Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Endemic to California, known only from Olcott Lake and vicinity.
Catalog Number: US 2241392
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): B. Crampton
Year Collected: 1958
Locality: 1/2 mi S of Olcott, 12 mi S of Dixon., Solano, California, United States, North America
- Isotype: Crampton, B. 1959. Madrono. 15: 107.
Comments: Germinates in warm, turbid, somewhat alkaline vernal pools; these dry out by early summer.
Life History and Behavior
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Known from only 3 vernal pools in Solano and Yolo counties, California. The number of plants varies greatly at each pool from year-to-year. No plants have been seen since 1993 at the type locale. At a second site the number of observed individuals has varied from a single plant to about 150. The third site, discovered in 1993 on what was then Department of Defense land, was observed to have several thousand plants in 2000 (Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species Program 2003). This is the only large population known. The site is being transferred to the Yolo County Parks Department.
Date Listed: 09/29/1978
Lead Region: California/Nevada Region (Region 8)
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Tuctoria mucronata, see its USFWS Species Profile
Global Short Term Trend: Unknown
Global Long Term Trend: Unknown
Degree of Threat: Very high - high
Comments: Nonnative plants are a threat (CNPS 2001).
The grass Tuctoria mucronata, which is known by several common names including Solano grass, Crampton's tuctoria, and prickly spiralgrass, is a federally listed endangered plant species endemic to two counties in northern California. It is a small annual, with stems growing decumbent against the ground to a maximum length of 12 cm, and turning upward at the tips. The leaves are 2-4 cm long, and secrete a sticky, aromatic juice. In the spring, the grass bears a small inflorescence 1.5-6 cm long, with numerous crowded spikelets.
Solano grass is a vernal pool plant. It is only found in these seasonally wet areas, a type of habitat which is endangered. This species is thought to have once grown in isolated parts the northern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, in areas which flooded during the wet season, but any former habitat there has been long since reclaimed for agriculture. Only a few individuals of the plant now exist, mostly in Yolo County. It was found during the 1990s at Jepson Prairie Preserve, an area dedicated to conserving vernal pool habitat, but it may no longer exist there.
Loss of critical habitat is the main cause of the near extinction of Solano grass. This loss is caused by land reclamation for development, recreation, and agricultural use, including for grazing animals, fertilizer runoff, and disturbance of the natural hydrology of the Central Valley. Invasive plants have also played a role in crowding out more delicate native grasses, such as Solano grass, Greene's tuctoria (Tuctoria greenei), Colusa grass (Neostapfia colusana), and several species of genus Orcuttia.
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