Plant Species of the Borrego Desert: Endemic Species

There are 11 species which live only in the ABDSP area or nearby, plus a 12th taxon (Lepidium flavum var. felipense) if it is accepted as distinct. Such species are called endemics or near endemics, and are always fascinating to people since humans love rare things. If you want to see these endemic species, you can see them only here or closeby.

Table 1 lists these taxa in alphabetical order of their scientific name as given in the Jepson Manual second edition (JM2), or by their later scientific name if they were not in the JM2. The geographic range given is first the one in the JM2, expanded with notes.

See Information about the links from the Scientific Name and Common Name.

Table 1. Species Endemic or Near-Endemic to ABDSP

#FamScientific NameCommon NameGeographic Range
1FabacAcmispon haydoniipygmy lotusse PR, sw DSon, Baja CA.
2AsterChaenactis carphoclinia var. peirsoniiPeirson's pincushione PR (e SnRsMtns), adjacent w DSon.
3CactaCylindropuntia fosbergiipink teddy-bear chollaDSon (e San Diego County)
4AsterEriophyllum wallacei var. rubellumWallace's woolly daisynot in JM2, but it should have been. It is a well-defined taxon with a very distinct geographic range.
5RubiaGalium angustifolium ssp. borregoenseBorrego bedstrawDSon (Borrego Palm Canyon, Hellhole Canyon, Pinyon Mtn Valley, all in San Diego County
6BrassLepidium flavum var. felipenseBorrego Valley pepper-grassmerged with the widespread and abundant var. flavum in JM2. If var. felipense is a separate taxon, it is only found at the playa in Little Blair Valley
7FabacLupinus excubitus var. mediusMountain Springs bush lupinesw DSon
8MalvaMalacothamnus enigmaticusenigmatic bushmallowe PR, adjacent w DSon
9CampaNemacladus twisselmannii var. botanywomaniaeBotany Woman's threadplantThis is not only an endemic, it is our rarest endemic by far. The maximum number of plants ever seen was 94 plants in 2013, in three nearby locations near the trailhead for the Wilson Trail.
10BoragPhacelia umbrosaColorado Desert phaceliaPR; Baja California; species may not be distinct from P. distans
11ApiacSpermolepis infernensisHellhole Canyon spermolepisnot in JM2. In 2012, Neson defined this species as being only in Hellhole Canyon. We and others have subsequently observed it in a fairly large area between Glorietta Canyon and Yaqui Pass.
12AsterXylorhiza orcuttiiOrcutt's woody-asters DSon


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Updated 6 June 2020.