CPC Plant Profile: Contra Costa Wallflower
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Plant Profile

Contra Costa Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum var. angustatum)

This closeup shot shows the entire plant. Photo Credit: Copyright N.H. Cheatham
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 130400
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/06/1993

This species is considered a desert relic type that, along with a small group of other plant species, forms the base of the unique plant community found at Antioch Dunes. These dunes were declared critical habitat for both this wallflower and the rare Antioch Dunes evening-primrose (Oenothera deltoides ssp. howellii, also part of the National Collection) in the late 1970s to protect them from potentially harmful activities. Agricultural and industrial development has destroyed 90% of the original 500 acres of the Antioch Dunes. (USFWS 1978) The yellow and orange flowers of this species are so beautiful that it was chosen to be one of four native wildflowers depicted on a set of stamps released in 1979. (USFWS 1979c)

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 22 accessions of Erysimum capitatum var. angustatum in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 350713 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 1 seed accessions of Erysimum capitatum var. angustatum from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 8 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the Antioch Dunes in Contra Costa County, California, Erysimum capitatum var. angustatum is known from only three occurrences. Recovery work is in progress and is sorely needed: over 90% of the dune habitat has been destroyed over the last thirty years. The plant is seriously threatened by mining, conversion of land to agriculture, non-native plant competition, and industrial development.

  • 01/01/2010

Off-road vehicles (ORV's) Invasive exotics Habitat destruction via development Sand mining Potential sale of large portions of the protected Reserve as of 1996 (Skinner & Pavlik 1997)

  • 01/01/2010

Two sites in the Antioch Dunes along the San Joaquin River east of Antioch, Contra Costa County. In 1977, only 28 individuals were known to exist (USFWS 1978c)

  • 01/01/2010

Pavlik (1993) determined that Erysimum capitatum ssp. angustatum had an adequate seed bank to buffer it against stochastic events and the erosion of genetic diversity.

  • 01/01/2010

Protected by the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. According to Steve Edwards at Regional Parks Botanical Garden, the USFWS is putting together an extensive management plan and program.

  • 01/01/2010

Restoration and continued protection of the Antioch Dune system for the protection of this species and the protection of the many other threatened and endangered organisms that are endemic to this habitat. (NatureServe 2001)

  • 01/01/2010

Maintain a genetically representative seed bank.

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Nomenclature
Taxon Erysimum capitatum var. angustatum
Authority (Greene) G. Rossb.
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 1828
ITIS 528069
USDA ERCAA
Common Names Contra Costa wallflower | sanddune wallflower
Associated Scientific Names Erysimum capitatum var. angustatum | Erysimum capitatum ssp. angustatum | Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum | Cheiranthus angustatus | Erysimum angustatum | Erysimum asperum var. angustatum | Erysimum insulare var. angustatum
Distribution The Antioch Dunes of Contra Costa Co., California (USFWS 1978c).
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Stabilized interior sand dunes, sparsely covered with vegetation (USFWS 1978c).

Ecological Relationships

Pollination rates and seed predation by insects have substantially reduced seed set in the wild. (CDFG 2002)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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