CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Ceanothus ophiochilus

Photographer:
Dylan Hannon

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Ceanothus ophiochilus


Family: 
Rhamnaceae  
Common Name: 
Vail Lake ceanothus
Author: 
Boyd, Ross, & Arnseth, sp. nov.
Growth Habit: 
Shrub
CPC Number: 
13671

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Photographer: Dylan Hannon
Image Owner: Personal

Ceanothus ophiochilusenlarge
Photographer: Michael Wall
Image Owner: Rancho Santa Ana


Ceanothus ophiochilus is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 

 
Ceanothus ophiochilus


This species was only recently discovered in 1989. This member of the buckthorn family has small, thick, narrow leaves and blue of lavender flowers. It is only found on 20 acres near Vail Lake in Riverside County, California and it grows near an ancient volcano cone on soil rich in pyroxenite. This soil is extremely unusual and no other Ceanothus lives in it. Unfortunately, at the time of its discovery the site was owned by a developer and is still threatened by the potential for development.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  California
State Range of  Ceanothus ophiochilus
Habitat
  Found on dry ridgetops and north to northeast facing slopes in chamise chaparral habitat. It occurs on shallow soils that were formed from phosphorus deficient material. (USFWS 1998)

Distribution
  Found in southwestern Riverside County, CA.

Number Left
  Found at three sites in Riverside county. One population contains 3,000 to 5,000 plants in privately owned land, and the other two exist on land managed by the Forest Service, and contain over 4,000 individuals total. (USFWS 1998)

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
3/19/2003
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LT
 
1/19/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
No
 

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  California  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Unlike other shrubs that occur in and around this species habitat, Ceanothus ophiochilus does not have the ability to resprout from its root crown after fires. Instead, it relies solely upon seeds stored in the soil to recover from fire.

Threats
  • Development threatens the largest known population
• Fire has the potential to eliminate or greatly set back this species--its true affects are as yet unknown
• Hybridization with a common species of Ceanothus is another potential threat
(CDFG 2002)

Current Research Summary
  The owner of the site has funded research by the county to determine how the use of fire could help or hurt the species. Also part of this research is a study to determine the risk of genetic swamping by hybridization with nearby common ceanothus species.

Current Management Summary
  Two of the three known populations are protected, but the third (which happens to be the largest and most genetically pure) occurs on land that has repeatedly been proposed for development. A number of agencies have attempted to purchase the land where this population occurs, but have been unsuccessful for the last decade (CDFG 2002)

Research Management Needs
  • Reproductive studies to determine the impact of fire.
• Field surveys to determine if there are any other areas with the same pyroxinite soils or if there are other populations of the species.

Ex Situ Needs
  • Isoenzyme analysis to measure gene flow between this species and its more common neighbors.
• Transplantation experiments to determine if this species can grow in any other soil types.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Reiser, C.H. 1994. Rare Plants of San Diego County. Imperial Beach, CA: Aquafir Press.

Skinner, M.W.; Pavlik, B.M. 1997. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California: Electronic Inventory Update of 1994, 5th edition. Sacramento: California Native Plant Society.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Books (Edited Volumes)

James C. Hickman, Editor. 1993 The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1400p.

Electronic Sources

CDFG. (2002). California's Plants and Animals, Threatened and Endangered Plants. List and Species Accounts. California Department of Fish and Game, Habitat Conservation Planning Branch. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/hcpb/species/t_e_spp/teplant/teplanta.shtml. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

USFWS. 1995. Proposed endangered and threatened status for four chaparral plants from southwestern California and northwestern Baja California, Mexico. Federal Register. 60, 190: 51443-51452.

USFWS. 1998. Endangered or threatened status for three plants from the chaparral and scrub of southwestern California. Federal Register. 63, 197: 54956-54971.

Newspaper Articles

Murkland, Pat. 1991 Wednesday, August 14. Botanists find new plant species. The Press-Enterprise; Inland Southern California. B. B-1 & B-8.

Reports

Dudek & Associates, Inc. 1999. Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) (Riverside County Integrated Plan (RCIP)) ôDraft Proposalö. Riverside, CA: County of Riverside Transportation and Land Management Agency. p.165. Draft Proposal.

KEA Environmental, Inc. 2001. Biological Resources Technical Report for the Valley Rainbow Interconnect. San Diego, CA: San Diego Gas & Electric Company.

Leslie, T.A. 1991. Sensitive Species of Vail Lake Specific Plan Area No. 275. Prepared by John Minch and Associates, Inc. in San Juan Capistrano, CA for California Fish and Game Commission in Sacramento, CA.

Shaffer, K. 1993. Status Report to the Fish and Game Commission on the status of Vail Lake ceanothus (Ceanothus ophiochilus). California Fish and Game Commision: Natural Heritage Division. Unpublished. Status Report #93-3.

Stephenson, John R.; Calcarone, Gena M. 1999. Southern California Mountains and Foothills Assessment: Habitat and Species Conservation Issues. Chapter 5 - Potentially Vulnerable Species: Plants. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. p.402. General Technical report PSW-GTR-172.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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