Plant Guide to Monserate Mountain Trail
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
Monserate Mountain is a low western foothill of the Palomar Mountain Range, and hence is the most coastal part of the Palomar Range. It is thus part of the western Peninsular Range.
The Monserate Mountain ridge is in the San Luis Rey River Valley. It trends north-south for 5 miles from the San Luis Rey River on the south in the Fallbrook / Bonsall area to the community of Rainbow, between I-15 on the west and Rice Canyon on the east. The northern, lower half has mostly been converted to agriculture. The Fallbrook Land Conservancy has established a mitigation bank preserve on 225 acres of the southern half, which is the highest, least disturbed section.
The trail described here traverses the preserve as well as a neighboring parcel of 96 acres that may be added to the preserve in the future. The trail is entirely on a very-steep partially-paved old road; lug soles are essential for good footing on the unpaved sections. Most of the trail is a loop on and around the Monserate Mountain ridge, and should be done in the direction advised below to avoid having to make a tricky descent, with very poor footing, down the steepest unpaved stretches of the road.
Directions to the trailhead:
From I-15 south of Fallbrook, take the Bonsall / SR76 exit, turn left onto SR76, cross the freeway and turn right immediately past the gas station onto Old Highway 395 at the traffic light. Take Old Highway 395 ~2.5 miles north to Stewart Canyon Road and turn right onto it, following the rest of the directions below.
From I-15 north of Fallbrook, take the Mission Avenue exit, turn right but immediately get into the left-hand turn lane to turn left onto Old Highway 395. Take it ~1.5 miles, past Reche Road, to Stewart Canyon Road and turn left onto it, following the rest of the directions below.
From SR76 west of Fallbrook, turn left onto Old Highway 395 immediately before you reach I-15. Take Old Highway 395 ~2.5 miles north to Stewart Canyon Road and turn right onto it, following the rest of the directions below.
The rest of the directions: Once on Stewart Canyon Road, after crossing under the freeway, immediately turn right on Pankey Road and park on the right. The trailhead is on the other side of Pankey Road, a dirt road with a simple chain across it, immediately south of the agriculture site. Don't confuse this dirt road with another dirt road just south of the trail, which is on private land and leads to a graded pad.
Highlights of This Trail
This trail gives an extensive look at a large relatively intact section that contains interfingered areas of Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub and Southern Mixed Chaparral. The trail is ~3.9 miles long, and ranges from an elevation of ~360 feet at the beginning (on Pankey Road just south of Stewart Canyon Road) to ~1480 feet at the top of the ridge of Monserate Mountain.
Some of the botanical highlights of this trail are:
- large numbers of mature Ramona lilac (Ceanothus tomentosus var. olivaceus) and blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum) lining the trail in places, both of which provide a stunning display of blue flowers in spring.
- a hillside of pincushion flower (Chaenactis sp.; color to be determined when it blooms).
- abundant slender tarweed (Hemizonia fasciculata) and California matchweed (Gutierrezia californica), both of which line the trail with yellow color in summer.
- abundant laurel sumac (Malosma laurina), black sage (Salvia mellifera), California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) and chaparral yucca (Yucca whipplei)
- specimens of closely-related species that can be seen literally side-by-side for easy comparison between the two species in each set:
- black sage (Salvia mellifera) and Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii); and
- coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis) and broom baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides).
- many samples of the rare Parry's tetracoccus (Tetracoccus dioicus).
- many samples of an unusual grass genus, Aristida, which has seeds with awns that split into three branches at their tips. There are two species on this trail, a perennial species, A. purpurea, with three varieties on the trail, and one annual species, A. adscensionis.
- a small number of specimens of two relatively uncommon species, sweetbush (Bebbia juncea var. aspera) and odora (Porophyllum gracile) .
However, there is a price to be paid for these highlights - the trail comes in only three flavors: steep, very steep, and exceptionally steep. The entire trip is 3.9 miles with 1400 feet of elevation gain.
Plant Communities and Floristics
This trail goes through interfingering sections of coastal sage scrub and chamise chaparral. The San Diego County Vegetation Map from Tom Oberbauer maps it as roughly equal versions of Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub (mostly on ridges and ~halfway down all slopes) and Southern Mixed Chaparral (mostly in drainages up to ~halfway to ridgelines). The older version of this map in Beauchamp (1986) plots this area as separate sections of Chamise Chaparral and Mixed Chaparral. However, believe it or not, all of this area is in the Mixed Hardwood Forest vegetation classification of Kuchler (1977)! (The Kuchler maps were used as the starting point to define the geographic regions of California in the Jepson Manual.)
The Trail plant list contains 115 taxa, of which 106 have so far been identified, in 3.21 unique miles of trail. Of these 106 taxa, 24 (23%) 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 could be due to the relative pristineness of this property, or due to the incompleteness of this trail guide so far.
- The number of native taxa is lower than many of our other trails. It is most likely that this simply reflects the incompleteness of this guide so far.
Lifeform Native Non-native Total Taxa Trees 0 0 0 Shrubs 32 2 34 Pteridophytes 2 0 2 Perennial Herbs 21 2 23 Perennial Grasses 5 5 10 Annual Grasses 1 6 7 Annual Herbs 21 9 30 Total 82 24 106
Lifeform Native Non-native Total Taxa Trees 0% 0% 0% Shrubs 39% 8% 32% Pteridophytes 2% 0% 2% Perennial Herbs 26% 8% 22% Perennial Grasses 6% 21% 9% Annual Grasses 1% 25% 7% Annual Herbs 26% 38% 28% 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 73 trails in my database when this histogram was made. A number of "1" means the taxon has only been found on this trail among the trails in my database.
Number of Trails
Containing A Taxon
Number Of Taxa
On This Trail
% of Taxa
On This Trail
1 5 5% 2 3 3% 3 3 3% 4 4 4% 5 5 5% 1-5 20 19% 6-10 24 23% 11-15 17 16% 16-20 10 9% 21-25 8 8% 26-30 13 12% 31-35 10 9% 36-40 4 4% Total Taxa 106 100%
I found 9 additional species not in the above table, since they have not been 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 31 January 2004, are:
#all Latin Name Common Name Distribution in Southern California / Distribution in Trail Guides 1 cane bluestem Bothriochloa barbinodis SCo, s ChI, WTR, SnGb, PR. 1 Nealley three-awn Aristida purpurea var. nealleyi SCo, SnBr, PR, D 1 Parish three-awn Aristida purpurea var. parishii SCo, SnBr, D 1 purple three-awn Aristida purpurea var. purpurea SCo, SnBr, PR, DMtns 1 *Natal grass Rhynchelytrum repens SCo 2 California buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum var. fasciculatum The JM restricts this variety to CCo, but Munz has it from Santa Barbara to n. L. California! This results from different delineations of this variety; see JM Comments. We use the JM delineation, and have only found this variety here and in the Santa Monica Mountains. 2 Parry's tetracoccus Tetracoccus dioicus RARE. s SCo (San Diego County), w PR; Baja CA. We have also seen this taxon on the South Gate to Temecula Gorge trail at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve. 2 six-weeks three-awn Aristida adscensionis SCo, s ChI, WTR, SnGb, PR, D. We have also seen this taxon on the South Gate to Temecula Gorge trail at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve.
This is clearly the trail for Aristida and other grasses!
A note on Aristida purpurea: It is always suspicious to have three varieties of any species on one trail. Evidence in support of the existence of three varieties is:
- Each variety was noticeably different to my eye. I would not have sampled a second occurrence of a taxon unless it appeared to be significantly different somehow from the previous occurrence. I sampled only three specimens, and each specimen clearly keyed out to a different variety.
- The differences between the varieties are mostly quantitative, involving the lengths of the awns, as well as the width of the awns at the base. This largely removes the element of subjectivity that is often necessary to key out plants, but which can introduce errors.
- Each variety is found in a distinct section of the trail in different microhabitats. Variety parishii is on a dry, rocky south-facing slope; the other two are on west-facing slopes. Variety nealleyi is on a ridgeline; variety purpurea is not.
However, these varieties are growing so close to one another that one wonders whether at least one of these varieties might be an environmentally-caused variation of another. Alternatively, it is possible that I simply found a specimen of one variety that happened to be more similar to another variety due to normal population variation, and I therefore erred in assigning it to a separate variety.
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" 8/9/2002 1 59 2 5 2 9 8/13/2002 2 69 2 2 7 5 8/17/2002 3 70 0 2 5 1 1/13/2003 4 92 4 7 11 2 8/1/2003 5 106 3 7 9 3 8/8/2003 6 109 5 7 9 3 10/31/2003 7 108 5 6 10 3 1/30/2004 8 115 5 6 12 2
Note that the trail has not been walked during the spring, and hence the list is undoubtedly quite incomplete so far.
Botanical Trip Reports
30 January 2004
The Plant Guide
Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page (8 pages)
I have benefited from the Agua Tibia Mountain plant list of Darin L. Banks, 1999, and the Monserate Mountain plant list prepared by Vincent N. Scheidt for the biological report on this property in 1998. The closest portion of the Agua Tibia Mountain floral study of Banks is about 3 miles due east of Monserate Mountain.
All the taxa on this trail are being vouchered as part of the San Diego Plant Atlas, grid D9, with vouchers stored at the San Diego Natural History Museum Herbarium.
Mile S # id? Common Name Latin Name #here #all 0.00 Beginning of trail (old dirt road) at Pankey Road just south of Stewart Canyon Road; elevation 360 feet. 0.00 b 1 California buckwheat Eriogonum fasciculatum var. fasciculatum 99 / 9 2 0.00 r 2 California sagebrush Artemisia californica 99 / 9 32 0.00 b 3 *shortpod mustard Hirschfeldia incana 99 / 9 38 0.00 r 4 ~ *redstem filaree Erodium cicutarium 99 / 9 32 0.00 l 5 *tocalote Centaurea melitensis 99 / 9 32 0.00 b 6 slender tarweed Hemizonia fasciculata 99 / 9 9 0.00 b 7 California dodder Cuscuta californica var. californica 2 / 2 12 0.00 r 8 slender wreathplant Stephanomeria exigua ssp. deanei 2 / 2 9 0.00 l Sign: "Absolutely no motorized vehicles beyond this boundary - Conservation Land" 0.00 r 9 *fennel Foeniculum vulgare 99 / 3 12 0.00 r 10 *red brome Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens 99 / 9 35 0.01 l Sign: "Locked gate ahead". 0.01 r 11 *narrowleaf filago Filago gallica 99 / 2 29 0.01 b 12 *slender wild oats Avena barbata 99 / 9 19 0.01 r 13 *soft chess Bromus hordeaceus 99 / 9 26 0.01 l 14 laurel sumac Malosma laurina 99 / 9 29 0.01 15 hollyleaf redberry Rhamnus ilicifolia 4 / 4 31 0.02 l 16 branching phacelia Phacelia ramosissima var. latifolia 1 / 1 23 0.02 l 17 *nit grass Gastridium ventricosum 50 / 3 15 0.02 l (tree form of Torrey's scrub oak, Quercus acutidens) 0.02 l 18 sp Mariposa Lily Calochortus sp. / 0.02 r 19 shining peppergrass Lepidium nitidum var. nitidum 99 / 1 3 0.03 r (Bigelow's spike-moss, Selaginella bigelovii) 0.04 r (sugar bush, Rhus ovata) 0.04 l (~Vasey's prickly pear, Opuntia Xvaseyi) 0.04 r (blue elderberry, Sambucus mexicana) 0.04 l (black sage, Salvia mellifera) 0.05 c 20 ~ small-flowered soap plant Chlorogalum parviflorum 1 / 1 3 0.05 r 21 ~ blue dicks Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum 99 / 9 28 0.08 l Sign: "Locked gate ahead. Fallbrook Land Conservancy Conservation Land. Please help maintain this habitat". 0.08 l Unauthorized motorbike trail around gate. 0.08 l 22 chaparral yucca Yucca whipplei 50 / 9 20 0.08 r 23 ssp short-winged deerweed Lotus scoparius var. brevialatus 30 / 9 13 0.09 l 24 *fountain grass Pennisetum setaceum 99 / 9 8 0.09 r 25 rattlesnake weed Daucus pusillus 10 / 2 15 0.09 l 26 chia Salvia columbariae / 17 0.10 r 27 ~ California chicory Rafinesquia californica 3 / 1 14 0.10 l 28 ~ California four o'clock Mirabilis californica 5 / 5 12 0.10 b 29 black sage Salvia mellifera 99 / 9 30 0.10 l 30 California brickellbush Brickellia californica 40 / 1 23 0.10 l 31 Bigelow's spike-moss Selaginella bigelovii 1 / 1 13 0.10 l 32 meally white pincushion Chaenactis artemisiifolia 99 / 2 5 0.10 l 33 ~ yellow pincushion Chaenactis glabriuscula var. glabriuscula / 10 0.10 l 34 ? unk young brassica rosette 0.10 l 35 prickly cryptantha Cryptantha muricata 99 / 9 13 0.10 l 36 sp farewell-to-spring Clarkia sp. / 0.10 Gate. Sign containing rules and hours (open dawn to dusk). Sign: "Beware of rattlesnakes". 0.10 l 37 small-seeded spurge Chamaesyce polycarpa 40 / 5 8 0.10 l 38 ? Parry's phacelia Phacelia parryi 5 / 1 4 0.11 Other end of unauthorized motorbike trail around gate. 0.11 Trail turns 90 degrees right and crosses the first branch of a small drainage. (Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia, on right.) 0.11 b 39 *California burclover Medicago polymorpha 99 / 1 26 0.11 l 40 sugar bush Rhus ovata 10 / 9 19 0.11 Cross second branch of the small drainage. 0.12 b 41 saw-toothed goldenbush Hazardia squarrosa var. grindelioides 99 / 9 26 0.12 l 42 white sage Salvia apiana 50 / 9 27 0.12 b 43 *Crete weed Hedypnois cretica / 13 0.12 l 44 San Diego morning-glory Calystegia macrostegia ssp. tenuifolia 2 / 2 16 0.12 r 45 ? unk baby plants like smooth cat's ear 0.12 46 sp needlegrass Nassella sp. 99 / 9 0.12 Trail steepens. 0.12 l 47 California matchweed Gutierrezia californica+ 99 / 9 4 0.13 b A large number of blue dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum, line the trail for the next several tenths of a mile, with a fair number of Mariposa lilies, Calochortus sp.. 0.14 l 48 golden yarrow Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum+ 4 / 2 40 0.14 l 49 ~ goldenstar Bloomeria crocea 10 / 1 9 0.15 r Jct. road to right with chain gate in ~0.02 mile. Continue to left as the trail turns 90 degrees. 0.15 r 50 narrowleaf bedstraw Galium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium / 39 0.15 r A number of ~goldenstars, ~Bloomeria crocea. 0.16 r 51 *Russian thistle Salsola tragus 99 / 2 22 0.16 r 52 leafy daisy Erigeron foliosus var. foliosus 2 / 2 29 0.16 r 53 coast jepsonia Jepsonia parryi 5 / 1 9 0.18 r 54 coyote bush Baccharis pilularis 10 / 5 19 0.19 r First live golden yarrow, Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum, in 2003. 0.20 Trail turns right 90 degrees. 0.21 r 55 California-aster Lessingia filaginifolia var. filaginifolia 4 / 4 38 0.25 Switchback to left. 0.28 r 56 bush monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus 5 / 5 31 0.29 r 57 toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia 10 / 9 35 0.32 l 58 mission manzanita Xylococcus bicolor 99 / 9 10 0.33 Trail turns right 90 degrees. 0.35 r 59 sp virgin's bower Clematis ligusticifolia / 5 0.35 Trail begins to curve left gradually. 0.36 l 60 blue-eyed grass Sisyrinchium bellum 2 / 2 12 0.40 r View to south of the "HP Property", Rosemary's mountain (proposed gravel quarry), Bonsall bridge over I-15, Pala Mesa Golf Course. Trail is still steep and continues to curve left. 0.40 r 61 wild-cucumber Marah macrocarpus var. macrocarpus 5 / 5 34 0.40 l 62 cane bluestem Bothriochloa barbinodis 30 / 5 1 0.40 l 63 *prickly lettuce Lactuca serriola 1 / 1 22 0.40 l 64 cocklebur Xanthium strumarium 3 / 1 10 0.41 r Very large narrowleaf bedstraw bush, Galium angustifolium ssp. angustifolium. 0.44 r (Property boundary pole); view of water tower dead ahead you will pass by later on the trail. 0.44 r Black sage (Salvia mellifera) forest begins on right. 0.45 Trail makes a slight curve left. 0.46 65 Parry's tetracoccus (female) Tetracoccus dioicus 30 / 4 2 0.49 l 66 six-weeks three-awn Aristida adscensionis 10 / 1 2 0.51 l (Rhamnus ilicifolia here if previous one is off-trail). 0.51 l A male Parry's tetracoccus (Tetracoccus dioicus). 0.51 l 67 ? unk like muilla 0.52 l 68 fringed spineflower Chorizanthe fimbriata var. fimbriata 50 / 3 4 0.53 l 69 Nealley three-awn Aristida purpurea var. nealleyi / 1 0.57 c 70 chaparral bush mallow Malacothamnus fasciculatus 5 / 2 9 0.64 r 71 ? field sun-cup? Camissonia hirtella? / 0.64 r 72 Ramona lilac Ceanothus tomentosus var. olivaceus 99 / 3 5 0.64 l 73 ~ soap plant Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum 10 / 2 12 0.69 Trail makes a short curve left and T-junctions with paved road at elevation 930 feet. The upper part of this hike is a loop trail. We strongly recommend you go right, downhill, due to an extremely steep section which is safer to ascend. 0.69 Trail curves gradually to left and we get our first relief from the I-15 traffic noise. 0.76 Trail curves right 90 degrees. 0.77 Cross small drainage. 0.79 l 74 chamise Adenostoma fasciculatum+ 50 / 2 27 0.83 l 75 *mission cactus Opuntia ficus-indica 1 / 1 5 0.83 l Jct. very old road showing severe erosion. 0.85 l 76 giant needlegrass Achnatherum coronatum 50 / 2 18 0.87 Cross chain gate across trail; leave FLC preserve; enter potential future FLC preserve; property boundary marker pole on left. 0.91 r 77 sweetbush Bebbia juncea var. aspera 1 / 1 6 0.92 Cross drainage. 0.95 l 78 sticky false-gilia Allophyllum glutinosum / 5 0.95 l 79 sp caterpillar phacelia? Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida? 10 / 1 0.96 r 80 bicolored everlasting Gnaphalium bicolor / 20 0.96 r 81 horseweed Conyza canadensis 50 / 4 24 0.96 Descent is now steep. 0.96 82 telegraph weed Heterotheca grandiflora 10 / 1 22 0.97 Trail curves left. 0.98 r Jct. jeep trail; continue straight. 0.99 l "Pincushion Flower Hill" ("Chaenactis Hill") - lots of Chaenactis cover the immediate hill next to the trail. 1.02 Trail curves right. 1.03 r 83 purple three-awn Aristida purpurea var. purpurea / 1 1.04 r 84 southern honeysuckle Lonicera subspicata var. denudata 5 / 1 30 1.05 l 85 slender sunflower Helianthus gracilentus 25 / 5 9 1.05 r 86 showy penstemon Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis+ 1 / 1 8 1.06 b A pair of over 15 foot tall laurel sumacs (Malosma laurina) 1.07 r Rusting body and engine of an old car just below road. 1.08 r 87 *prickly sow thistle Sonchus asper ssp. asper / 12 1.08 r (discarded bathtub) 1.08 r 88 *giant reed Arundo donax 1 / 1 7 1.08 l 89 sp strigose sun-cup? Camissonia strigulosa? 20 / 1 1.08 l 90 pygmy-weed Crassula connata 99 / 1 11 1.08 l 91 blue elderberry Sambucus mexicana 1 / 1 35 1.08 Cross drainage at elevation of 680 feet and begin gentle ascent which quickly steepens. 1.08 r Jct. jeep trail; continue straight. 1.12 l 92 California everlasting Gnaphalium californicum 1 / 1 24 1.13 r 93 *ripgut brome Bromus diandrus / 34 1.16 l Field of 9 foot tall Ramona lilac (Ceanothus tomentosus var. olivaceus); Trail curves right. 1.17 l 94 mule fat Baccharis salicifolia 2 / 2 28 1.22 Road begins gentle S-curve; ascent is still steep. 1.24 l Lens of white rock amidst exposure of the blue phase, cut by many white dikes, of the Mt. Woodson Granodiorite 1.26 l Property boundary marker. 1.27 r 95 ~ *Italian thistle Carduus pycnocephalus 3 / 1 9 1.30 Trail makes a short curve left and T-junctions with the ridge road. Go left and continue ascent. View into Rice Canyon and a ridgetop of Palomar Mountain: Morgan Hill on left; Boucher Hill (Palomar Mtn. State Park) on right, with Pauma Creek between them. 1.31 l 96 Parish three-awn Aristida purpurea var. parishii 99 / 1 1 1.31 l Jct. path 1.31 l 97 odora Porophyllum gracile 20 / 1 4 1.34 Good exposures of Woodson Mountain granodiorite in the roadcut. 1.37 l Note the faint "X" on the road cut formed by dikes! 1.37 Local high point on road at ~940 feet; begin descent of ~30'. 1.45 l Jct. very steep road from water tank at elevation ~910 feet; turn left and go up it. 1.50 r Five very old laurel sumacs (Malosma laurina) along the road beginning here, with stem bases 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. 1.55 l 98 chaparral beard-tongue Keckiella antirrhinoides var. antirrhinoides 1 / 1 7 1.61 l Jct. road; continue straight, at beginning of fresh asphalt in 2002. 1.63 l 99 Cleveland sage Salvia clevelandii 99 / 2 3 1.66 l 100 *Bermuda grass Cynodon dactylon 2 / 1 15 1.66 l 101 *Natal grass Rhynchelytrum repens 30 / 2 1 1.69 102 *castor bean Ricinus communis 1 / 1 12 1.69 l Lots of odora (Porophyllum gracile). 1.70 Road curves left to Y-junction. Road to left goes to water tank; take unpaved road to right. Road is no longer very steep. 1.72 r Sign: Locked gate ahead. 1.77 Local high point on road at 1140 feet as road curves left; begin ~3 foot descent and curve right. 1.77 103 white everlasting Gnaphalium canescens ssp. microcephalum 1 / 1 30 1.78 l 104 coastal goldenbush Isocoma menziesii var. vernonioides 30 / 3 10 1.80 Descent ends at saddle; view of ocean to left of Sleeping Indian; begin steep ascent. 1.80 r 105 bristly bird's beak Cordylanthus rigidus ssp. setigerus 5 / 1 21 1.83 l 106 bird's-foot fern Pellaea mucronata var. mucronata 2 / 2 20 1.84 Local high point on road at 1160 feet; begin gentle ~6 foot descent. View of full Palomar Mountain Range, now including Agua Tibia on the left of Morgan Hill. 1.86 l 107 Eastwood manzanita Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. zacaensis+ 3 / 1 7 1.86 l Field of ~30 Eastwood manzanitas (Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. zacaensis) on left. View of Sleeping Indian (Morro Hill), San Onofre Mountain, and Santa Margarita Mountains. 1.87 Local low point on road at elevation 1140 feet; begin steep ascent. 1.87 l Jct. unauthorized motorcycle trail to get around gate. 1.89 Local high point on road at elevation 1170 feet; begin gentle ~3 foot descent. 1.91 Chain gate across road. Sign: "Fallbrook Land Conservancy Conservation Land". 1.91 l Other end of unauthorized motorcycle trail. 1.91 l 108 ~ California suncup Camissonia californica / 14 1.91 Local low point; begin gentle ascent which soon steepens. Trail is soon on its first northeast-facing slope, cutting off the traffic noise from the freeway. 1.94 r Field of small-seeded spurge, Chamaesyce polycarpa. 1.98 l Numerous Cleveland and black sage in this area, including the two species here side-by-side, just before a gully about to claim the road from the right. 2.02 Ascent is now extremely steep; it is much safer to ascend this stretch than to descend it were you to do the loop in the other direction. 2.04 Low point to left gives view of reservoir across I-15, with Sleeping Indian directly behind it, and freeway noise again. 2.05 Local high point on road at ~1310 feet; begin steep ~30-40 foot descent. 2.08 Descent ends at saddle at ~1280 feet; begin ascent (some parts gentle; last part very steep). 2.21 l 109 ~ San Diego mountain mahogany Cercocarpus minutiflorus 5 / 3 7 2.22 Very steep ascent ends on ridge at 1410 feet; trail is now gentle, almost flat. 2.29 A 10 foot mission manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor). 2.30 Enter an ~0.01 mile stretch of NE-facing slope; the next two species are found only there. 2.30 l 110 *hairy rattail fescue Vulpia myuros var. hirsuta 99 / 1 9 2.30 l 111 broom baccharis Baccharis sarothroides 2 / 1 7 2.30 Two occurrences of broom baccharis and coyote bush side-by-side. 2.32 Steep ascent again. 2.36 Ascent now gentle. 2.40 High point on road at 1480 feet; trail now essentially level. 2.42 View of Red Mountain (in Fallbrook), with 3 tall and 1 short antenna. 2.45 r 112 ~ rockrose Helianthemum scoparium / 9 2.47 r 113 ssp purple snapdragon Antirrhinum nuttallianum ssp. nuttallianum / 10 2.49 r 114 Torrey's scrub oak Quercus acutidens 1 / 1 10 2.51 r (Two multi-trunked trees, the tree form of Torrey's oak.) 2.51 b Field of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). 2.52 Road curves left 90 degrees at a jct. with old road on the right at 1460 feet. Begin steep descent. 2.55 r 115 *smilo grass Piptatherum miliaceum 50 / 1 16 2.65 End of very steep descent. 2.68 Curve right 90 degrees; descent is very steep again. 2.71 Switchback to left. 2.74 End of very steep descent. 2.75 Switchback / curve to left; jct. path on right. Descent is very gentle now. 2.86 Steep descent again. 2.88 The eroded linear trench on the left of the road with sharp sides is from a buried water pipe, exposed for a short distance here. 2.93 Fire hydrant. 2.95 Jct. road on right; continue straight. 3.12 Switchback to left at another fire hydrant; pavement begins. Jct. old road leading to meadow filled with prickly pear (Opuntia Xoccidentalis?). 3.20 Scraped area on left (for road or trenchfill?), with mostly California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum) on it. 3.21 Jct. with road down on right at 930 feet; go right on it; end plant guide. 3.90 End trail back at beginning.
Comments On Specific Species
Adenostoma fasciculatum. This is not var. obtusifolium since the leaves are 6-10 mm in length.
Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. zacaensis. There are three plants along trail at a saddle, with ~30 more below that saddle to west. Burls are large (some up to 20 cm across sticking more than 5 cm up from the current ground level), show many black scorch marks from a fire, and all the specimens are about the same height (~50 cm) and width. Hence all seem to have resprouted after a fire, and are much older than they appear to be from their current small stature.
Burls were not obvious for a few specimens, and were not found for one specimen despite digging ~10 cm below the ground surface. In all other respects, those specimens were identical to the others with large burls.
I have now checked the id in two separate years.
In the severe drought year of 2002, no fruit were present except for a few fruit that were probably aborted before they fully developed. The id derives from the inflorescence bracts still on the bushes that were probably from this year, since they show aborted buds in many cases. The lower bracts are all foliaceous, with the bract at the base of the entire inflorescence narrowly oblanceolate with sizes ranging from 15 x 4 mm to 25 x 8 mm. The bracts at the bases of the inflorescence branches are all foliaceous, ranging from 5 x 1 mm to 18 x 5 mm. The bracts at the bases of the individual flowers range from 2-3 mm weakly keeled deltoid bracts to leaf-like bracts 5 mm long. Some of the deltoid bracts are acute and some are long-acuminate. Thus the bracts closely match the ones expected from Arctostaphylos glandulosa, and are inconsistent with those of A. rainbowensis.
In January 2004, only three inflorescences were present on all 30 of the specimens. The branch with those three inflorescences has been vouchered. The inflorescences had 6, 7 and 8 branches, respectively. Each inflorescence had foliaceous bracts at the base of every inflorescence branch, with the lowermost bract 15, 20 and 20 mm in length by 5 mm in width. The other inflorescence branch-base bracts ranged from 6-8, 5-6, and 4-21 mm x 1-5 mm.
Thus there is no doubt that these plants cannot be A. rainbowensis, which was the identification given to these specimens by Scheidt.
However, these are unusual plants for A. glandulosa, for three reasons. First, the stems are glabrous, like A. rainbowensis, and unlike the puberulent to hairy stems of A. glandulosa. Second, most of the individual flower bracts are 2-3 mm weakly keeled deltoid bracts, more like A. rainbowensis than A. glandulosa. Finally, some of the burls appear to be intermediate between the globose burl of A. rainbowensis and the flat-topped burl of A. glandulosa.
It would not be surprising that these plants are intermediate forms between these two species, since the nearest A. rainbowensis is only 1.8 miles away (Keeley and Massihi 1994, Madrono 41:1.)
Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum and Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis. The first occurrence of each of these species in 2002 was dead in 2003 due to the drought. Thus the first live specimen in 2003 is also listed, but not given a new number. So far, no other specimen of Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis has been found.
Gutierrezia californica. There is probably some hybridization with G. sarothrae on this trail, since some plants have a few peduncles with 4-5 flowers and some plants have mostly sessile flowers. A detailed check of three plants gave the following:
Mile % peduncles with single head % peduncles with length < 0.5 mm 0.13 76 (not measured) 0.16 86 18 2.32 83 54
I didn't measure the % of sessile heads for the plant at mile 0.13, since it was clearly small, and the plant was undoubtedly G. californica. The plant are mile 0.16 was selected since it had a few peduncles with 4 and 5 heads. The plant at mile 2.32 was selected since it was the first specimen that was clearly different from the previous ones, which shows up in the high percentage of sessile heads.
See Plants of Southern California: Analysis Pages: Matchweed (Gutierrezia).
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.
Copyright © 2002-2004 by Tom Chester.
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Updated 27 February 2004.