Regularity: Regularly occurring
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
Global Range: The entire range of this species is along a 0.5 mile stretch along an intermittent stream that is 3 to 6 meters wide (USFWS 1998)
Catalog Number: US 2001308
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): R. F. Hoover
Year Collected: 1937
Locality: Chinese Camp., Tuolumne, California, United States, North America
- Isotype: Hoover, R. F. 1938. Leafl. W. Bot. 2: 129.
Comments: In an old, intermittent (vernal) stream channel with a serpentine substrate. About 380 m elevation.
Valley and foothill grassland (vernal streambeds, serpentinite); elevation 385m (California Native Plant Society 2001)
Life History and Behavior
Date Listed: 09/14/1998
Lead Region: California/Nevada Region (Region 8)
Listing status: T
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Brodiaea pallida, see its USFWS Species Profile
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Known from a single streambed - an area less than 1 km long and only 3-6 m wide. There are about 1,600 individuals. Searches of potential habitat in other areas have failed to locate any additional plants. The single known population is threatened by impacts (hydrological and recreational) from nearby housing development, lack of regulatory mechanisms and by random events.
Degree of Threat: Very high - medium
Comments: A portion of one of the occurrences was destroyed in 1982 by construction and the remainder continues to be threatened by residential construction (CNPS 2001, CNDDB 2003). It is also threatened by inadequate regulatory mechanisms and by random events due to its narrow range (USFWS 1998). The immediacy of these threats has remained unchanged in the past 10-12 years (USFWS 1998). Other threats include grazing by cattle and goats, and fire breaks (CNDDB 2003).
Brodiaea pallida is a rare species of flowering plant in the cluster-lily genus known by the common name Chinese Camp brodiaea. It is endemic to California, where it is known from a two populations along the border between Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties. The first population is at the Type locality near Chinese Camp and contains a varying number of individuals which has been estimated at 600 to 5000. This population is limited to a 65-acre tract of land which is privately owned. The plant was federally listed as a threatened species in 1998. In the year 2000, a second population was discovered 24 kilometers away, and it may contain up to 10,000 individuals. The species is threatened by development of its habitat.
It is a perennial producing an inflorescence up to about 20 centimeters tall bearing pale purple flowers on short pedicels. Each flower has six strongly curving tepals about a centimeter long. In the center of the flower are three erect white, notch-tipped sterile stamens called staminodes, each about as long as the tepals. Within these are the fertile stamens. Flowering occurs in late May and early June.
This plant grows in mixed soils of volcanic and serpentine origin in vernally moist areas of grassland next to intermittent streams. At the time it was placed on the endangered species list, it was known only from a strip of land under 0.8 kilometers long and just 6 meters wide, and was at risk for extinction from any one destructive event. The population had been fragmented and part was destroyed by construction activity in 1982. It was listed as a threatened species rather than an endangered species because no further disturbance was planned for the area at the time. The second population is also located on privately owned land. It is on the outskirts of the town of Copperopolis, and it is in a zone slated for residential construction. Even if development does not occur at the locations of the plants, development activity nearby could still affect them by altering the flow of the streams, increasing runoff, or encouraging development of roads and firebreaks.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Grows in association with 2 sympatric congeners and can hybridize with 1 of them (Keator 1993 as cited in USFWS 1994). Despite this, the species is considered stable (Blaine Rogers, Collumbia College, as cited in USFWS 1994).