Flora of Mescal Bajada Area, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Fig. 1. A labeled panoramic view of a large part of the Mescal Bajada from just west of the summit of Round Granite Hill, looking mostly south, similar to the view of the Bajada from SR78. Click on the picture for a larger version showing more area; compare to a labeled Google Earth Image, also with south up.

Field Work and Voucher Search


The Mescal Bajada is directly south of Borrego Valley and north of the Pinyon Mountains, in the area between Sentenac Canyon on the west and The Narrows on the east. The Bajada is formed from the merged alluvial fans of Pinyon, Nolina, Bighorn, Mine and Chuckwalla Canyons. San Felipe Creek truncates and drains the lower end of the Bajada. The Mescal Bajada is named for the large numbers of Agave deserti present here; mescal is the alcoholic beverage made from its relative in Mexico, Agave americana.

The area for this flora includes the Bajada itself, and the portions of the canyons above it that are easily reached on a day's hike from the Bajada. The uppermost canyons that are accessed more easily from Pinyon Mountain Road are not included in this area. Fig. 2 shows the boundaries of this flora.

Fig. 2. The red line delineates the boundaries for the Mescal Bajada floristic area.

For more information about hiking this area, and many beautiful pix of the area and the flowers found here, see the pages by Fred Melgert and Carla Hoegen (organized roughly west to east):

Field Work and Voucher Search

This checklist is compiled from fieldwork by the authors in this area, and from a search for vouchers from this area.

Field Work

Table 1 gives the fieldwork done in this area.

Table 1. Fieldwork Done in the Mescal Bajada

02/27/11Mine Canyon to saddleTom Chester, Vince Balch, Mary Jo Churchwell, Mike Crouse and James Dillane
03/04/11Mine Canyon to saddle Tom Chester, Vince Balch, Mary Jo Churchwell, Kate Harper and RT Hawke
05/20/11Mine Canyon Pholisma branch Tom Chester and James Dillane
11/22/11Pinyon CanyonTom Chester, Mike Crouse, James Dillane, Kate Harper, RT and Shaun Hawke, Keir Morse, Pam Pallette, Mike McElhatton and Bill Sullivan
02/02/14short survey near mile 3 of Mine Canyon RoadTom Chester, Kate Harper, Frank Harris and Keir Morse
02/07/14Bighorn CanyonTom Chester, Adrienne Ballwey, James Dillane and Kate Harper
02/11/14Nolina CanyonTom Chester, Adrienne Ballwey, Kate Harper, Frank Harris and Jim Roberts
02/20/14Pinyon Canyon / Harper FlatTom Chester, Kate Harper, James Dillane, and Adrienne Ballwey
01/03/16Round Granite HillTom Chester and Kate Harper


A voucher search was made for the area draining into the Mescal Bajada south of SR78, on the northern side of the North Pinyon Mountains and Pinyon Mountains from Plum Canyon on the west to Pinyon Wash on the east, including a few vouchers from Quartz Vein Wash.

The vouchers come from a search on 25 January 2011 of the Consortium of California Herbaria.

The Consortium records were searched for vouchers with coordinates between 33.07 and 33.13° N. Latitude, and -116.43 and -116.27 E. Longitude. This search returned 410 vouchers after tossing ones not in the target area.

Localities of those vouchers were examined, and additional searches were made to find ones in San Diego County from those localities, including Mescal Bajada; Nolina Wash; Mine Wash; Round Granite Hill; Pinyon Wash. The detailed localities of those vouchers were examined and three not in the target area were eliminated.

460 vouchers were found of 191 taxa. Eight collectors individually collected over 5% of the total vouchers, and collectively were responsible for 285 (62%) of those vouchers, with Larry Hendrickson far and away the dominant collector here, responsible for 19% of all the vouchers from this area; see Table 2.

Table 2. Top Voucher Collectors

# VouchersCollector
89Larry Hendrickson
36Duffie Clemons, Erik Jonsson
33Frank F. Gander
30Jeannie Gregory, John Gregory
28K. R. Morgan
25Melvin M. Sweet
22Jon P. Rebman, J. Gibson, A. Winner, & misc. botany vols.
22T. S. Elias, K. Tomlinson, D. Kama, M. Williams

Checklist for Mescal Bajada Area


An asterisk before the common name indicates a non-native species.

The column #V is the number of vouchers for each taxon from the Consortium, with a maximum value of 9.

The columns with overall header of #Pl gives the number of plants observed in five separate areas:

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (8 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (2 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

#FamScientific Name(*)Common Name#V#Pls
1SelSelaginella eremophiladesert spike-moss19921999950
2PteCheilanthes covilleibeady lipfern2 2623
3PteCheilanthes parryiwoolly lipfern91555209999
4PteCheilanthes viscidasticky lipfern  99 113
5PteNotholaena californica ssp. californicaCalifornia cloak fern  811520
6PtePellaea mucronata var. mucronatabird's-foot fern1 3122
7CupJuniperus californicaCalifornia juniper2 61409950
8EphEphedra asperaMormon tea4299509999
9EphEphedra californicadesert tea4152   
10AcaCarlowrightia arizonicaArizona carlowrightia  32   
11AcaJusticia californicachuparosa9999999 1
12AmaAmaranthus fimbriatusfringed amaranth15050509999
13AnaRhus aromaticabasketbush1     
14ApiApiastrum angustifoliumwild celery  2   
15ApoAsclepias albicanswhite-stemmed milkweed    2 
16ApoAsclepias subulatarush milkweed     4
17ApoFunastrum cynanchoides var. hartwegiiclimbing milkweed  2599 
18ApoFunastrum hirtellumrambling milkweed   3010 
19ApoMatelea parvifoliaspearleaf1 2   
20AstAcamptopappus sphaerocephalus var. sphaerocephalusgoldenhead  1  10
21AstAdenophyllum porophylloidesSan Felipe dogweed3590102520
22AstAmbrosia dumosaburroweed29953207599
23AstAmbrosia salsola var. salsolacheesebush45099504099
24AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. albulawhite mugwort1     
25AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incomptamountain mugwort  40537
26AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludovicianasilver wormwood1     
27AstBaccharis brachyphyllashort-leaved baccharis1 11 4018
28AstBaccharis sergiloidesdesert baccharis   921 
29AstBahiopsis parishiiParish's goldeneye649952540
30AstBebbia juncea var. asperasweetbush32599995050
31AstBrickellia atractyloides var. argutaCalifornia spear-leaved brickellia  8  5
32AstBrickellia desertorumdesert brickellia1 2025201
33AstBrickellia frutescensshrubby brickellia1 132155
34AstChaenactis carphoclinia var. carphocliniapebble pincushion  99  1
35AstChaenactis fremontiiFremont pincushion7 9925993
36AstEncelia actoniActon encelia1    6
37AstEncelia farinosabrittlebush29999999999
38AstEricameria brachylepisboundary goldenbush  4116 
39AstEricameria paniculatablackbanded rabbitbrush2  5020 
40AstEriophyllum wallaceiWallace's woolly daisy3 20   
41AstGutierrezia sarothraematchweed1 35759955
42AstIsocoma acradenia var. acradeniaalkali goldenbush   40  
43AstLasthenia gracilisgoldfields2 20   
44AstLogfia filaginoidesCalifornia filago1 4  1
45AstMalacothrix glabratadesert dandelion3 2   
46AstMonoptilon bellioidesdesert star2 6   
47AstPalafoxia arida var. aridaSpanish needle 1    
48AstPectis papposa var. papposachinch-weed  511599
49AstPerityle emoryiEmory's rock-daisy4 99999999
50AstPleurocoronis plurisetaarrow-leaf  3599991
51AstPorophyllum gracileodora4 352510
52AstRafinesquia neomexicanadesert chicory3 15   
53AstSenecio californicusCalifornia groundsel2 99   
54AstSenecio mohavensisMojave ragwort     1
55AstStephanomeria exigua ssp. exiguaslender wreathplant  20  7
56AstStephanomeria pauciflorawire-lettuce12570999960
57AstTrichoptilium incisumyellow-head1 29  1
58AstTrixis californica var. californicaCalifornia trixis8490302550
59AstUropappus lindleyisilver puffs  1   
60BigChilopsis linearis ssp. arcuatadesert-willow  40401550
61BorAmsinckia intermediacommon fiddleneck3 99   
62BorAmsinckia tessellata var. tessellatabristly fiddleneck3 1  20
63BorCryptantha barbigera var. barbigerabearded cryptantha4 555105
64BorCryptantha decipiensgravel cryptantha1 22  
65BorCryptantha maritimaGuadalupe cryptantha 1099510 
66BorCryptantha micranthared-root cryptantha23   1
67BorCryptantha pterocaryawing-nut cryptantha  2   
68BorCryptantha racemosabushy cryptantha  11  
69BorCryptantha utahensisscented cryptantha1  1  
70BorEmmenanthe penduliflora var. penduliflorawhispering bells6 30 51
71BorEucrypta chrysanthemifolia var. bipinnatifidaeucrypta1 7   
72BorEucrypta micranthadesert eucrypta1     
73BorNama demissa var. demissapurple mat5 20  1
74BorPectocarya peninsularisBaja pectocarya1     
75BorPectocarya recurvatacurvenut combseed5 40 99 
76BorPhacelia crenulata var. minutifloralittle-flowered heliotrope phacelia1~501   
77BorPhacelia distanscommon phacelia10 9975998
78BorPhacelia pedicellatapedicellate phacelia1 71054
79BorPholisma arenariumsand plant 1099   
80BorPholistoma membranaceumwhite fiesta flower5 99   
81BorTiquilia canescens var. canescensgray coldenia3 17   
82BraBoechera perennansperennial rock-cress  9  5
83BraBrassica tournefortii*Sahara mustard 323  99
84BraCaulanthus cooperiCooper's jewel-flower2 2   
85BraCaulanthus lasiophyllusCalifornia mustard3 60510 
86BraDescurainia pinnatawestern tansy-mustard210  15
87BraDithyrea californicaspectacle-pod1     
88BraDraba cuneifoliawedge-leaved draba   1  
89BraLepidium lasiocarpum ssp. lasiocarpumhairy-podded pepper-grass 205541010
90BraLyrocarpa coulteriCoulter's lyrepod6125104020
91BraSisymbrium orientale*Oriental mustard  54  
92BraThysanocarpus curvipesfringe-pod1 3   
93BraTropidocarpum gracileslender tropidocarpum1     
94CacCylindropuntia bigeloviiteddy-bear cholla19999999999
95CacCylindropuntia californica var. parkericane cholla1     
96CacCylindropuntia ganderiGander's cholla19999999999
97CacCylindropuntia ramosissimapencil cholla 5    
98CacEchinocereus engelmanniiEngelmann's hedgehog cactus3259950755
99CacFerocactus cylindraceusCalifornia barrel cactus299996030 
100CacMammillaria dioicaCalifornia fish-hook cactus59999103020
101CacMammillaria tetrancistradesert fish-hook cactus 15  2
102CacOpuntia basilaris var. basilarisbeavertail cactus2770201030
103CacOpuntia chloroticapancake prickly-pear  5   
104CamNemacladus glanduliferusglandular nemacladus  52 11
105CamNemacladus rubescensdesert nemacladus  2   
106CarAchyronychia cooperifrost mat    1 
107CheAtriplex canescens var. canescens (s.l.)four-wing saltbush  13  
108CheAtriplex polycarpacattle saltbush 80    
109CheSalsola tragus*Russian thistle1     
110ClePeritoma arboreabladderpod1  5  
111ConCuscuta californica var. papillosapapillate dodder1  30 5
112CraDudleya arizonicaArizona chalk dudleya    220
113CraDudleya saxosa ssp. aloidesdesert dudleya14523030 
114CucCucurbita palmatacoyote melon2 1  1
115EupBernardia incanawestern bernardia  23 128
116EupChamaesyce melanadeniared-gland spurge1 74253010
117EupChamaesyce micromeraSonoran spurge 256 11
118EupChamaesyce polycarpasmall-seeded spurge59999 299
119EupChamaesyce setilobastarfish (Yuma) spurge2207993099
120EupCroton californicusCalifornia croton2    1
121EupDitaxis lanceolatanarrowleaf ditaxis620605520
122EupDitaxis neomexicanaNew Mexico ditaxis41530   
123EupEuphorbia erianthabeetle spurge129925505
124EupStillingia linearifolialinear-leaved stillingia4 991720
125FabAcmispon argophyllus var. argophyllussouthern California silver-lotus  5 1 
126FabAcmispon glaber var. brevialatusshort-winged deerweed5 23 2 
127FabAcmispon haydoniipygmy lotus1  133012
128FabAcmispon maritimus var. brevivexillusshort-bannered coastal lotus1 19202 
129FabAcmispon rigidusdesert lotus5270304030
130FabAcmispon strigosusstrigose lotus41599995
131FabAstragalus nuttallianus var. cedrosensisCedros milk-vetch2  2  
132FabAstragalus pachypus var. pachypusthick-pod milk-vetch2  1  
133FabAstragalus palmeriPalmer's milk-vetch3 20103510
134FabDalea mollissimadowny dalea114    
135FabLupinus concinnusbajada lupine 225741
136FabLupinus excubitus var. mediusMountain Springs bush lupine     1
137FabLupinus sparsiflorusCoulter's lupine3 3 1 
138FabMarina parryiParry's marina81099302030
139FabOlneya tesotaironwood 3018 50 
140FabProsopis glandulosa var. torreyanahoney mesquite1 119975 
141FabPsorothamnus emoryiEmory's indigo-bush3     
142FabPsorothamnus schottiiindigo bush450155250
143FabPsorothamnus spinosussmoke tree220    
144FabSenegalia greggiicatclaw 4099509999
145FabSenna armataspiny senna360   99
146FabSenna covesiidesert senna1 99   
147FouFouquieria splendens ssp. splendensocotillo19999999999
148GerErodium cicutarium*redstem filaree3199307540
149GerErodium texanumTexas filaree  30   
150KraKrameria bicolorwhite rhatany 4052 1070
151KraKrameria erectaPima rhatany26471313
152LamHyptis emoryidesert-lavender82099999999
153LamSalvia apianawhite sage3 4525155
154LamSalvia columbariaechia6599 299
155LamSalvia vaseyiVasey's sage2 1  1
156LoaMentzelia involucratabracted blazing star1 10   
157LoaPetalonyx linearisnarrow-leaf sandpaper-plant1     
158LoaPetalonyx thurberi ssp. thurberiThurber's sandpaper-plant3    20
159MalAyenia compactaayenia3 6153015
160MalHibiscus denudatusrock hibiscus 30  25
161MalSphaeralcea ambiguaapricot mallow1    12
162MalSphaeralcea ambigua var. ambiguaapricot mallow2 60   
163MolMollugo cerviana*carpet-weed2 99  99
164MonCalyptridium monandrumsand cress1 10   
165NycAllionia incarnatatrailing four o'clock 30 10 25
166NycAllionia incarnata var. incarnatasmall-flowered trailing four o'clock    30 
167NycAllionia incarnata var. villosalarge-flowered trailing four o'clock4     
168NycBoerhavia coccineascarlet spiderling     15
169NycBoerhavia triquetra var. intermediafivewing spiderling25 29999
170NycMirabilis laevis var. crassifoliaCalifornia four o'clock2     
171NycMirabilis laevis var. retrorsaBigelow's desert four-o'clock3271201020
172OnaCamissoniopsis pallida ssp. pallidapale suncup1 3  1
173OnaChylismia cardiophylla ssp. cardiophyllaheartleaf suncup2 10   
174OnaChylismia claviformis ssp. peirsoniibrown-eyed primrose45099302099
175OnaEpilobium canum ssp. latifoliummountain California-fuchsia1  2515 
176OnaEulobus californicusCalifornia suncup39999104015
177OroCastilleja foliolosawoolly Indian paintbrush   111 
178PapEschscholzia minutiflora ssp. minutiflorasmall-flowered poppy5 60  10
179PapEschscholzia parishiiParish's poppy4 6   
180PhrMimulus bigelovii var. bigeloviiBigelow's monkeyflower3 99  7
181PlaAntirrhinum filipesdesert twining snapdragon4     
182PlaPenstemon clevelandii var. clevelandiiCleveland's beardtongue1  21 
183PlaPlantago ovatadesert plantain130    
184PolEriastrum eremicum ssp. eremicumdesert woolly-star299991199
185PolGilia stellatastar gilia3~40102201
186PolLeptosiphon aureus ssp. aureusgolden linanthus1     
187PolLoeseliastrum schottiiSchott's calico     1
188PolChorizanthe brevicornu var. brevicornubrittle spineflower3 2  1
189PolEriogonum davidsoniiDavidson's buckwheat  18  1
190PolEriogonum fasciculatum var. polifoliumCalifornia buckwheat2299504050
191PolEriogonum inflatumdesert trumpet4151550355
192PolEriogonum plumatellayucca buckwheat1    99
193PolEriogonum thomasiiThomas' buckwheat     1
194PolEriogonum wrightii var. membranaceumWright's buckwheat  10   
195PolEriogonum wrightii var. nodosumWright's buckwheat22050999950
196PolPterostegia drymarioidesfairy bowties, threadstem  15  1
197RanDelphinium parishii ssp. subglobosumintermediate larkspur1 54 53
198RhaZiziphus parryi var. parryilotebush  3   
199RosColeogyne ramosissimablack brush3 361150
200RosPrunus fremontiidesert apricot3 55209999
201RubGalium angustifolium ssp. borregoenseBorrego bedstraw  5  1
202RubGalium stellatumstar-flowered bedstraw4160103525
203RutThamnosma montanaturpentine broom2 3 310
204SimSimmondsia chinensisjojoba61055255099
205SolDatura discolordesert thornapple 10    
206SolLycium andersoniiAnderson's boxthorn2 99504050
207SolLycium fremontiiFremont's boxthorn1  1  
208SolNicotiana obtusifoliadesert tobacco2 3032 30
209SolPhysalis crassifoliathick-leaved ground cherry5499252025
210TamTamarix ramosissima*saltcedar   1  
211UrtParietaria hespera var. hesperapellitory1 21   
212VerVerbena lasiostachyswestern vervain1     
213VisPhoradendron bolleanumdense mistletoe     4
214VisPhoradendron californicumdesert mistletoe4699509930
215ZygFagonia laevisCalifornia fagonia21020 2 
216ZygLarrea tridentatacreosote bush19999252599
217AgaAgave deserti var. desertidesert agave39999999999
218AgaYucca schidigeraMohave yucca1 51 250
219PoaAristida adscensionissix-weeks three-awn1999969950
220PoaAristida californicaCalifornia three-awn 99    
221PoaAristida purpureapurple three-awn  152157
222PoaAristida purpurea var. nealleyiNealley three-awn1     
223PoaAvena barbata*slender wild oats  1   
224PoaBouteloua aristidoides var. aristidoidesneedle grama221029999
225PoaBouteloua barbata var. barbatasix-weeks grama 99  9999
226PoaBromus diandrus*ripgut brome  60   
227PoaBromus madritensis ssp. rubens*red brome  99999999
228PoaBromus tectorum*downy brome  10   
229PoaDasyochloa pulchellafluff grass1    7
230PoaHilaria rigidabig galleta1992 2099
231PoaMelica frutescenstall melica4 30 110
232PoaMuhlenbergia microspermalittleseed muhly  3029910
233PoaMuhlenbergia porteriPorter's muhly  3  3
234PoaSchismus barbatus*Mediterranean schismus 5099502050
235PoaSporobolus cryptandrussand dropseed     5
236PoaStipa coronatagiant needlegrass  40   
237PoaStipa parishii var. parishiiParish's needlegrass   313
238PoaStipa speciosadesert needlegrass3 15 115
239RusNolina parryiParry's nolina    1 

Voucher data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria (ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/)

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Copyright © 2010-2016 by Tom Chester (8.3), Kate Harper (6.3), James Dillane (5), Adrienne Ballwey (3), Vince Balch (2), Mary Jo Churchwell (2), Mike Crouse (2), RT Hawke (2), Keir Morse (1.3), Frank Harris (1.3), Shaun Hawke (1) and Jim Roberts (1). The number in parentheses is the number of full-day equivalent fieldtrips.
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
Last update: 22 March 2016