A Quantitative Flora of Wellman Cienega, San Jacinto Mountains

Tom Chester, Dave Stith, James Dillane, Krista Adamek and Michael Charters

Pano of four individual photos showing the North Wellman Cienega from its upper point looking east, by Tom Chester. Note the person (Krista Adamek) at upper left for scale. The tree-covered valley formed by Willow Creek is in the middle to far distance, which joins Tahquitz Valley in the far distance. The lowest point on the horizon is the Caramba area. Sam Fink Peak is the rocky peak just south of Caramba. See also larger picture, and picture showing the camera location, taken by Krista Adamek with Tom Chester in the middle


Wellman Cienega is located at 8960-9420 feet (2730-2870 m) elevation in the San Jacinto Mountains, and is the headwaters of Willow Creek in the Tahquitz Valley. For more information about Willow Creek and the Tahquitz Valley, including their location plotted on a large-scale map, see A Quantitative Flora of Willow and Tahquitz Creeks.

The USGS topographic map (the San Jacinto Peak 7.5' sheet) shows Wellman Cienega as two nearby separate areas, a north Cienega and a south Cienega. The centers of each are separated by ~0.25 miles, and their closest edges are separated by ~0.15 miles. Each Cienega is roughly circular, with a diameter of ~0.1 miles and an area of ~5 acres (2 hectares), although the north Cienega is actually somewhat bigger than the South Cienega.

However, most of the area between the two Cienegas is somewhat moist, with lots of bracken and some other wet area species such as Lupinus latifolius. There is also a much smaller wet area just to the south of the North Cienega. No additional species were found in any of this in-between area, and the species abundance estimates below do not include that area.

See also a Google satellite map showing these areas (labeled version) and a pano of the northern boggy area of the south Wellman Cienega taken from the trail.

This flora of Wellman Cienega was compiled from three surveys:

In addition, a one hour trip was done on 12 October 2010 in order to confirm the determination of the Thalictrum species, which resulted in finding two more species for the south Cienega and one more species for the north Cienega.

Since this Checklist results from only a total of seven hours of surveying on four different days, with some parts of the Cienega unsurveyed, it undoubtedly is incomplete.

Numbers of Species in the North and South Cienega

We observed a total of 79 species in one or both of the Cienegas. Of those, 56 are wet area species observed in at least one of the Cienegas. (The others were dry area species found incidentally around the periphery of the meadows.)

Of those 56 wet-area species, 12 were observed only in the south Cienega; 4 were observed only in the north Cienega; and 40 were observed in both Cienegas. (See the checklist below to see the species in each category.)

These numbers are consistent with those expected from the fundamental species / area relationship in which the number of species scales as area to roughly the 1/3 power. If the two meadows are equal in size, and the exponent is 1/3, one would expect 60% of the species observed in at least one meadow to be found in both meadows, and 20% of the species to be confined to each meadow, calculated as follows.

The number of species in the combined area is the third root of 2, about 1.25, times the number in each half. Thus 0.25 out of 1.25, or 20%, of the total species will be found only in each half, making a total of 40% of the species will be found only in one half or the other. Only 60% of the species will be found in both areas.

Out of 56 species, that would be 34.0 ± 5.8 expected to be in both meadows, and 11.2 ± 3.3 to be in just one meadow.

The number observed in both meadows is 40, which is off by only one standard deviation from that expected, an entirely expected excursion. The 12 species observed only in the south Cienega is almost precisely that expected, and the 4 observed only in the north Cienega is off by only 7.2 / 3.3 = 2.2 standard deviations, which is within the realm of the difference expected due to chance.

Checklist for Wellman Cienega

The Checklist is sorted first by category - ferns, dicots, and monocots - and then by family and scientific name. The Family and Scientific Name are from the 1993 Jepson Manual. An asterisk before the Common Name would indicate a non-native taxon, but none were found here. (Note that it is debated whether Poa pratensis is native or non-native to the mountains of southern California.)

To save space, a three letter abbreviation is used for the Family. See Plant Family Abbreviations to decode the abbreviation.

The column labeled #Plants is our estimate of the minimum number of plants for each taxon in each of our surveys, separately for each Cienega. The maximum value is 99 plants. The main intent of this column is to indicate the species for which we found few plants.

The column labeled #SnJt is the number of occurrences for each taxon in all of our San Jacinto Mountain surveys. Taxa with a 1 in that column have been found so far only in this Cienega.

The column labeled Wet indicates whether a taxon grows in wet areas such as the Cienegas themselves. Such a designation does not imply that a species grows only in such areas. For example, Carex fracta grows in dryish areas as well as wet areas. Other taxa on the checklist were encountered around the edge of the meadow.

See the Photo Gallery by Michael Charters for pictures of some of the species observed along the trip from the Tram in Long Valley to Wellman Cienega.

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (3 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (1 double-sided page). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

#JM FamilyScientific Name(*)Common Name#Plants#SnJtWet
1DENPteridium aquilinum var. pubescensbracken999945W
2PINAbies concolorwhite fir 152 
3PINPinus contorta ssp. murrayanalodgepole pine409928 
4PINPinus jeffreyiJeffrey pine3149 
5APIOxypolis occidentaliswestern cow-bane 993W
6APIPerideridia parishiiParish's yampah999914W
7APISphenosciadium capitellatumranger's buttons51031W
8ASTAchillea millefoliumyarrow999936W
9ASTAster alpigenus var. andersoniiAnderson's oreastrum-aster99993W
10ASTChrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. bernardinusSan Bernardino rubber rabbitbrush20 38 
11ASTHelenium bigeloviiBigelow's sneezeweed20 1W
12ASTSolidago californicagoldenrod 2039 
13CAPSymphoricarpos rotundifolius var. parishiiParish's snowberry202040 
14CARSagina saginoidespearlwort10125W
15CARSilene verecunda ssp. platyotawhite catch-fly101036 
16CHEChenopodium atrovirensforest goosefoot50116 
17CHEChenopodium fremontiiFremont's goosefoot 1020 
18ERIArctostaphylos patulagreen-leaf manzanita2 30 
19ERIRhododendron occidentalewestern azalea 231W
20FABLotus nevadensis var. nevadensisSierra Nevada lotus 337 
21FABLupinus latifolius var. parishiiParish's lupine1316W
22FABTrifolium monanthum var. grantianummountain carpet clover309931W
23FAGChrysolepis sempervirensbush chinquapin999937 
24GERGeranium californicumCalifornia geranium999925W
25GRORibes cereum var. cereumwax currant51035 
26GRORibes roezlii var. roezliiSierra gooseberry40127 
27HYDPhacelia mutabilischangeable phacelia205034 
28HYPHypericum anagalloidestinker's penny999910W
29LAMMonardella australissouthern mountain-monardella502013 
30LAMStachys ajugoides var. rigidarigid hedge-nettle201024W
31ONAEpilobium canum ssp. latifoliummountain California-fuchsia301545 
32ONAEpilobium ciliatumwillowherb303032W
33ONAEpilobium glaberrimum ssp. glaberrimumglaucus willowherb202023W
34ONAEpilobium oregonenseslimstem willowweed222W
35ONAGayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorumgroundsmoke995016W
36POLAllophyllum divaricatumpurple false-gilia 521W
37POLRumex salicifolius var. salicifoliuswillow-leaved dock991020W
38PRIDodecatheon alpinumalpine shooting star99994W
39RANThalictrum fendleri var. fendleriFendler's meadow-rue52025W
40RHACeanothus cordulatusmountain whitethorn1 40 
41ROSHolodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllusmountain spray15216 
42ROSHorkelia clevelandiiCleveland's horkelia999926W
43ROSPotentilla glandulosa ssp. nevadensisNevada cinquefoil305021W
44ROSPrunus emarginatabitter cherry 1522 
45SCRCastilleja applegatei ssp. martiniiMartin's paintbrush3 29 
46SCRCastilleja miniata ssp. miniatagiant red paintbrush20830W
47SCRMimulus breweriBrewer's monkeyflower 29W
48SCRMimulus cardinalisscarlet monkeyflower3 17W
49SCRMimulus floribundusfloriferous monkeyflower 59W
50SCRMimulus moschatusmusk monkeyflower209932W
51SCRMimulus primuloides ssp. primuloidesprimrose monkeyflower999912W
52SCRMimulus suksdorfiiSuksdorf's monkeyflower 14W
53SCRMimulus tilingiilarger mountain monkeyflower999938W
54SCRVeronica serpyllifolia ssp. humifusathyme-leaved speedwell 1018W
55URTUrtica dioica ssp. holosericeastinging nettle201010W
56CYPCarex abruptaabrupt-beak sedge102018W
57CYPCarex fractafragile sheath sedge509940W
58CYPCarex heteroneura var. heteroneuravari-nerved sedge30 8W
59CYPCarex nebrascensisNebraska sedge 991W
60CYPCarex sentaswamp sedge999936W
61IRISisyrinchium bellumblue-eyed grass99503W
62JUNJuncus duraniiDuran's rush 18W
63JUNJuncus longistylislong-styled rush50 13W
64JUNJuncus macrandruslong-anthered rush999926W
65JUNLuzula comosahairy wood rush109921W
66LILCalochortus invenustusplain mariposa lily 124 
67LILLilium parryilemon lily4631W
68LILSmilacina stellatalittle false-solomon's-seal 411W
69LILVeratrum californicum var. californicumCalifornia corn lily999920W
70ORCPlatanthera leucostachyswhite bog orchid5027W
71POAAgrostis idahoensisIdaho bentgrass995037W
72POABromus carinatus var. carinatusCalifornia brome502025W
73POADeschampsia elongataslender hairgrass 5031W
74POAElymus glaucus ssp. glaucusblue wildrye50204W
75POAElymus trachycaulusslender wheatgrass 2018 
76POAMuhlenbergia andinafoxtail muhly 3011W
77POAMuhlenbergia richardsonismat muhly991017W
78POAPhleum alpinummountain timothy301514W
79POAPoa pratensis ssp. agassizensisKentucky blue grass50724W

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Copyright © 2010 by Tom Chester, Dave Stith, James Dillane, Krista Adamek and Michael Charters.
Commercial rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce any or all of this page for individual or non-profit institutional internal use as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 15 September 2012