CPC Plant Profile: Santa Monica Mountains Dudleya
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Plant Profile

Santa Monica Mountains Dudleya (Dudleya cymosa ssp. ovatifolia)

Dudleya cymosa ssp. ovatifolia growing in natural habitat Photo Credit: Santa Monica Mountains NRA
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 147509
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/17/2019

Santa Monica Mountains Dudleya is a succulent perennial, with a basal rosette of 6-10 evergreen leaves, and a short stem bearing bright yellow flowers in late May (Bartel 1993; Nakai 1987; Thomson 1993). Although first described in 1903, it was not treated in identification manuals until the late 1950s (Munz 1959). Its narrow distribution is shared in part with two other rare Dudleya species (marcescent Dudleya, Veritys live-forever) that occur on sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the western Santa Monica Mountains in southern California. However, it apparently also occurs in a few isolated occurrences in the Santa Ana Mountains of Orange County. Variation in branching, leaf shape, and leaf color led Kei Nakai, a Dudleya specialist, to recognize subsp. agourensis (Agoura Hills Dudleya) as distinct from subsp. ovatifolia (Nakai 1987). The two subspecies occur in slightly different habitats, separated from each other by the main ridge of the Santa Monica Mountains. The Agoura Hills Dudleya generally occurs on relatively dry, exposed outcrops of volcanic breccia, whereas subsp. ovatifolia in the narrow sense occurs on shaded sites and conglomerate substrates. The two subspecies are listed separately by the California Department of Fish and Game. Both subspecies, however, are treated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a single entity for conservation purposes (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1999).

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  • 09/09/2020
  • Propagation Research

Studies focusing in more detail on propagation protocols and systematic relationships in the Dudleya cymosa complex are being pursued at the University of California at Santa Cruz Arboretum.

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 2 accessions of Dudleya cymosa subsp. ovatifolia in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 16961 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, California Botanic Garden has collected 2 seed accessions of Dudleya cymosa subsp. ovatifolia from 2 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 60 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known from disjunct locations in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains around the Los Angeles Basin in California, with fewer than 2000 individuals at 8 or fewer extant sites (including ssp. agourensis as a synonym). Populations are threatened by dense residential and commercial development, as well as recreational activities and road maintenance.

Dieter Wilken
  • 01/01/2010

Most of the populations, especially those of the Agoura Hills Dudleya, occur on private land and are subject to potential development. Other threats include road maintenance, weed abatement measures, and development of access roads through potential habit

Dieter Wilken
  • 01/01/2010

Fewer than 15 occurrences are known. Eight occurrences represent the Agoura Hills Dudleya; the other seven are occupied by the Santa Monica Mountains Dudleya. Most occurrences in the Santa Monica Mountains have fewer than 100 individuals each, although one population on private land was estimated to be composed of over 1,000 plants. At least 1,300 plants have been estimated at sites in the Santa Ana Mountains (Anonymous 2008a, b).

Dieter Wilken
  • 01/01/2010

Studies focusing in more detail on propagation protocols and systematic relationships in the Dudleya cymosa complex are being pursued at the University of California at Santa Cruz Arboretum.

Dieter Wilken
  • 01/01/2010

Several occurrences are on lands managed by the National Park Service (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area), California State Parks and Recreation, and the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. Populations in the Santa Ana Mountains are on lands managed by the Cleveland National Forest and Orange County Parks Department.

Dieter Wilken
  • 01/01/2010

The highest priority for further research and management depends on the identification of suitable habitats where protection or experimental recovery projects can be implemented.

Dieter Wilken
  • 01/01/2010

Development of a conservation seed collection Development of a propagation protocol to be applied to in situ conditions


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Taxon Dudleya cymosa ssp. ovatifolia
Authority Moran
Family Crassulaceae
CPC Number 15999
ITIS 524020
Common Names Santa Monica Mountains Dudleya
Associated Scientific Names Dudleya cymosa ssp. ovatifolia | Cotyledon ovatifolia | Dudleya ovatifolia | Echeveria ovatifolia
Distribution The western half of the Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and the Santa Ana Mountains, Orange County, California
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1

Plants typically occur on rock outcrops and ledges with poor soil development.

Ecological Relationships

Little is known regarding reproductive biology, demography, dispersal, and requirements for establishment. Like other members of the genus they presumably are capable of self-pollination to some extent but also dependent on insects for full development of fruits and seeds.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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