Critically Imperiled (NatureServe)
Thysanocarpus conchuliferus is a rare species of flowering plant in the mustard family known by the common name Santa Cruz Island fringepod.It is endemic to Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands of California, where has been recently observed at only one location; some years it is totally absent.
Brassicaceae or Cruciferae is a medium-sized and economically important family of flowering plants commonly known as the mustards, the crucifers, or the cabbage family. Most are herbaceous plants, some shrubs, with simple, although sometimes deeply incised, alternatingly set leaves without stipules or in leaf rosettes, with terminal inflorescences without bracts, containing flowers with four free sepals, four free alternating petals, two short and four longer free stamens, and a fruit with seeds in rows, divided by a thin wall.
Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. The extreme opposite of endemism is cosmopolitan distribution. An alternative term for a species that is endemic is precinctive, which applies to species that are restricted to a defined geographical area.
Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the eight islands in the Channel Islands and also the largest island in California, located off the coast of California. The island, in the northern group of the Channel Islands, is 22 miles (35 km) long and from 2 to 6 miles wide with an area of 61,764.6 acres (249.952 km2). Santa Cruz Island is located within Santa Barbara County, California. The coastline has steep cliffs, gigantic sea caves, coves, and sandy beaches. Defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block 3000, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10 of Santa Barbara County, the 2000 census showed an official population of two persons. The highest peak is Devils Peak, at 2450+ feet. It was the largest privately owned island off the continental United States but is currently jointly owned by the National Park Service (24%), and the Nature Conservancy (76%).
It is a federally listed endangered species of the United States, and a review by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 2009 suggests it should remain on the list.The plant's habitat is the coastal scrub on the rocky, windblown slopes and canyons of its single island.
An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as very likely to become extinct. Endangered (EN), as categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN's schema after Critically Endangered (CR).
This is a delicate annual herb with slender, waxy stems growing no more than about 20 centimeters long. The leaves are linear or lance-shaped with toothed edges or sometimes lobes, and a base that clasps the stem. The inflorescence is a dense raceme of flowers with four spoon-shaped white to purple petals each about 2 millimeters long. The fruit is a flat, round, disc-like capsule with a fringed, often perforated wing encircling it.
An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Morphologically, it is the modified part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed. The modifications can involve the length and the nature of the internodes and the phyllotaxis, as well as variations in the proportions, compressions, swellings, adnations, connations and reduction of main and secondary axes. Inflorescence can also be defined as the reproductive portion of a plant that bears a cluster of flowers in a specific pattern.
A raceme is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers along its axis. In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inflorescence-like racemes, the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit. A plant that flowers on a showy raceme may have this reflected in its scientific name, e.g. Cimicifuga racemosa. A compound raceme, also called a panicle, has a branching main axis. Examples of racemes occur on mustard and radish plants.
Threats to the species have included herbivory by non-native animal species such as feral pigs, picking and trampling of plants by collectors of rare species, competition from introduced and weedy plant species such as ice plant (Carpobrotus spp.), fire suppression, and climate change.The feral pigs, which damaged many populations of rare plants, have been removed from the Channel Islands.
An introduced species is a species living outside its native distributional range, but which has arrived there by human activity, either deliberate or accidental. Non-native species can have various effects on the local ecosystem. Introduced species that become established and spread beyond the place of introduction are called invasive species. The impact of introduced species is highly variable. Some have a negative effect on a local ecosystem, while other introduced species may have no negative effect or only minor impact. Some species have been introduced intentionally to combat pests. They are called biocontrols and may be regarded as beneficial as an alternative to pesticides in agriculture for example. In some instances the potential for being beneficial or detrimental in the long run remains unknown.
The feral pig is a pig living in the wild, but which has descended from escaped domesticated individuals in both the Old and New Worlds. Razorback and wild hog are American colloquialisms, loosely applied to any type of feral domestic pig, wild boar, or hybrid in North America; pure wild boar are sometimes called "Russian boar" or "Russian razorbacks". The term "razorback" has also appeared in Australia, to describe feral pigs there.
Competition is an interaction between organisms or species in which both the organisms or species are harmed. Limited supply of at least one resource used by both can be a factor. Competition both within and between species is an important topic in ecology, especially community ecology. Competition is one of many interacting biotic and abiotic factors that affect community structure. Competition among members of the same species is known as intraspecific competition, while competition between individuals of different species is known as interspecific competition. Competition is not always straightforward, and can occur in both a direct and indirect fashion.
The Channel Islands form an eight-island archipelago along the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California. Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and the waters surrounding these islands make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The islands were first colonized by the Chumash and Tongva Native Americans 13,000 years ago, who were then displaced by Spaniards who used the islands for fishing and agriculture. The U.S. military uses the islands as training grounds, weapons test sites, and as a strategic defensive location. The Channel Islands and the surrounding waters house a diverse ecosystem with many endemic species and subspecies. The islands harbor 150 unique species of plant that are found only on the Islands and nowhere else in the world.
The island fox is a small fox that is native to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. There are six subspecies, each unique to the island it lives on, reflecting its evolutionary history.
The Channel Island spotted skunk is an insular endemic carnivore and a subspecies of the western spotted skunk. Little is known about their exact variations from the mainland spotted skunk and variations between locations, resolution of which awaits further genetic and morphologic evaluation. The skunk is only currently found on two islands off the southern coast of California. Its presence has been recorded on San Miguel Island, but it has since been declared extinct in that area. The Channel Island skunk is one of two terrestrial carnivores on the islands, the other being the island fox. It is designated as a species of special concern by the state of California.
Thysanocarpus is a small genus of plants in the mustard family known generally as fringepods or lacepods. These are small, erect annual herbs. The flat fruit capsule is generally round or oval-shaped with a wing that goes all the way around the pod, giving it a fringed look. The fruits hang from most of the length of the stem. The plants are native to the western United States.
Dudleya nesiotica is a very rare succulent plant known by the common name Santa Cruz Island liveforever. This dudleya is endemic to Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands of California. This is a squat plant growing in mats on the rocky, exposed ground of the windswept island. It is a federally listed threatened species.
Dudleya traskiae is a rare succulent plant known by the common name Santa Barbara Island liveforever. This Dudleya is endemic to Santa Barbara Island, one of the Channel Islands of California, where it grows on rocky bluffs. The plant has a basal rosette of flat, spade-shaped fleshy leaves up to 15 centimeters long, which are pale green to yellowish. It erects tall stems bearing dense, rounded inflorescences of many bright yellow flowers.
Galium buxifolium is a rare species of flowering plant in the coffee family known by the common names box bedstraw and island bedstraw. It is endemic to the Channel Islands of California, where it is known from about 26 populations on two of the islands. It is a federally listed endangered species of the United States.
Hazardia detonsa is a rare species of shrub in the daisy family known by the common name island bristleweed. It is endemic to the Channel Islands of California, having been found on 4 islands.
Helianthemum greenei is a rare species of flowering plant in the rock-rose family known by the common name island rush-rose. It is endemic to the Channel Islands of California, where it grows in the chaparral of the rocky seaside slopes. It is present on three of the eight islands, where it has historically been threatened by feral herbivores such as the Santa Cruz sheep and is making a gradual recovery. It is a federally listed threatened species.
Castilleja grisea is a rare species of Indian paintbrush known by the common name San Clemente Island Indian paintbrush. It is endemic to San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands of California. San Clemente Island is owned by the US Navy so the Navy is involved in a management program to recover this species.
Lithophragma maximum, known by the common name San Clemente Island woodland star, is a rare species of flowering plant in the saxifrage family. It is endemic to San Clemente Island, one of the eight Channel Islands of California. It is known from only about four kilometers of rocky coastal cliffs on the edge of the island. The plant was thought to be extinct until a few specimens were rediscovered in 1979. Only 200 individuals were tallied in a 1996 survey. In 1997 the plant was listed as an endangered species on the federal level.
Malacothamnus clementinus is a rare species of flowering plant in the mallow family known by the common name San Clemente Island bushmallow. It is endemic to San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands of California, where it is known from fewer than ten occurrences in the steep, rocky seaside canyons. The plant became a federally listed endangered species in 1977 when it was limited to a single population nearing extinction due to herbivory by the feral goats which once infested the small island. The goats have since been removed and the plant is recovering well, but many threats still remain, including competition with introduced species of plants, wildfire, erosion, and damage to the landscape by United States Navy bombing exercises. Since the Navy removed goats from the island in the 1990s and started an intensive management program this species has recovered significantly. There are now over 80 known populations on the island consisting of over 1,500 individuals. In the last review of this species, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recommended downlisting this species due to its recovery and the ongoing management that the Navy has committed to. This is a bushy shrub with a thin, multibranched stem coated in long, fine hairs. It reaches heights between 40 centimeters and one meter. It bears rounded dark green leaves several centimeters long which are divided into sharp lobes. The inflorescence is a spikelike cluster of a few pale pink, lavender, or nearly white flowers with somewhat lance-shaped, hairy petals several millimeters long. It rarely produces fertile seed and it is believed to propagate itself mainly via rhizomes.
Malacothrix indecora is a rare species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common name Santa Cruz Island desertdandelion. It is endemic to the Channel Islands of California, where it is known from only a few populations on three of the eight islands. As of 2000, there were three occurrences on San Miguel Island, two on Santa Rosa Island, and one on Santa Cruz Island. It grows on the bluffs and rocky coastal grasslands of the islands. Like many Channel Islands endemics, this plant is naturally limited in distribution and has been threatened by the presence of destructive introduced mammals, in this case, feral pigs. The plant became a federally listed endangered species in 1997. This is a mat-forming annual herb which spreads low to the ground no more than about 10 centimeters high. The fleshy leaves have dull lobes. The inflorescence is an array of flower heads lined with oval-shaped phyllaries. The ray florets are under a centimeter long and yellow in color.
Phacelia insularis, the coast phacelia is a rare species of phacelia. It is endemic to California, where it has a disjunct distribution.
Ribes thacherianum, with the common name Santa Cruz gooseberry, or Santa Cruz Island gooseberry, is a rare North American species of currant found only on one island off the coast of California.
Sibara filifolia, known the common names Santa Cruz Island winged rockcress or Santa Cruz Island rockcress, is a rare species of flowering plant in the mustard family. It is endemic to the Channel Islands of California, where it is now known from a few occurrences on San Clemente Island and one population on Catalina Island.
Trifolium buckwestiorum is a rare species of clover known by the common name Santa Cruz clover.
Triteleia clementina is a rare species of flowering plant known by the common name San Clemente Island triteleia. It is endemic to San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands of California, where it is known from about twenty occurrences. Its habitat includes moist, rocky, seaside grassland. It is a perennial herb growing from a corm. It produces two or three keeled, lance-shaped leaves up to 100 centimeters long by three wide. The inflorescence arises on an erect stem up to 90 centimeters tall and bears an umbel-like cluster of many flowers. Each flower is a funnel-shaped lavender or light blue bloom with six lobes measuring up to 1.5 centimeters long. There are six stamens with purple anthers.
The wildlife of the Channel Islands of California is wide and diverse, including many endemic species. While the land wildlife is slightly limited, there being only one large, naturally predatory, and native mammal, the small island fox, marine life can include anything from kelp forests to great white sharks.
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