We made this guide in the year 2000, when we were just wee budding amateur botanists. We therefore relied on our botanical excursions elsewhere, as well as lists made by others for the Santa Rosa Plateau, for some of the plant species names. On 1 March 2006, we finally have gone back through this Guide to correct the species names and update the Guide to only include species found on trails. Since many people have used this in the past to obtain species names, the following table gives a list of all the changed identifications. Subsequent tables give species deleted from the 2006 guide and additional species added to the Guide.
Nothing on this page should be construed as criticism of the lists we used! Providing a plant list for an area is a noble endeavor which is usually undertaken by amateur botanists, since professional botanists who can reliably identify species generally do not have the time to make such lists, or make them publicly available. (Such professional botanists are all too-aware of the many pitfalls in species identifications, and hence are generally quite reluctant to release any lists they've made unless they have checked out their lists thoroughly. Such thorough checking often involves sending at least some specimens to experts in those species!)
Plant lists provided by amateurs, such as we were when we originally made this list, are usually 90% accurate, and thus of great use to others that are less familiar with plant species in providing identifications. One should not criticize any amateur list that has a 10% error rate! If the error rate were much lower, the amateur making the list would actually be a professional, and then probably wouldn't have made the list in the first place. (:-)
Corrected Species Names
Erroneous Name Given Prior to 2006 Correct Name Given in 2006 Comments Chaparral or Pipestem Clematis, Clematis lasiantha virgin's bower, Clematis pauciflora We have a grand total of a single plant on our trails, on the north loop of the N. Vista Grande Trail. Hedge Nettle, Stachys bullata rigid hedge-nettle, Stachys ajugoides var. rigida Wand Chicory or Twiggy Wreath-plant, Stephanomeria virgata San Diego wreathplant, Stephanomeria diegensis; slender wreathplant,Stephanomeria exigua ssp. deanei Even the professional botanists who did the Santa Rosa Plateau Flora got this wrong! Mountain Mahogany, Cercocarpus betuloides San Diego mountain mahogany, Cercocarpus minutiflorus These look alike except for the underneath of the leaves; C. minutiflorus mostly lacks hairs; C. betuloides has hairs. California Blackberry, Rubus ursinus Himalaya blackberry*, Rubus discolor Only present along Adobe Creek Goldfields, Lasthenia chrysostoma Goldfields, Lasthenia californica Same species; just an updated name. California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus western buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis There is some disagreement about whether plants like the ones at the SRP, with mostly 5-6 petals, are actually R. occidentalis, or just unusual R. californicus. However, they seem markedly different from the usual R. californicus in Southern California, which typically grows in shadier spots, is a less robust plant, and of course has many more petals. If the plants at the SRP aren't R. occidentalis, it seems to question whether these species are actually distinct or not. Fiddleneck, Amsinckia intermedia common fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia Same species; just an updated name. Black Mustard, Brassica nigra shortpod mustard, Hirschfeldia incana We have no Brassica nigra at the SRP; all such plants are Hirschfeldia incana. See Mustard (Brassica nigra and Hirschfeldia incana): How To Tell The Difference Owl's Clover, Orthocarpus purpurascens purple owl's-clover, Castilleja exserta Same species; just an updated name. Wild Brodiaea, Brodiaea jolonensis earth brodiaea, Brodiaea terrestris ssp. kernensis B. jolonensis looks almost exactly the same in photographs as Brodiaea terrestris ssp. kernensis, but doesn't actually exist in Southern California; it is found only in Monterey County and nearby.
Names For Species That Were Unidentified In Previous Guide
Name Given Prior to 2006 Name Given in 2006 Comments Bird's Beak, Cordylanthus sp. Bristly Bird's Beak, Cordylanthus rigidus ssp. setigerus This is the only Cordylanthus species in most of Southern California away from the immediate coast and the higher mountain areas. Linanthus, Linanthus sp. common linanthus, Linanthus parviflorus This is only present in one location on the Granite Loop Trail. L. liniflorus is present in one location on the S. Los Santos Trail, but is nearly invisible to most people. Popcorn Flower, Cryptantha sp.; Plagiobothrys sp.rusty-haired popcorn flower, Plagiobothrys nothofulvus; tawny popcorn flower, Plagiobothrys fulvus Plagiobothrys are mostly found in the grasslands, and Cryptantha are mostly found in chaparral. Everlasting or Cudweed, Gnaphalium sp. bicolored everlasting, Gnaphalium bicolor
fragrant everlasting, Gnaphalium canescens ssp. beneolens
white everlasting, Gnaphalium canescens ssp. microcephalum
We no longer know which species this specific entry was referring to; we've given the three other common tall Gnaphalium species. See Gnaphalium canescens subspecies for how to distinguish the two subspecies of Gnaphalium canescens, including pictures of plants at the SRP. There are three other Gnaphalium species that are usually shorter plants. Dodder ("orange spaghetti"), Cuscuta sp. California dodder, Cuscuta californica var. californica; papillate dodder, Cuscuta californica var. papillosa Prickly Pear, Opuntia sp. Vasey's Prickly-Pear, Opuntia vaseyi This is the most common prickly-pear in western Riverside County (see Flora of Western Riverside County, Roberts et al 2004. It is often incorrectly said to be a hybrid, but there is no evidence that this is the case. This was incorrectly identified by the cactus expert, Lyman Benson, as O. phaeacantha, for Lathrop and Thorne in their professional SRP Flora, since back then Benson used characteristics of the spines to separate those species. Later botanists looked at the flower, and found them easy to separate on the color of the filaments and styles. O. phaeacantha has white filaments and styles, and is a desert taxon; O. vaseyi has yellow and pink filaments and styles, and is found most commonly 10-20 miles inland from the coast. Wild Sweet Pea, Lathyrus laetiflorus San Diego pea, Lathyrus vestitus var. alefeldii Updated name, added variety. Thistle, Cirsium sp. Bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare
Species Deleted In 2006 Comments Nightshade, Solanum douglasii we don't have any white-flowered nightshades here. Fernleaf Phacelia, Phacelia distans P. distans is blue-flowered, not white, and doesn't occur here. wild sweet pea, Lathyrus vestitus our sweet pea doesn't have white flowers. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium we don't have this species on any trail. Smoothleaf Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon trichocalyx we don't have this species on any trail. Bitter Cherry, Prunus emarginata we don't have this species on any trail. Chaparral Whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermis we don't have this species on any trail. Bigberry Manzanita, Arctostaphylos glauca we don't have this species on any trail. Silk-tassel bush, Garrya veatchii we don't have this species on any trail. Gilia, Gilia sp. deleted from pink and purple flowers; we don't have a pink or purple gilia species here; only the white G. angelensis. Creeping Snowberry, Symphoricarpos mollis we don't have this species on any trail. Paintbrush, Castilleja sp. we don't have this species on any trail. Bermuda Buttercup, Oxalis pes-caprae not present at the SRP. Golden Eardrops, Dicentra chrysantha not known to be present at the SRP on trails, but may appear in the chaparral after a fire Senecio, Senecio flaccidus var. douglasii not present at the SRP. California Bush Sunflower, Encelia californica not present at the SRP. Canyon Sunflower, Venegasia carpesiodes not present at the SRP. Coffeeberry, Rhamnus californica only a single off-trail plant is present at the SRP. Water Speedwell*, Veronica anagallis-aquatica not present at the SRP.
Species Added To The Guide in 2006 Comments small-seeded spurge, Chamaesyce polycarpa C. polycarpa is found in chaparral on the Wiashal Trail; C. albomarginata is found in grasslands. White Forget-Me-Not, Cryptantha muricata This is less frequent than the C. intermedia previously given in the guide, but is also present. In addition, there are two other Cryptantha species that have much smaller flowers. small-flowered fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii var. menziesii The only difference from var. intermedia is that this taxon has distinctly-smaller flowers. Pacific sanicle, Sanicula crassicaulis Flower is identical to S. arguta; the species separate on leaf shape in general, and are distinctly-different heights at the SRP. S. arguta is short, less than ~1 foot in height, found mostly in grasslands; S. crassicaulis is tall, mostly 2-3 feet in height, found mostly in chaparral. slender sunflower, Helianthus gracilentus This is more frequent than H. annuus at the SRP. San Diego tarweed, Hemizonia paniculata Common on the north half of the SRP. short-fruited filaree, Erodium brachycarpum Much more common than E. cicutarium in grasslands long-beaked filaree, Erodium botrys Uncommon in grasslands owl's-clover, Castilleja densiflora Most common owl's-clover except on Mesa de Colorado California thistle, Cirsium occidentale var. californicum This native species is often confused with the similar non-native bull thistle
- 2000 Guide to Bloom Identification In The San Gabriel Mountains
- Field Guide to the Santa Rosa Plateau: Plants
Copyright © 2006 by Jane Strong and Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 1 March 2006.