CPC Plant Profile: San Clemente Island Indian-paintbrush
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Plant Profile

San Clemente Island Indian-paintbrush (Castilleja grisea)

This shot shows plants in situ. Photo Credit: Dylan Hannon
Description
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Orobanchaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 158994
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

Plants in the genus Castilleja are generally referred to as paintbrushes, with vibrant flowers resembling paintbrushes themselves, these plants are often considered among the most beautiful of the United States' wildflowers. The San Clemente Island paintbrush is endemic to the Channel Island of San Clemente and is in danger of becoming extinct. This species was discovered in 1894, but not officially recognized as a new species and named as such until 1939. This yellow-flowering paintbrush was quite common on the cliffs of San Clemente Island until 1963, when Peter Raven noted that the species was only occasionally found along the coast of the island and only rarely in the canyonsides there. In 1977, this species became one of the first ever to be listed as Federally Endangered. By 1978, a frequent visitor to the island stated that during the course of several trips he had been able to locate only three plants, all of them in inaccessible areas on the canyon walls of the island. (Mohlenbrock 1983) What caused this rapid decline The decline of the San Clemente Island paintbrush coincides with the introduction of feral goats to the island. The only plants that were capable of surviving the hooves and teeth of these goats were those that even the most agile goat couldn't reach--those on extreme cliff faces.

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

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden holds 2 accessions of Castilleja grisea in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 200 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 Castilleja grisea in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 6582 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, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has collected 2 seed accessions of Castilleja grisea from 2 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 1 seed accessions of Castilleja grisea from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass an unknown number of maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to San Clemente Island, California. Approximately 44 ocurrences.

  • 01/01/2010

Goats

  • 01/01/2010

Forty-four population are scattered around San Clemente Island, but about half of them contain fewer than 10 individuals. The status of this species is very unclear. (CDFG 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

None known

  • 01/01/2010

The US Navy has a feral animal removal program in place on the island. (State of California 1989)

  • 01/01/2010

The true status of this species needs to be ascertained.

  • 01/01/2010

Build and maintain a seed bank that is genetically representative of all known wild populations.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Castilleja grisea
Authority Dunkle
Family Orobanchaceae
CPC Number 817
ITIS 202486
USDA CAGR21
Common Names San Clemente Island Indian paintbrush
Associated Scientific Names Castilleja grisea | Castilleja hololeuca ssp. grisea
Distribution San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands in California
State Rank
State State Rank
California S3
Habitat

Coastal scrub and steep canyon walls. (CDFG 2002)

Ecological Relationships

Unknown.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Birds
Hummingbirds Hummingbirds Floral Visitor Link
Other
Insect Floral Visitor Link

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