CPC Plant Profile: Threadleaf Brodiaea
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Plant Profile

Threadleaf Brodiaea (Brodiaea filifolia)

Brodiaea filifolia flower close up Photo Credit: Naomi Fraga
Description
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Liliaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 156359
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 09/23/2021

Brodiaea filifolia (thread-leaf Brodiaea) is a geophyte (corm-forming perennial herb) in the lily family (Liliaceae)(Keator 1993), that is only visible above ground for a few months of the year. It is 2-4 dm tall with a longer scape, narrow leaves and a fibrous-coated corm, flowering from May to June, with purple flowers. All Brodiaeas tend to have very similar corolla morphologies, however B. filifolia is readily distinguished by its threadlike (filiform) reflexed staminodes, short filaments and spreading perianth (FWS 1998, Chester et al 2007). This species often occurs around vernal-pool complexes and wetlands of Southern California, but it is also known from areas of heavy clay soil or cobbly clay. Brodiaea filifolia is listed as endangered by the State of California (1982) and was federally listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1998. Critical habitat was designated in 2005 in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. There is also a Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP WRC 2001) in place for Western Riverside County, and some areas of San Diego County, including Chula Vista (MSCP 2003).

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

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, San Diego Zoo Global holds 2 accessions of Brodiaea filifolia in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 2578 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 5 accessions of Brodiaea filifolia in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 5975 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/31/2020
  • Reproductive Research

This species belongs to subgenus Filifoliae, a group of Brodiaea species that do not reproduce vegetatively and instead rely solely on seed recruitment. This species is also self-incompatible and only a small percentage of the population reaches maturity in any given year (MSHCP WRC 2001). Morphological research and phenetic analysis has found B. santarosae to be a species unique from B. orcuttii and B. filifolia and their F1 hybrid offspring, which all look similar and occur in close proximity to one another (Chester et al 2007).

  • 08/31/2020
  • Genetic Research

This species belongs to subgenus Filifoliae, a group of Brodiaea species that do not reproduce vegetatively and instead rely solely on seed recruitment. This species is also self-incompatible and only a small percentage of the population reaches maturity in any given year (MSHCP WRC 2001). Morphological research and phenetic analysis has found B. santarosae to be a species unique from B. orcuttii and B. filifolia and their F1 hybrid offspring, which all look similar and occur in close proximity to one another (Chester et al 2007).

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, San Diego Zoo Global has collected 2 seed accessions of Brodiaea filifolia from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 50 maternal plants

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 4 seed accessions of Brodiaea filifolia from 2 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 183 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties). Populations are seriously threatened by ongoing, intensive development and by conversion to agriculture. In addition, this species is self-incompatible and requires pollination with plants that have different alleles at the incompatible locus.

Sula Vanderplank
  • 01/01/2010

Brodiaea filifolia was listed as threatened by the USFWS in 1998. A critical habitat plan was designated in 2005 and includes areas in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties (5 subunits total). This species is seriously threatened by urbanization and reside

Sula Vanderplank
  • 01/01/2010

The exact number of extant populations is difficult to assess for several reasons. Concepts of occurrences and populations have varied widely and have been reported very differently by different biologists. The Federal listing (FWS 1998) noted thirty-seven extant populations, however, with the discovery of Brodiaea santarosae there are now many mis-identified, and un-vouchered populations, potentially with more than one species occurring; and two populations recently added after it was confirmed that they were not of hybrid origin (Chester et al, 2007). Population counts are extremely hard to assess as in any given year only a small number of corms will have above-ground activity. In one instance only 20 individuals were seen, but during a transplanting effort more than 8,000 corms were found in the soil (MSHCP WRC 2001). Fewer than 500 individuals have been observed within half of the populations, and populations exceeding 5,000 flowering stalks have been reported in only six populations (MSHCP WRC 2001).

Sula Vanderplank
  • 01/01/2010

This species belongs to subgenus Filifoliae, a group of Brodiaea species that do not reproduce vegetatively and instead rely solely on seed recruitment. This species is also self-incompatible and only a small percentage of the population reaches maturity in any given year (MSHCP WRC 2001). Morphological research and phenetic analysis has found B. santarosae to be a species unique from B. orcuttii and B. filifolia and their F1 hybrid offspring, which all look similar and occur in close proximity to one another (Chester et al 2007).

Sula Vanderplank
  • 01/01/2010

Many populations exist on protected land, including three on federal land (Camp Pendleton); two on county government lands in Orange County (Caspers Regional Park and Aliso-Woods Canyon Regional Park); San Jacinto Wildlife Management Area in Riverside County; and the areas covered by the recent critical habitat designation in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. However, the largest population of observed individuals of B. filifolia occurs on private property in the city of San Marcos, San Diego County (USFWS 1998). There is no current recovery plan for this species, however its habitat requirements fall under the Vernal Pools of Southern California Recovery Plan: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/980903a.pdf

Sula Vanderplank
  • 01/01/2010

The recent description of Brodiaea santarosae means that previous population reports of B. filifolia need to be reviewed in light of this new species. Monitoring for populations is inherently difficult (see section Number Left above) and a definition of a population or occurrence should be determined for this species. Populations that were previously disced for fire suppression should be closely monitored for recovery. Population disturbance should be minimized at all sites. A recovery plan should be developed for this species, especially for areas that previously received severe impacts from fire management regimes.

Sula Vanderplank
  • 01/01/2010

Brodiaea orcuttii and B. filifolia have previously been established as sister taxa (closest relatives), however the position of this new species B. santarosae, and whether it is ancestral to the others or a product of polyploidy and/or hybrid introgression remains to be determined. A seedbank should be established to enable future restoration or revegetation efforts.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Brodiaea filifolia
Authority S. Wats.
Family Liliaceae
CPC Number 634
ITIS 42806
USDA BRFI
Common Names Thread-leaved Brodiaea | threadleaf brodiaea
Associated Scientific Names Brodiaea filifolia | Hookera filifolia
Distribution Brodiaea filifolia is endemic to southern California and the current known range includes sites in 5 counties with the majority occurring in the broad area where the southern three counties (Orange, R
State Rank
State State Rank
California S2
Habitat

Brodiaea filifolia has considerable water-dependence and is usually found in on gentle slopes in mesic southern needlegrass grassland and alkali grassland plant communities (FWS 1998). This species occurs at 0-300 ft in elevation, on clay, loamy sand, or alkaline silty-clay soils, and is most commonly found growing with perennial grasses.Brodiaea santarosae is a morphologically similar species (larger flowers, longer filaments and erect staminodes) of adjacent and overlapping range that has been thought to be a hybrid introgression of B. filifolia and B. orcuttia it has only been recorded on basalt soil and is usually found on slightly drier sites (Chester et al 2007).

Ecological Relationships

Brodiaea filifolia is associated with Eryngium aristulatum var. parishii (San Diego button-celery) and Orcuttia californica (California Orcutt grass) in western Riverside county. Sexual reproduction may occur in pulses when the dominant cover of European annuals is reduced as a result of fire suppression (MSHCP WRC 2001). Seeds are wind-dispersed. Native bee pollinators have been found to be species specific in Brodiaea, however European bees are not (MSHCP WRC 2001).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Native bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bumble bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Leaf-cutting bees Leaf cutting bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Anthophorine bees Anthophoridae Confirmed Pollinator Link

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