Flora of Table Mountain, San Gabriel Mountains

Fig. 1. Two species found in the San Gabriel Mountains only on the carbonate rocks at Table Mountain, or also only in the immediately-adjacent Blue Ridge. Both species are widespread outside of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Left: Gutierrezia microcephala, sticky snakeweed, photo taken by Tom Chester on 23 August 2013 just east of the west summit of Table Mountain. In the San Gabriels, this species is confined to the carbonate rocks at Table Mountain.

Right: Phlox diffusa, spreading phlox, photo taken by Michael Charters on 13 July 2015 just west of the lower parking area on Table Mountain Road. This species is found on the carbonate rocks at Table Mountain, but also has a few localities on the north side of the Blue Ridge immediately south of Table Mountain.

Click on the pictures for larger versions.

Table of Contents

Botanical Highlights
SnGb Geographic Distribution Maps for Table Mountain Species
Species Notes
The Flora
Target Species Found in Nearby Areas


Table Mountain is an unusual place in the San Gabriel Mountains, since it is a high-elevation terrain on the other side of the San Andreas Fault from the rest of the San Gabriel Mountains. Most of the San Gabriel Mountains belongs to the Pacific plate, consisting of highly-fractured plutonic and metamorphic bedrock transported on the southwest side of the San Andreas Fault from roughly the Salton Sea area, over one hundred miles to the southeast of its current location. In contrast, Table Mountain is a piece of the Mojave Desert province of the North American Plate that has been mostly uplifted in place by vertical movement along the San Andreas Fault, making it similar in origin to the northern part of the San Bernardino Mountains that are also on the north side of the San Andreas Fault. In fact, recent evidence shows that the exposed Holcomb Ridge - Table Mountain rocks were formerly south of the same rocks in the western San Bernardino Mountains that are about 17 miles to the east, that were displaced along the Cajon Valley Fault prior to the presence of the San Andreas Fault in this area (see Fig. 5 and stop #A5 in Geology and Hydrology in the Eastern San Gabriel Mountains).

Table Mountain consists of plutonic rocks and gneiss that includes some carbonate rocks that support some plant species not found elsewhere in the San Gabriel Mountains, or have a very limited distribution elsewhere in the San Gabriels (see below).

Table Mountain is in the extreme northeast portion of the San Gabriel Mountains. We define the Table Mountain floristic area extending from Mescal Creek on the west to Sheep Creek on the east, north of the San Andreas Fault in the Wrightwood / Swarthout Valley, and south of the alluvial deposits in the Mojave Desert; see topo map.

This checklist is from six field surveys and from vouchers.

Field Surveys

Fig. 2 shows the first four routes that have been surveyed by us (not yet including our last two surveys), along with voucher locations from Dick Swinney. Other vouchers do not have accurate locations, so cannot be reliably plotted on this map. Note that the surveyed and vouchered locations are a very small part of the entire Table Mountain area, and hence this species list is certainly quite incomplete for the entire area. The checklist is much more complete for the upper elevations of Table Mountain, but undoubtedly is still somewhat complete since no surveys have been done at prime time in a good rainfall year.

Fig. 2. Survey locations (colored lines) and Swinney voucher locations (blue diamonds). Click on the figure for a larger version.

See Michael Charters' Flowering Plants of Table Mountain for photographs from his field visits there on 7/26/09, 8/23/13, 7/2/15, 7/6/15 and 7/13/15. All species seen by him are also in the checklist below. The Checklist below contains a link to the specific page in Michael Charters' Photo Gallery of Table Mountain for species with a photo in that gallery.


Vouchers were searched for the locality of Table Mountain in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties on 20 August 2013. All vouchers appeared to be from Table Mountain itself.

The dominant collector by far was R.G. Swinney, who collected 271 of the 436 vouchers, an amazing 62% of all the vouchers. Without his collections, the flora given on this page would be very incomplete. The second most-prolific collector was R.F. Thorne, who was listed as a collector or co-collector on 76 vouchers, 17% of the total.

Vouchers determined only to the family or genus were rejected. Vouchers determined just to the species were placed within a vouchered subspecies if there was only one.

Checklist numbers

The checklist contains 233 taxa, 191 of which were observed in our surveys and 142 were vouchered from here.

Previous versions of this checklist contained additiona taxa vouchered from nearby areas (Circle Mountain or Pinyon Ridge above 6000 feet), to make the list more complete for future fieldwork. After a field trip at prime time on 10 June 2016, those additional taxa were deleted from the list so that the checklist would more accurately reflect the flora of Table Mountain itself.

Botanical Highlights

Table Mountain is an unusual place for several reasons:

SnGb Geographic Distribution Maps for Table Mountain Species

Tom was struck by finding a number of species at Table Mountain that he had not seen elsewhere in the San Gabriel Mountains. He began a project to take the species found at Table Mountain, and examine their geographic distribution in the San Gabriel Mountains. This project was begun on 16 September 2015, and is currently quite incomplete. Nonetheless, some of the distribution maps produced are already quite interesting, with a set of species found only on the north edge of the San Gabriel Mountains, and some found only on the northeast edge.

See SnGb Geographic Distribution Maps for Species Found at Table Mountain.

Species Notes

The Flora

See Information about the order in which the species are presented, and the links from the Scientific Name and Common Name.

The column #V gives the number of vouchers for this area, with a maximum of 9 vouchers recorded in that field. If there is no entry in that field, that taxon was vouchered in a nearby area, or, for three species, Fritillaria pinetorum, Linanthus concinnus and Yucca brevifolia, added by RT Hawke from his prior observations at Table Mountain. A symbol of ? before the number indicates whether a species is one of those which have a duplicate voucher with a different determination (see Table 1). The duplicate voucher determination will not have a symbol if we have verified that determination in the field, or if that determination was confirmed by other vouchers.

The column #Pls gives the minimum number of plants, up to a maximum of 99, from all the surveys. If there is uncertainty in the determination, the number has a symbol associated with it, ~ for a probable determination, sp or ? for more uncertain determinations.

The column MC gives a link to the specific page in Michael Charters' Flowering Plants of Table Mountain for species with a photo in that gallery.

Version for printing, without lines, the link to Michael Charters' gallery, and other text on this page: html (6 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (2 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

# Fam Scientific Name (*)Common Name #V #Pls MC
1CupCalocedrus decurrensincense-cedar 50 
2CupSequoiadendron giganteum*giant sequoia 9 
3EphEphedra viridisgreen ephedra 60 
4PinAbies concolorwhite fir299 
5PinPinus jeffreyiJeffrey pine999p5 
6PinPinus lambertianasugar pine 99 
7PinPinus monophyllapinyon pine299p5 
8AdoSambucus nigra ssp. caeruleablue elderberry 1 
9AnaRhus aromaticabasketbush 50 
10ApiLomatium dissectum var. multifidumfern-leaved lomatium1  
11ApiLomatium nevadense var. parishiiParish's lomatium82p1 
12ApiTauschia parishiiParish's tauschia335p1 
13ApoApocynum androsaemifoliumspreading dogbane 99 
14ApoAsclepias californicaCalifornia milkweed 99p8 
15AstAgoseris grandiflora var. grandifloragrand mountain dandelion2  
16AstAgoseris retrorsaspear-leaved mountain dandelion 99p7 
17AstAmbrosia acanthicarpabur-ragweed199p4 
18AstAnisocoma acaulisscale-bud2  
19AstAntennaria dimorphalow pussytoes299 
20AstArtemisia dracunculuswild tarragon 99p8 
21AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incomptamountain mugwort 99 
22AstArtemisia tridentatabig sagebrush 99p8 
23AstChaenactis santolinoidessantolina pincushion570p3 
24AstChaenactis stevioidesdesert pincushion1  
25AstCirsium occidentale var. californicumCalifornia thistle299p8 
26AstCorethrogyne filaginifoliaCalifornia-aster160p5 
27AstCrepis acuminatalong-leaved hawksbeard2  
28AstDieteria canescens var. canescenshoary-aster799p4 
29AstEncelia actoniActon encelia 1 
30AstEricameria linearifolianarrowleaf goldenbush 5 
31AstEricameria nauseosa var. bernardinaSan Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush160p3 
32AstEricameria nauseosa var. mohavensisMohave common rabbitbrush?!1  
33AstEricameria nauseosa var. oreophilathreadleaf common rabbitbrush 99p3 
34AstErigeron divergensspreading fleabane 5 
35AstErigeron foliosus var. foliosusleafy daisy399p2 
36AstEriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorumgolden yarrow399p4 
37AstGnaphalium palustrewestern marsh cudweed1  
38AstGutierrezia microcephalasticky snakeweed399p3 
39AstLactuca serriola*prickly lettuce 12 
40AstLessingia glandulifera var. glanduliferasticky lessingia 99 
41AstPackera ionophyllaTehachapi ragwort410 
42AstPleiacanthus spinosusthorny skeleton-plant599p3 
43AstSolidago velutina ssp. californicagoldenrod 99 
44AstStephanomeria exiguaslender wreathplant2  
45AstStephanomeria exigua ssp. coronariaslender wreathplant 99p8 
46AstStephanomeria virgatatwiggy wreath plant1  
47AstTaraxacum officinale*common dandelion250 
48AstTetradymia canescensspineless horsebrush699p7 
49AstTragopogon dubius*yellow salsify 1p6 
50AstUropappus lindleyisilver puffs 1 
51BetAlnus rhombifoliawhite alder 1 
52BorCryptantha echinellaprickly cryptantha?!2  
53BorCryptantha muricata var. denticulataprickly-nut cryptantha26p1 
54BorCryptantha muricata var. jonesiiJones' prickly-nut cryptantha 99p1 
55BorCryptantha oxygonasharp-nut cryptantha5  
56BorCryptantha simulanspine cryptantha2  
57BorEmmenanthe penduliflora var. penduliflorawhispering bells26 
58BorEriodictyon parryipoodle-dog bush 10p6 
59BorEriodictyon trichocalyx var. trichocalyxsmoothleaf yerba santa 99p7 
60BorPhacelia curvipescurve-stem phacelia?!1  
61BorPhacelia davidsoniiDavidson's phacelia299p1 
62BorPhacelia distanscommon phacelia 40 
63BorPhacelia fremontiiFremont's phacelia21p2 
64BorPhacelia imbricataimbricate phacelia599p3 
65BorPhacelia ramosissimabranching phacelia 3 
66BraBoechera californicaCalifornia elegant rock-cress sp1 
67BraBoechera perennansperennial rock-cress1  
68BraBoechera pulchra, B. xylopodabeautiful rock-cress?!2  
69BraBoechera repandaYosemite rockcress 30 
70BraBoechera retrofracta Xmountain rock-cress?!1  
71BraBoechera xylopodaslender & beautiful rock-cress2sp30 
72BraCaulanthus majorslender wild cabbage730p6 
73BraDescurainia pinnatawestern tansy-mustard140 
74BraErysimum capitatum var. capitatumwestern wallflower399p7 
75BraHirschfeldia incana*shortpod mustard 1 
76BraLepidium virginicumwild pepper-grass 65 
77BraSisymbrium altissimum*tumble-mustard299 
78CacOpuntia basilaris var. brachycladashort-joint beavertail 24 
79CacOpuntia phaeacanthadesert prickly-pear 7p2 
80CapSymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishiiParish's snowberry599p5 
81CarEremogone macradenia var. arcuifoliadesert sandwort999p6 
82CarSilene verecundawhite catch-fly540p3 
83CheChenopodium atrovirensforest goosefoot 50 
84CheChenopodium berlandieripit-seed goosefoot 1 
85CheChenopodium fremontiiFremont's goosefoot399p7 
86CheSalsola tragus*Russian thistle199 
87ConCalystegia occidentalis ssp. fulcratawestern morning-glory499p3 
88ConCuscuta californica var. californicaCalifornia dodder ~99 
89EriArctostaphylos parryanaParry manzanita199p6 
90EriArctostaphylos patulagreen-leaf manzanita450p1 
91EriPterospora andromedeapinedrops2  
92EriPyrola dentatatoothed wintergreen 2 
93EriSarcodes sanguineasnow-plant 6 
94EupEuphorbia luridawoodland spurge385p1 
95FabAcmispon americanus var. americanusSpanish clover 6 
96FabAcmispon grandiflorus var. grandifloruschaparral lotus2?1 
97FabAcmispon nevadensis var. davidsoniiDavidson's lotus165 
98FabAcmispon procumbens var. procumbenssilky California broom 99p5 
99FabAstragalus bicristatuscrested milk-vetch980p2 
100FabAstragalus douglasii var. douglasiiJacumba milk-vetch999p2 
101FabAstragalus leucolobusBig Bear Valley woollypod999p2 
102FabHosackia crassifolia var. crassifoliabroad-leaved lotus599p6 
103FabLupinus andersoniiAnderson's lupine4  
104FabLupinus excubitus var. austromontanusmountain grape-soda lupine399p7 
105FabLupinus excubitus var. johnstoniiinterior bush lupine2  
106FabLupinus formosus var. formosuswestern lupine299p7 
107FabLupinus latifoliusbroad-leaf lupine 7 
108FabMelilotus albus*white sweetclover 4 
109FagQuercus chrysolepiscanyon live oak199 
110FagQuercus kelloggiiCalifornia black oak 99p8 
111GarGarrya veatchiicanyon silktassel 2 
112GenFrasera neglectapine green-gentian699p8 
113GerErodium cicutarium*redstem filaree199 
114GroRibes cereum var. cereumwax currant16 
115GroRibes nevadensemountain pink currant 99 
116LamMonardella australis ssp. australissouthern mountain-monardella1  
117LamMonardella linoides ssp. strictanarrowleaf monardella499p6 
118LamStachys albenscobwebby hedge-nettle 50 
119LoaMentzelia congestaclustered blazing star548 
120LoaMentzelia micranthachaparral blazing star1  
121LoaMentzelia montanamountain blazing star 30 
122MalFremontodendron californicumflannelbush499p4 
123MalMalacothamnus fremontiiFremont's bush mallow 99 
124MonCalyptridium monospermumpussy paws 99 
125MonClaytonia parviflora ssp. viridisgreen miner's lettuce?!1  
126MonClaytonia perfoliataminer's lettuce?!3  
127MonClaytonia rubra ssp. rubrared-stemmed miner's lettuce238p4 
128MonLewisia rediviva var. minorbitter root1  
129OnaCamissoniopsis confusaSan Bernardino suncup 2 
130OnaEpilobium canum ssp. latifoliummountain California-fuchsia 99p6 
131OnaGayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorumgroundsmoke?!110 
132OnaGayophytum heterozygumzig-zag gayophytum120p1 
133OnaGayophytum oligospermumpinegrove groundsmoke 99p5 
134OnaOenothera californica ssp. californicaCalifornia evening-primrose 60 
135OroCastilleja applegatei ssp. martiniiMartin's paintbrush599p1 
136OroCastilleja chromosanorthwestern paintbrush?!1  
137OroCordylanthus neviniiNevin's bird's beak399p3 
138OroOrobanche californica ssp. feudgeiCalifornia broomrape ~7p2 
139OroOrobanche fasciculataclustered broomrape 30 
140OroPedicularis semibarbatapine lousewort499p3 
141PapArgemone munitaprickly poppy335p8 
142PhrMimulus cardinalisscarlet monkeyflower 99 
143PlaAntirrhinum coulterianumCoulter's snapdragon 5 
144PlaCollinsia callosadesert collinsia1  
145PlaCollinsia torreyi var. wrightiiWright's collinsia215p6 
146PlaPenstemon centranthifoliusscarlet bugler 99p7 
147PlaPenstemon grinnellii var. grinnelliiGrinnell's beardtongue 75p6 
148PlaPenstemon labrosusSan Gabriel beardtongue299p3 
149PlaPenstemon rostriflorusbeaked penstemon 99p3 
150PlaPenstemon speciosusshowy penstemon699p1 
151PolEriastrum densifoliumgiant woolly-star599p5 
152PolEriastrum sapphirinum ssp. dasyanthumsapphire woolly-star 99p2 
153PolEriastrum sapphirinum ssp. sapphirinumsapphire woolly-star4  
154PolGilia brecciarum ssp. brecciarumNevada gilia?!2  
155PolGilia diegensiscoastal gilia1  
156PolGilia modocensisModoc gilia?!320 
157PolGilia ochroleuca ssp. vividaSan Gabriel Mountain gilia25p7 
158PolGilia sinuatarosy gilia?!1  
159PolLeptosiphon breviculusMojave linanthus599p4 
160PolLinanthus concinnusSan Gabriel linanthus 99 
161PolLinanthus pungensgranite prickly phlox 2 
162PolPhlox diffusaspreading phlox299p2 
163PolSaltugilia splendens ssp. splendenssplendid gilia499p1 
164PolAcanthoscyphus parishii var. parishiiParish's oxytheca399p5 
165PolChorizanthe watsoniiWatson's spineflower2  
166PolEriogonum baileyi var. baileyiBailey's buckwheat?!3  
167PolEriogonum cithariforme var. agninumCithara buckwheat199 
168PolEriogonum davidsoniiDavidson's buckwheat?!199p8 
169PolEriogonum fasciculatum var. polifoliumCalifornia buckwheat 99p8 
170PolEriogonum microthecumslender buckwheat599p1 
171PolEriogonum nudum var. pauciflorumnaked buckwheat399p6 
172PolEriogonum parishiiParish's buckwheat499 
173PolEriogonum saxatilerock buckwheat490p3 
174PolEriogonum umbellatum var. munziisulphur buckwheat399p4 
175PolEriogonum wrightii var. subscaposumWright's buckwheat499p1 
176PolPolygonum aviculare ssp. depressum*knotweed 99 
177RanClematis ligusticifoliavirgin's bower 99p6 
178RanDelphinium parishii ssp. parishiiParish's larkspur150 
179RanDelphinium patens ssp. hepaticoideumspreading larkspur?!1  
180RanDelphinium patens ssp. montanumspreading larkspur?!1  
181RhaCeanothus cordulatusmountain whitethorn399 
182RhaCeanothus vestitusMojave ceanothus399p8 
183RhaFrangula californicaCalifornia coffeeberry 12p4 
184RosAmelanchier pallidapallid service-berry140 
185RosCercocarpus betuloides var. betuloidesbirch-leaf mountain-mahogany 99 
186RosCercocarpus ledifoliuscurl-leaf mountain-mahogany425p2 
187RosDrymocallis glandulosa var. viscidasticky cinquefoil 99 
188RosPrunus fasciculata var. fasciculatadesert almond 99 
189RosPurshia tridentata var. glandulosadesert bitterbrush 99 
190RosRosa woodsii ssp. gratissimainterior rose 99 
191RubGalium angustifolium ssp. angustifoliumnarrowleaf bedstraw 1 
192RubGalium johnstoniiJohnston's bedstraw599p4 
193RubGalium parishiiParish's bedstraw44p3 
194SalPopulus fremontii ssp. fremontiiFremont cottonwood 1 
195SalSalix lasiolepisarroyo willow 35 
196SolNicotiana attenuatacoyote tobacco 2 
197SolSolanum xantipurple nightshade 99 
198VioViola pinetorumpine violet2  
199VioViola purpurea ssp. mohavensisMojave goosefoot violet4  
200VisArceuthobium campylopodumpine dwarf-mistletoe299 
201VisPhoradendron bolleanumfir mistletoe 99p1 
202VisPhoradendron serotinum ssp. tomentosumoak mistletoe299p4 
203AgaHesperoyucca whippleichaparral yucca 99p1 
204AgaYucca brevifoliajoshua tree x 
205AllAllium burlewiiBurlew's onion 12 
206CypCarex douglasiiDouglas' sedge499 
207CypCarex fractafragile sheath sedge 99 
208JunJuncus macrophylluslong-leaved rush2  
209JunJuncus mexicanusMexican rush 99 
210JunJuncus nevadensis var. nevadensisSierra rush 99 
211JunJuncus saximontanusRocky Mountain rush1  
212LilCalochortus invenustusplain mariposa lily499 
213LilCalochortus palmeriPalmer's mariposa1  
214LilFritillaria pinetorumpine-woods fritillary11 
215PoaAgropyron cristatum ssp. pectinatum*desert crested wheatgrass 45 
216PoaBromus carinatus var. marginatusMountain brome199p8 
217PoaBromus tectorum*downy brome399 
218PoaElymus elymoidessquirreltail799p8 
219PoaElymus glaucus ssp. glaucusblue wildrye199 
220PoaElymus hispidus*intermediate wheatgrass299p4 
221PoaElymus ponticus*tall wheatgrass 10 
222PoaElymus trachycaulus ssp. trachycaulusslender wheatgrass 30 
223PoaFestuca microstachyssmall fescue 30 
224PoaMelica imperfectacoast-range melic 5 
225PoaPoa secundaone-sided blue grass399 
226PoaStipa coronatagiant needlegrass25 
227PoaStipa hymenoidesIndian ricegrass570p8 
228PoaStipa occidentalis var. pubescensElmer's needlegrass?!2~50 
229PoaStipa parishii var. parishiiParish's needlegrass465p8 
230PoaStipa speciosadesert needlegrass 99 
231PoaStipa thurberianaThurber's needlegrass?!1  
232TheMuilla coronatacrowned muilla1  
233TheMuilla maritimamuilla1  

Target Species Found in Nearby Areas

The following species have been vouchered from nearby areas (Circle Mountain or Pinyon Ridge above 6000 feet), but have not yet been found at Table Mountain itself. These species should be looked for on future surveys.

Table 2. Target Species Found in Nearby Areas

Target Species
Acmispon argophyllus var. argophyllus
Camissoniopsis hirtella
Ceanothus leucodermis
Chaenactis xantiana
Chamaesyce albomarginata
Cryptantha circumscissa var. circumscissa
Dactylis glomerata
Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum
Ehrendorferia chrysantha
Erigeron breweri var. covillei
Eriogonum maculatum
Eriogonum pusillum
Eriogonum viridescens
Festuca arundinacea
Galium angustifolium ssp. nudicaule
Garrya flavescens
Loeseliastrum matthewsii
Lomatium mohavense
Lonicera interrupta
Malacothrix glabrata
Melica stricta
Microsteris gracilis
Nemacladus sigmoideus
Quercus john-tuckeri
Salvia columbariae
Solanum umbelliferum
Viola purpurea ssp. quercetorum

Voucher data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria (ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/) on 20 August 2013.

Tom thanks Jane Strong for originally pointing out some of the questionable taxa in the list came from duplicate vouchers with different determinations. Both of us were very surprised at how many differently-determined duplicate vouchers there were in this set!

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Copyright © 2013-2016 by Tom Chester (6), Michael Charters (4), Nancy Accola (4), RT Hawke (3.5), James Dillane (3), Keir Morse (2), Shaun Hawke (1.8), Walt Fidler (1.5), Jane Tirrell (1.5), and Adrienne Ballwey (1). The number in parentheses is the number of fieldtrips in which each person participated, with partial days counting as a fraction of a day.
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: 13 June 2016