Bloom Identification Guide For The Santa Rosa Plateau: Identification Changes and Additional Species

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Plant lists provided by amateurs, such as we were when we originally made this list, are usually 90% accurate, and thus of great use to others that are less familiar with plant species in providing identifications.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 2006Correct Name Given in 2006Comments
Chaparral or Pipestem Clematis, Clematis lasianthavirgin's bower, Clematis paucifloraWe have a grand total of a single plant on our trails, on the north loop of the N. Vista Grande Trail.
Hedge Nettle, Stachys bullatarigid hedge-nettle, Stachys ajugoides var. rigida
Wand Chicory or Twiggy Wreath-plant, Stephanomeria virgataSan Diego wreathplant, Stephanomeria diegensis; slender wreathplant,Stephanomeria exigua ssp. deaneiEven the professional botanists who did the Santa Rosa Plateau Flora got this wrong!
Mountain Mahogany, Cercocarpus betuloidesSan Diego mountain mahogany, Cercocarpus minutiflorusThese look alike except for the underneath of the leaves; C. minutiflorus mostly lacks hairs; C. betuloides has hairs.
California Blackberry, Rubus ursinusHimalaya blackberry*, Rubus discolorOnly present along Adobe Creek
Goldfields, Lasthenia chrysostomaGoldfields, Lasthenia californicaSame species; just an updated name.
California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicuswestern buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalisThere 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 intermediacommon fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii var. intermediaSame species; just an updated name.
Black Mustard, Brassica nigrashortpod mustard, Hirschfeldia incanaWe 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 purpurascenspurple owl's-clover, Castilleja exsertaSame species; just an updated name.
Wild Brodiaea, Brodiaea jolonensisearth brodiaea, Brodiaea terrestris ssp. kernensisB. 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 2006Name Given in 2006Comments
Bird's Beak, Cordylanthus sp.Bristly Bird's Beak, Cordylanthus rigidus ssp. setigerusThis 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 parviflorusThis 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 fulvusPlagiobothrys 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 vaseyiThis 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 laetiflorusSan Diego pea, Lathyrus vestitus var. alefeldiiUpdated name, added variety.
Thistle, Cirsium sp.Bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare

Deleted Species

Species Deleted In 2006Comments
Nightshade, Solanum douglasiiwe don't have any white-flowered nightshades here.
Fernleaf Phacelia, Phacelia distansP. distans is blue-flowered, not white, and doesn't occur here.
wild sweet pea, Lathyrus vestitusour sweet pea doesn't have white flowers.
Yarrow, Achillea millefoliumwe don't have this species on any trail.
Smoothleaf Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon trichocalyxwe don't have this species on any trail.
Bitter Cherry, Prunus emarginatawe don't have this species on any trail.
Chaparral Whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermiswe don't have this species on any trail.
Bigberry Manzanita, Arctostaphylos glaucawe don't have this species on any trail.
Silk-tassel bush, Garrya veatchiiwe 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 molliswe don't have this species on any trail.
Paintbrush, Castilleja sp.we don't have this species on any trail.
Bermuda Buttercup, Oxalis pes-capraenot present at the SRP.
Golden Eardrops, Dicentra chrysanthanot known to be present at the SRP on trails, but may appear in the chaparral after a fire
Senecio, Senecio flaccidus var. douglasiinot present at the SRP.
California Bush Sunflower, Encelia californicanot present at the SRP.
Canyon Sunflower, Venegasia carpesiodesnot present at the SRP.
Coffeeberry, Rhamnus californicaonly a single off-trail plant is present at the SRP.
Water Speedwell*, Veronica anagallis-aquaticanot present at the SRP.

Added Species

Species Added To The Guide in 2006Comments
small-seeded spurge, Chamaesyce polycarpaC. polycarpa is found in chaparral on the Wiashal Trail; C. albomarginata is found in grasslands.
White Forget-Me-Not, Cryptantha muricataThis 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. menziesiiThe only difference from var. intermedia is that this taxon has distinctly-smaller flowers.
Pacific sanicle, Sanicula crassicaulisFlower 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 gracilentusThis is more frequent than H. annuus at the SRP.
San Diego tarweed, Hemizonia paniculataCommon on the north half of the SRP.
short-fruited filaree, Erodium brachycarpumMuch more common than E. cicutarium in grasslands
long-beaked filaree, Erodium botrysUncommon in grasslands
owl's-clover, Castilleja densifloraMost common owl's-clover except on Mesa de Colorado
California thistle, Cirsium occidentale var. californicumThis native species is often confused with the similar non-native bull thistle

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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.