CPC Plant Profile: Shortleaf Dudleya
Search / Plant Profile / Dudleya brevifolia
Plant Profile

Shortleaf Dudleya (Dudleya brevifolia)

The beautiful yellow flowers of this diminutive plant. Photo Credit: Walter Wisura
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 137954
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/06/1993

The short-leaved dudleya is a small, rare succulent perennial plant that produces a rosette of leaves from a corm. White flowers with red or purple markings are borne on short stalks. Proposed for Federal protection in 1993, this species was removed from the candidate list in 1996, as it is one of the species covered in the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MCSP) of southern San Diego County. (USFWS 1996) As of 1997, this species could be found in only five populations in the wild. (CDFG 2002)

Participating Institutions
Updates
Christa Horn
  • 05/05/2021

SDZWA holds seed collections from all extant populations. Additional collections from the Skeleton Canyon population are pending to ensure full genetic variability is captured for that population.

Christa Horn
  • 05/05/2021
  • Reintroduction

In 2019, SDZWA conducted a small reintroduction at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve with the Chaparral Lands Conservancy and a local consultant taxon-expert, Mark Dodero. Bare corms on the verge of leaving dormancy were placed in holes drilled in the hardpan and backfilled. Corms were grouped into two size categories (< and > 5cm) and stratified across two transects at the site. For monitoring purposes, each corm was mapped along the transect, location information was taken with a sub-meter GPS and a radio pit-tag was buried with the corm. Initial survival was low, but monitored only by confirming above ground growth. Corms may remain dormant for multiple years.

  • 10/17/2020
  • Demographic Research

The species is a geophyte and able to persist underground as corms in stressful conditions, but we don't know how long they survive, and this makes it difficult to track trends in population numbers as they are hidden underground.

  • 10/17/2020
  • Living Collection

As of 2017, San Diego Zoo Global has seed collections from 4 of the 5 wild populations. Germination trials show very high seed viability, and we have been successful in propagating ex-situ living collections from 2 different populations. The ex-situ living collections are self-sustaining and reproducing.

  • 10/17/2020
  • Propagation Research

In 2016, San Diego Zoo Global Native Plant Seed Bank germinated seeds from populations of Dudleya brevifolia collected in San Diego County as part of a seed bulking initiative. Many germinants flowered and produced new seed. In fact, more plants bloomed in San Diego Zoo ex-situ population than bloomed in the wild populations visited (Davitt 2017). San Diego Zoo Global has been propagating this species since 2015. We have successfully propagated several populations, getting the seeds to flower and seed within one season, and having the corms successfully re-sprout the following season and flower again. We are currently seed bulking the smallest and most imperiled population. The corms grown from wild-collected seed can produce seed year after year, giving us a living ex-situ population that can potentially help stabilize and expand the small wild population.

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, San Diego Zoo Global holds 10 accessions of Dudleya brevifolia in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 39667 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 1 accessions of Dudleya brevifolia in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 101025 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, San Diego Zoo Global has collected 10 seed accessions of Dudleya brevifolia from 5 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 495 maternal plants

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 1 seed accessions of Dudleya brevifolia from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass an unknown number of maternal plants

Joe Davitt
  • 12/21/2017

As of 2017, San Diego Zoo Global has seed collections from 4 of the 5 wild populations. Germination trials show very high seed viability, and we have been successful in propagating ex-situ living collections from 2 different populations. The ex-situ living collections are self-sustaining and reproducing.

Joe Davitt
  • 12/21/2017

Research into the best way to reintroduce the species into the wild will be key. We have shown the species is a great candidate for ex-situ seed bulking, but the best use of these seeds in the wild is still unknown. We are working on developing an experiment to track seed re-introductions with David Hogan and the Chaparral Lands Conservancy.

Joe Davitt
  • 12/21/2017

San Diego Zoo Global has been propagating this species since 2015. We have successfully propagated several populations, getting the seeds to flower and seed within one season, and having the corms successfully re-sprout the following season and flower again. We are currently seed bulking the smallest and most imperiled population. The corms grown from wild-collected seed can produce seed year after year, giving us a living ex-situ population that can potentially help stabilize and expand the small wild population.

Joe Davitt
  • 12/21/2017

The species is known from 5 populations, several of which have sub-populations that are managed and monitored separately. All populations are on protected land. There are two very large populations, one population that is in a relatively small area, but appears stable, and two populations that are fairly small. Years of drought have made it difficult to get accurate counts of the population. It is impossible to know if individuals are dormant underground, or dead, or how large the soil seed bank is. Overall I would say the total population is stable, but there is definitely risk of that changing, and conservation actions we can take to prevent any decline. 

Joe Davitt
  • 12/21/2017

The 5 known wild populations are on protected lands and are well documented, monitored, and managed. As of now, the largest threats, in my opinion, are trampling by people and pets, invasive weeds, and climate change. Many of the sites are fenced, but fencing is often vandalized and unauthorized trails are a problem. Some sites show risk of weed invasion, mainly by invasive grasses, Carpobrotus, Erodium, etc. but the sites are generally small areas and weeds are relatively easy to manage. Apart from trampling, I think the largest threat to the species is climate change. An increased risk of prolonged drought could be detrimental. The species is a geophyte and able to persist underground as corms in stressful conditions, but we don't know how long they survive, and this makes it difficult to track trends in population numbers as they are hidden underground.

Katherine Heineman
  • 11/13/2017

In 2016, San Diego Zoo Global Native Plant Seed Bank germinated seeds from populations of Dudleya brevifolia collected in San Diego County as part of a seed bulking initiative. Many germinants flowered and produced new seed. In fact, more plants bloomed in San Diego Zoo ex-situ population than bloomed in the wild populations visited (Davitt 2017). 

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

California state endemic, few occurrences, real threat from urbanization.

Stacy Anderson
  • 01/01/2010

Development (three populations were destroyed by development over a four year period)

Stacy Anderson
  • 01/01/2010

This species is among those covered in the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MCSP) of southern San Diego County.

MORE

Be the first to post an update!

Photos
Videos
Nomenclature
Taxon Dudleya brevifolia
Authority (Moran) Moran
Family Crassulaceae
CPC Number 1520
ITIS 502166
USDA DUBR
Common Names Short-leaved dudleya | Shortleaf liveforever | shortleaf liveforever
Associated Scientific Names Dudleya blochmaniae ssp. brevifolia | Dudleya brevifolia
Distribution Western San Diego County, California
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Found on extremely shallow, sandy soils, often at the edges of canyons, in open sites in chaparral communities. (CDFG 2002)

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Flies
Bee flies Bee flies Confirmed Pollinator Link

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

Fall fundraising drive has begun! We're looking for 2,500 people to protect our planet. With you by our side, we will build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Come help and become a CPC donor today.

Donate Today