: "Stay on Trail CCR46011(d)" at jct. with an illegal shortcut trail. 1.19 r 132 ~ narrow-leaved miner's lettuce Claytonia parviflora ssp. parviflora 5 / 1 15 1.20 Switchback right. 1.20 l 133 ~ *annual veldt grass Ehrharta longiflora+ 30 / 2 2 1.20 Another sign at other end of illegal shortcut trail. 1.22 Switchback left. 1.26 Enter field of old chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum, plants that are only 3-5 foot high. These plants have leaves only 2-3 mm long, and have been called var. obtusifolium. 1.29 Turn right 90°. 1.32 r (Mohave yucca, Yucca schidigera) 1.33 r 134 shiny lomatium Lomatium lucidum 10 / 4 6 1.34 l 135 leafy daisy Erigeron foliosus var. foliosus 3 / 1 34 1.35 r Rock concretions on top of the sandstone, a remnant from Ice Age Torrey Pines. 1.36 Plants getting larger now, away from the strong sea breeze 1.37 b 136 ? unk young plant - white star-lily? Zigadenus fremontii? 10 / 1 1.39 Four 90° turns in trail. 1.40 Y-jct; go left on "North Fork". 1.41 r 137 laurel sumac Malosma laurina 1 / 1 38 1.42 Trail turns right 90° 1.42 l 138 Turkish rugging Chorizanthe staticoides 10 / 2 1 1.43 Trail turns left 90° 1.45 b 139 redberry Rhamnus crocea 5 / 5 15 1.45 r 140 San Diego mountain mahogany Cercocarpus minutiflorus 10 / 4 10 1.46 Trail turns left 90° 1.47 Trail turns right 90° enter a small patch that hasn't been burned for a long time, containing 10 foot mission manzanita trees, Xylococcus bicolor, 12 foot San Diego mountain mahogany trees, Cercocarpus minutiflorus, 10 foot chamise trees, Adenostoma fasciculatum, 7 foot saw-toothed goldenbush, Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides, and very old woodrat's nests. 1.48 r A "skyscraper" woodrat's nest. 1.51 r Oak moss lichen, Evernia prunastri, is the interesting foliose (leaf-like) lichen growing on the shrubs. 1.52 Climb six spaced-out steps 1.53 r 141 ? unk baby annual with lvs like small beeplant 1.54 Enter another forest of 3-6 foot tall chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum. 1.57 Rock concretions now on trail 1.60 l 142 Mohave yucca Yucca schidigera 2 / 1 6 1.63 Cross an old road with another old road intersecting it, with zillions of concretions. 1.64 r Check for vernal pool Plagiobothrys. 1.72 r The line of trees marks the edge of the golf course. 1.73 Cross an old road / drainage. 1.73 r 143 long-spined spineflower Chorizanthe polygonoides var. longispina 10 / 1 1 1.75 Cross another old road / drainage. 1.78 T-Jct. with "Hiking and Biking Roadway", old US101, elevation 370 feet (113 m); go left on it. 1.78 r 144 western ragweed Ambrosia psilostachya 10 / 3 32 1.79 r 145 telegraph weed Heterotheca grandiflora 20 / 3 31 1.84 l 146 woolly Indian paintbrush Castilleja foliolosa 3 / 1 4 1.90 r Jct. road (to maintenance shed?) 1.97 l (Del Mar manzanita, Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. crassifolia) 2.07 l Jct. road to parking lot / trailhead; take it; nice smell here is from the next species. 2.08 l 147 Cleveland sage Salvia clevelandii 3 / 1 4 2.09 l Trailhead; end guide.
Comments On Specific Species
Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum. This California buckwheat is 8 feet tall, growing up and over a chamise. Note that people using Beauchamp's key would call this var. fasciculatum, from the leaves that are ~glabrous above, whereas in the JM classification used here, it is var. foliolosum, due to the puberulent involucre and outer perianth. Indeed, the Reserve plant list gives this as var. fasciculatum. See Comments on the Jepson Manual and A Flora of Southern California by Munz.
Baccharis pilularis and B. sarothroides. These two species seem to be completely intermingled on this trail, without evidence of hybridization, with specimens from each species often found side by side, as at mile 0.00-0.01 and mile 1.39.
Lessingia filaginifolia var. filaginifolia. The Jepson Manual combined two taxa that are found at Torrey Pines, Corethrogyne filaginifolia varieties linifolia and virgata. The editors at the Jepson Online Interchange have restored the Corethrogyne treatment, but have still dispensed with the varieties.
Because the var. linifolia is strikingly different from the usual var. seen in Southern California, var. virgata, I attempted to note which of the varieties is found on this trail. However, when I attempted to use the key in Munz to key a plant to variety, it turned out to have characteristics of both varieties. Perhaps this is why the Jepson Manual dispensed with the varieties!
Camissonia bistorta. The first Camissonia sp. may also be this id, so this occurrence is not counted as a new taxon unless the first one turns out to be a different species.
Stephanomeria diegensis. All of the Stephanomeria plants on this trail are this species, which has a much wider range for several characteristics than given in the JM. In particular, there are two major forms. A non-glandular form is found near the trailhead, both in the beginning 0.18 mile of the trail and the ending 0.31 mile (mile 1.78 to 2.09), which are adjacent areas since this is a loop trail. A glandular form is found beginning at mile 0.19 and extending to nearly the bottom of the Beach Trail. See Stephanomeria diegensis.
Hordeum murinum ssp. glaucum. These specimens very clearly key out to this subspecies in Munz, with 6.7 (set of 3) spikelets per cm of rachis, and the lemma awn is distinctly less than the lateral awns. However, the central spikelet (8.2 mm long) is also significantly less than the lateral spikelets (12.6 mm long), which would be ssp. leporinum in the Jepson Manual. However, note the Jepson Manual illustration also shows this same relationship, in contradiction to the Jepson Manual key.
Isocoma menziesii. In my experience, the subspecies are not separable in Southern California. See Comments on the Jepson Manual and A Flora of Southern California by Munz: Isocoma menziesii.
Sanicula bipinnatifida?. The plants in early 2004 appeared to have the leaves of this taxon, but had yellow flowers, unlike the purple flowers I've seen elsewhere in Southern California. However, this taxon can have yellow flowers, so the identification just needs a reconfirmation from the leaves.
Ehrharta longiflora. Eradication of this noxious weed is being attempted, so the plants may be dying from herbicide treatment, or, better, gone from this location in the future.
Concretions. The "pebbles" on the ground here, called "ball-bearings" by hikers who slip on them on the trail, are concretions in the sandstone. These concretions formed in the top of the Linda Vista Formation relatively recently, long after the Formation was laid down. The concretions probably were made in the wet periods of the ice ages from the usual soil-forming processes. They formed in place in groundwater when some nucleus in the sandstone, perhaps a small shell or root node, attracted iron ions. The Ice Age groundwater was made acidic from the Torrey Pines leaf litter, which aids the migration of ions. The iron ions then precipitated to cement the concretion.
So in some sense, these concretions are reminders from the much more extensive Torrey Pine population which lived during one of the past Ice Ages.
Copyright © 2002-2005 by Tom Chester.
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Updated 9 January 2005.