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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This variety is found in Mexico (Baja California Norte, near US border), and the USA (Southwestern California, one locality in Orange Co. and a few in San Diego Co. down to the Mexican border).
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National Distribution

Mexico

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Orange, Riverside and San Diego Counties, Californa; northern Baja California, Mexico. Range extent in California is about 580 sq miles in 2 main sections. The extent in Baja is not known.

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

3 Southern Pacific Border

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Occurrence in North America

CA HI MEXICO

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Tecate cypress is the most widespread of the rare southern California
cypress species [37]. There are about 15 known populations [6,7].
Tecate cypress occurs in four groves in southern California. Three of
the groves are in San Diego County on Guatay Mountain, Otay Mountain,
and Tecate Peak. The fourth is on Sierra Peak in the Santa Ana
Mountains of Orange County [2,12,40]. Isolated groves of Tecate cypress
extend about 150 miles (240 km) south into peninsular Baja California [2].
Tecate cypress is cultivated in Hawaii [46].
  • 2. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1978. Southern California's vanishing cypresses. Fremontia. 6(2): 24-29. [22295]
  • 6. Dunn, Anthony T. 1985. The Tecate cypress. Fremontia. 13(3): 3-7. [22533]
  • 7. Dunn, Anthony T. 1987. Population dynamics of the Tecate cypress. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of a conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants; [Date unknown]
  • 12. Horn, Michael; Carlin, Margaret; Eagan, Terri Lee; [and others]
  • 37. Vogl, Richard J. 1967. Fire adaptations of some southern California plants. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1967 November 9-10; Hoberg, California. No. 7. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 79-109. [6268]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]
  • 46. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: density, tree

Tecate cypress is a native, evergreen tree with a bushy growth form.
Most trees are multitrunked, generally without a dominant leader
[10,25,40]. Tecate cypress generally grows from 20 to 23 feet (6-7 m)
tall, but can be as tall as 33 feet (10 m) [10,40]. On sites with a
high cypress seedling density, Tecate cypress can be dwarfed and may
only reach heights of 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m) at maturity [33,39]. Mature
leaves are 0.06 inch (1.5 mm) long, although they can be up to 0.4 inch
(10 mm) long on vigorous shoots [40]. Ovulate cones are solitary and up
to 1.2 inches (30 mm) long. Staminate cones are 0.12 to 0.16 inch (3-4
mm) long [10,24,40]. The bark is nonfibrous, exfoliating, and only
about 0.4 inch (1 cm) thick [10,40]. Tecate cypress forms a
well-defined taproot and numerous laterals the first year [13,40]. It
can survive in a vigorous condition to an age of about 90 years [41].
The oldest known Tecate cypress tree is located in the Sierra Peak grove
and is 209 years old [39].
  • 10. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 24. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 13. Johnson, LeRoy C. 1974. Cupressus L. cypress. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 363-369. [7599]
  • 25. Posey, Clayton E.; Goggans, James F. 1967. Observations on species of cypress indigenous to the United States. Circular 153. Auburn, AL: Auburn University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 19 p. [20384]
  • 33. Stottlemyer, David E.; Lathrop, Earl W. 1981. Soil chemistry relationships of the Tecate cypress in the Santa Ana Mountains, California. Aliso. 10(1): 59-69. [22530]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]
  • 41. Zedler, Paul H. 1977. Life history attributes of plants and the fire cycle: a case study in chaparral dominated by Cupressus forbesii. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Symposium on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management on Mediterranean ecosystems: Proceedings; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 451-458. [4876]

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Physical Description

Tree, Shrub, Evergreen, Monoecious, Habit erect, Trees without or rarely having knees, Primary plant stem smooth, Tree with bark smooth, Tree with bark polished, Tree with bark shaggy or peeling, Young shoots 3-dimensional, Buds not resinous, Leaves scale-like, Leaves opposite, Non-needle-like leaf margins entire, Leaf apex acute, Leaf apex obtuse, Leaves < 5 cm long, Leaves < 10 cm long, Leaves not blue-green, Scale leaves without raised glands, Scale leaf glands not ruptured, Scale leaves overlapping, Twigs glabrous, Twigs not viscid, Twigs without peg-like projections or large fascicles after needles fall, Berry-like cones orange, Woody seed cones < 5 cm long, Bracts of seed cone included, Seeds brown, Seeds winged, Seeds equally winged, Seed wings narrower than body.
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Stephen C. Meyers

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Type Information

Isotype for Cupressus forbesii Jeps.
Catalog Number: US 669800
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. N. Forbes
Year Collected: 1907
Locality: San Diego, California, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Jepson, W. L. 1922. Madrono. 1: 75.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in chaparral on slopes with Adenostoma spp., Arctostaphylos sp., in ravines in the Upper Sonoran life zone associated with Acer sp., Rhus laurina, Quercus spp. and the former species; often along intermittent streams on loamy, sandy, gravelly or rocky soils (or 'adobe soil') over sandstone or granite in full sun. The climate is of the Mediterranean type with dry, hot summers and winter rain. Recorded from 210 up to 1,280 m asl.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Ravines, gulches and ridges on dry mountain slopes in chaparral where the Silverado soil formation is exposed (calcareous), closed-cone coniferous forest.

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Habitat characteristics

Tecate cypress occurs on coarse, rocky, clay or sand soils. Parent
materials include sandstone, granite, and conglomerate [1,40]. Soils
are usually well drained. Tecate cypress is commonly found on dry
slopes, exposed hillsides, and ridgetops, but also grows along
streambanks and arroyos [7,10,21]. It is generally found at elevations
from 1,500 to 5,000 feet (450-1500 m), but occurs at 8,000 feet (2,425
m) on Guatay Mountain [1,10,24].
  • 10. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 24. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 7. Dunn, Anthony T. 1987. Population dynamics of the Tecate cypress. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of a conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants; [Date unknown]
  • 21. Minnich, R.; Howard, L. 1984. Biogeography and prehistory of shrublands. In: DeVries, Johannes J., ed. Shrublands in California: literature review and research needed for management. Contribution No. 191. Davis, CA: University of California, Water Resources Center: 8-24. [4998]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: natural, shrub, tree

Tecate cypress is a component of the southern interior cypress forest.
This community is a dense, fire-maintained, low forest that forms
even-aged stands surrounded by a matrix of chaparral [11,15]. In San
Vicente, Mexico, Tecate cypress grows with bishop pine (Pinus muricata)
[22]. Tecate cypress is also associated with closed-cone coniferous
woodlands [30,34].

Publications naming Tecate cypress as a community dominant are listed
below.

Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of
California [11]
The closed-cone pines and cypress [39]
Vegetation change in chaparral and desert communities in San Diego
County, California [42]

Woody species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with
Tecate cypress include California scrub oak (Quercus dumosa), shrub live
oak (Q. turbinella), Eastwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa),
bigberry manzanita (A. glauca), Otay manzanita (A. otayensis), mission
manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor), hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus
crassifolius
), wedgeleaf ceanothus (C. cuneatus), cupleaf ceanothus (C.
greggi var. perplexans), woolyleaf ceanothus (C. tomentosus var.
olivaceus), chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), lemonade sumac (Rhus
integrifolia
), sugar sumac (R. ovata), laurel sumac (Malosma laurina),
toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus
betuloides
), California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), rushrose
(Helianthemum scoparium), redberry (Rhamnus crocea), southern bush
monkeyflower (Mimulus longiflorus), Parry nolina (Nolina parryi),
whiteflower currant (Ribes indecorum), San Diego mountain misery
(Chamaebatia australis), hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia), wooly
bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum), bushrue (Cneoridium dumosum), black
sage (Salvia mellifera), white sage (S. apiana), fragrant sage (S.
clevelandii), Munz's sage (S. munzii), heart-leaved pitcher sage
(Lepechinia cardiophylla), fragrant pitcher sage (L. fragrans),
chaparral pea (Pickeringia montana ssp. tomentosa), hairy yerba santa
(Eriodictyon trichocalyx), yerba santa (E. crassifolium), tree poppy
(Dendromecon rigida), chaparral yucca (Yucca whipplei), saw-toothed
goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa), and Mexican flannelbush
(Fremontodendron mexicanum) [1,7,31,39].

Herbaceous species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with
Tecate cypress include eucrypta (Eucrypta micrantha), bluedick (Brodiaea
pulchella
), fire poppy (Papaver californicum), Catalina Mariposa lily
(Calochortus catalinae), Dunn's Mariposa lily (C. dunii), scarlet
delphinium (Delphinium cardinale), star flower (Enastrum sapphirinum),
prickly-phlox (Leptodactylon californicum), California buckwheat
(Eriogonum fasciculatum), golden-yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum),
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), intermediate cryptantha
(Cryptantha intermedia), and Fremont deathcamas (Zigadenus fremontii)
[1,7,31,39].
  • 11. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756]
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 7. Dunn, Anthony T. 1987. Population dynamics of the Tecate cypress. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of a conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants; [Date unknown]
  • 15. Keeley, Jon E.; Keeley, Sterling C. 1988. Chaparral. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 165-207. [19545]
  • 22. Minnich, Richard A. 1987. The distribution of forest trees in northern Baja California, Mexico. Madrono. 34(2): 98-127. [6985]
  • 30. Smith, James Payne, Jr.; Berg, Ken. 1988. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 4th ed. Special Publication No. 1. Sacramento, CA: California Native Plant Society. 168 p. [7494]
  • 31. Spenger, Connie. 1985. The northernmost Tecate cypress. Fremontia. 13(3): 8-10. [22532]
  • 34. Thorne, Robert F. 1976. The vascular plant communities of California. In: Latting, June, ed. Symposium proceedings: plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 1-31. [3289]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]
  • 42. Zedler, Paul H. 1981. Vegetation change in chaparral and desert communities in San Diego County, California. In: West, D. C.; Shugart, H. H.; Botkin, D. B., eds. Forest succession: Concepts and application. New York: Springer-Verlag: 406-430. [4241]

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

255 California coast live oak

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K030 California oakwoods
K033 Chaparral
K035 Coastal sagebrush

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: 22 EO's are known, but 10 are historic. More may be historic or extirpated now, and the CNDDB may not know.

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: density, fire frequency, fire interval, fire-free interval, frequency, tree

Although fire is important for releasing seed and preparing seedbeds for
Tecate cypress establishment, fires occurring too frequently in Tecate
cypress groves may destroy them by eliminating reproduction. Up to a
point, reproductive success increases with an increase in the fire-free
interval [42], but fire must occur before tree senesce or the trees fail
to reproduce.

Cone production begins at an early age and cones accumulate on trees;
because of greater productivity and accumulated cone crops, postfire
seedling establishment is greater in stands over 50 years of age at the
time of burning than in stands less than 50 years [42]. Data from three
studies were combined to estimate the rate of Tecate cypress first-year
seedling density as a percentage of prefire stem density. By about 36
years of age, Tecate cypress reproduction density, if the stand is
burned, can equal or exceed that of the original stand [7]:

Stand age (yrs.) Reproductive rate (%) Source

10 negligible [41]
19 0.1 [1]
20 2.9 [41]
20 26.5 [1]
30 15.7 [41]
36 1206.5 [7]
39 1387.3 [7]
63 1400.0 [41]

Fires at intervals of less than 35 to 40 years would be likely to reduce
stand density [7].

Zedler [41] suggested that Tecate cypress populations on Tecate Peak and
Otay Mountain have declined because of increased numbers of human-caused
fires. Stands burned after 21 and 28 years have marked declines in
density [41]. Stands 28 and 34 years old did not reestablish vigorously
enough to maintain prefire densities. Zedler [41] stated that the
necessary fire-free interval is greater than 40 years, and therefore
longer than the current 25-year fire interval reported by Armstrong [1].
On north-facing slopes of Tecate Peak, two stands burned in 1880, 1944,
and 1975 [41]. One stand (Smuggler's Canyon) also burned in 1965.
Estimated Tecate cypress densities are shown below:

Smuggler's Canyon Bigrock Stand

Year Time since cypress Time since cypress
last fire (yrs.) trees/sq m* last fire (yrs.) trees/sq m*

1943 no data no data 63 (1.0)
1945 0.5 (1.5) 0.5 (>14.0)
1965 11 > 1.4 no data no data
1966 0.5 (0.04) no data no data
1972 7 0.03 28 8.9
1976 1 0.02 1 1.4

* Figures in parentheses are estimates based on extrapolation from other
stands of similar age; estimates of density are conservative.

In the past 67 years the fire frequency on Tecate Peak has gone from
one fire every 40+ years to one fire every 15 years in some areas. In
the same period, the average extent of Tecate cypress has dropped from
260 acres (105 ha) to 74 acres (31 ha) [42]. On the Smuggler's Canyon
site, Tecate cypress has been reduced in less than 35 years from a
dominant to a minor vegetational component [41]. The decline in density
has not been as drastic in the Bigrock Stand because of one less fire in
1965 [41].

Dunn [7] has proposed the following fire frequency categories and
subsequent responses by Tecate cypress:

high (1-25 years)- elimination of Tecate cypress from plant community
moderate (26-39 years)- unlikely to maintain present range of Tecate cypress
low (40+ years)- maintenance of Tecate cypress population
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 7. Dunn, Anthony T. 1987. Population dynamics of the Tecate cypress. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of a conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants; [Date unknown]
  • 41. Zedler, Paul H. 1977. Life history attributes of plants and the fire cycle: a case study in chaparral dominated by Cupressus forbesii. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Symposium on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management on Mediterranean ecosystems: Proceedings; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 451-458. [4876]
  • 42. Zedler, Paul H. 1981. Vegetation change in chaparral and desert communities in San Diego County, California. In: West, D. C.; Shugart, H. H.; Botkin, D. B., eds. Forest succession: Concepts and application. New York: Springer-Verlag: 406-430. [4241]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: crown residual colonizer, root crown

Tree without adventitious-bud root crown
Crown residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fuel, natural, serotinous, shrub, shrubs

Tecate cypress is a fire-adapted, fire-dependent species [7,39,42]. It
exhibits adaptations that indicate "strict dependence on fires of a
particular frequency". These adaptations include serotinous cones,
resinous foliage that is highly flammable when dry, thin bark, and a
mixed chaparral habitat that ensures heavy fuels and a fuel ladder into
the canopy when trees are at their reproductive peak (age 40+ years).
Before this age, the biomass of the community is lower, and there is
considerably less dead material in and under the canopy. At about age
40 years, the cypress begin completely overtopping the shrub species,
limiting the availability of light to the shrubs. This period, when the
base of the cypress canopy is at about the same level as the top of the
shrub canopy, is the time of greatest flammability in the stand. At 80
postfire years, stand flammability may decrease because a closed-canopy
stand of Tecate cypress, almost devoid of an understory, develops
[7,44].

Cypress trees of southern California have serotinous cones that persist
on trees for years [17,44]. Some Tecate cypress cones remain on trees
for over 8 years [39]. Cone opening in the California cypress species
is erratic and almost negligible except when cones are exposed to
extreme heat; then it is rapid and uniform [44]. When opened by the
heat of a fire, the seeds fall on exposed mineral soil [17,40]. Most
seed falls in the first months following fire [44]. When fires occur in
late summer and fall and are followed by winter rains, seed is
disseminated on moist, bare mineral substrates. These are optimum
conditions for cypress seed germination [39]. Successful Tecate cypress
reproduction is generally restricted to burned sites [19,42,43] or to
washes where seeds have germinated after water dispersal [1].

According to Armstrong [1], Tecate cypress has had an average interval
between fires of 25 years during the last century, with a range of 15 to
63 years [1,39]. However, Keeley [14] estimated natural fire frequency
from 50 to 100 years for Tecate cypress communities based on
reproductive rate data [1,7,41].
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 7. Dunn, Anthony T. 1987. Population dynamics of the Tecate cypress. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of a conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants; [Date unknown]
  • 17. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1975. Rare and local conifers in the United States. Conservation Research Rep. No. 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. [15691]
  • 19. McMaster, Gregory S.; Zedler, Paul H. 1981. Delayed seed dispersal in Pinus torreyana (Torrey pine). Oecologia. 51: 62-66. [21615]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]
  • 41. Zedler, Paul H. 1977. Life history attributes of plants and the fire cycle: a case study in chaparral dominated by Cupressus forbesii. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Symposium on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management on Mediterranean ecosystems: Proceedings; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 451-458. [4876]
  • 42. Zedler, Paul H. 1981. Vegetation change in chaparral and desert communities in San Diego County, California. In: West, D. C.; Shugart, H. H.; Botkin, D. B., eds. Forest succession: Concepts and application. New York: Springer-Verlag: 406-430. [4241]
  • 43. Zedler, Paul H.; Gautier, Clayton R.; Jacks, Paula. 1984. Edaphic restriction of Cupressus forbesii (Tecate cypress) in southern California, U.S.A.--a hypothesis. Tasks for Vegetation Science. 13: 37-243. [22531]
  • 44. Zedler, Paul H. 1986. Closed-cone conifers of the chaparral. Fremontia. 14(3): 14-17. [18648]
  • 14. Keeley, Jon E. 1981. Reproductive cycles and FIRE REGIMES. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: competition, shrubs

Facultative Seral Species

Site requirements for cypress seedlings are typical of those for pioneer
conifers. Seedlings are shade intolerant and survive best in full
sunlight on bare mineral soil [1,39]. The primary period for Tecate
cypress population expansion is during the first 1 or 2 postfire years
[41]. According to Armstrong [1], cypress trees of southern California
are sensitive to lack of light, losing their foliage when growing in
shade.

Chaparral species inhibit the establishment of cypress seedlings on
most sites due to competition. However, many chaparral species are less
able to compete on infertile soils where Tecate cypress is often found.
On these sites, shrubs are stunted and sparse [1,2].
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 2. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1978. Southern California's vanishing cypresses. Fremontia. 6(2): 24-29. [22295]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]
  • 41. Zedler, Paul H. 1977. Life history attributes of plants and the fire cycle: a case study in chaparral dominated by Cupressus forbesii. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Symposium on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management on Mediterranean ecosystems: Proceedings; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 451-458. [4876]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: tree

Tecate cypress reproduces exclusively from seed. Cone production is
abundant. Staminate cones are produced on trees that are 6 to 7 years
old [40]. Ovulate cones are produced on trees that are 5 to 7 years of
age or older, but production is sporadic until age 30 [7,40]. Maximum
cone production occurs on trees that are 40 to 50 years old [7,14,41].
The cones require 2 years to mature [1]. The cones of California
cypress are closed; they usually persist on the tree until opened by the
heat of a fire or from desiccation due to age [13,39]. The cones open,
however, when mechanically detached from the tree, with the resinous
seals breaking as the cones dry. In 1964, 167 unopened Tecate cypress
cones were collected from Sierra Peak; 2 years later, 58 percent of the
cones had opened and shed seeds while 42 percent remained unopened.
Most of the unopened cones had slightly separated scales with trapped
seeds. The trapped seeds probably lost their viability because of
desiccation. Attached cones have remained closed for over 8 years.
Sierra Peak Tecate cypress cones, some of them estimated to be 25 to 30
years old, were seen partially enveloped by exfoliating bark [39].
Seeds are shed gradually over several months after the cones open [39].
Seeds shed from detached cones rarely result in seedling establishment,
usually due to lack of a suitable seedbed [1]. Seed dispersal is
primarily by wind and rain [39].

Cypress seeds require bare mineral soil for germination and
establishment. Seedling mortality is high on shaded sites with abundant
litter because of damping-off fungi [1,39]. Seedlings are sensitive to
excessive moisture [40].
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 7. Dunn, Anthony T. 1987. Population dynamics of the Tecate cypress. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of a conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants; [Date unknown]
  • 13. Johnson, LeRoy C. 1974. Cupressus L. cypress. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 363-369. [7599]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]
  • 41. Zedler, Paul H. 1977. Life history attributes of plants and the fire cycle: a case study in chaparral dominated by Cupressus forbesii. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Symposium on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management on Mediterranean ecosystems: Proceedings; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 451-458. [4876]
  • 14. Keeley, Jon E. 1981. Reproductive cycles and FIRE REGIMES. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Tecate cypress growing in the Eddy Arboretum in Placerville, California,
sheds pollen in October and November [13]. On Tecate Peak, male
strobili are mature by mid-October. Pollination occurs in late summer
and fall, 6 months after other southern California cypress species [1].
Seeds mature 15 to 18 months after pollination. Ovulate cones remain
closed until opened by heat or age [1,39].
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 13. Johnson, LeRoy C. 1974. Cupressus L. cypress. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 363-369. [7599]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Callitropsis forbesii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Hesperocyparis forbesii

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hesperocyparis forbesii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Gardner, M.

Contributor/s

Justification
Recent figures of population size and continuous decline are known from at least two of five subpopulations in California (there are scattered occurrences across the border in Mexico, of which little is known). However, the total population size is not known but must exceed 10,000 mature or adult trees. The area of occupancy (AOO) has been estimated using the herbarium data collected from all Californian and two Mexican subpopulations: this is at most 32 km² and probably less, and decreasing along with the number of mature trees. The fire frequency exceeds the requirements of a sustainable population, resulting in significant declines and fluctuations. This taxon therefore meets the B2 criterion for listing as Endangered.

History
  • 2000
    Vulnerable
  • 1998
    Vulnerable
    (Oldfield et al. 1998)
  • 1998
    Vulnerable
  • 1997
    Vulnerable
    (Walter and Gillett 1998)
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Mexico

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G2 - Imperiled

Reasons: Cupressus forbesii is known from a very narrow range and from only a few extant occurrences (perhaps fewer than 12 in California). Its habitat contains other unique taxa. Development is a major threat to this species. Also, wildfires can be a threat if they occur too frequently, which they have in recent years. The pace of extirpation is increasing for this plant and its status in California is becoming critical. Several sites are on public lands including BLM and USFS, but it is possible none are protected.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Comments: Known from 2 smallish areas in California and apparently some in Baja.

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The California Native Plant Society lists Tecate cypress in Category 1B:
rare or endangered in California [30].
  • 30. Smith, James Payne, Jr.; Berg, Ken. 1988. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 4th ed. Special Publication No. 1. Sacramento, CA: California Native Plant Society. 168 p. [7494]

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U.S. Federal Legal Status

None [45]
  • 45. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013. Endangered Species Program, [Online]

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Population

Population
Subpopulations may contain several thousand trees. The trend is decreasing due to changes in fire frequencies.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 30-50%

Comments: Short term trend has been one of steady and rapid decline due to numerous threats.

Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 70-90%

Comments: Long term trend has been one of severe decline.

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Threats

Major Threats
Tecate Cypress has a restricted distribution in San Diego County and one disjunct subpopulation in Orange County, which was the earliest one known to botanists (Griffin and Critchfield 1972). The largest subpopulation is on Otay Mountain close to the Mexican border; individuals are known from the Mexican side as well (Epling and Robinson 1940; see also R.F. Thorne 62688, E, RSA and personal observation by the author (A. Farjon) in October 1992). These latter trees were very close to the (then) new highway from Tecate to Mexicali. Urbanization in the region has brought an increased risk of wildfires and the prevention as well as the attempts to put these down or restrict them will be concentrated around urban properties, not in the first place around populations of rare trees. Like its congeners in California, this cypress will regenerate after fire but there is a definite risk to survival if frequency or intensity of fires are increasing due to human impact factors. There have been six major fires in one subpopulation (Santa Ana Mts., Orange Co.) during the last 95 years; this subpopulation had 3,800 adult trees in 2009 (Rodriguez-Buritica et al. 2010). There has been a significant population reduction in the last two decades, due to increased frequency of fires. It has been estimated that the population will continue to decline when major fires occur at intervals shorter than 35 years, which has been the case at least in this subpopulation. As a result, it is now severely fragmented, with many adult trees ‘hidden’ in ravines (refugia from fires) and isolated from other such stands. The greater majority of plants are seedlings and small saplings, which would not contribute to the perpetuation of the (sub)population if another major fire occurred in the next 20-30 years. A subpopulation in the Coal Canyon Reserve burnt almost completely in 2010; here most trees had not grown sufficiently large since the previous fire to produce large crops of cones needed to provide enough seedlings to replace the trees killed. There is not much time for this, and with more frequent fires this subpopulation will in the longer term turn into chaparral.
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Degree of Threat: Very high - high

Comments: Threatened by frequent wildfires, development, mining, grazing and roads.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
A management plan was published for the subpopulation in the Santa Ana Mountains, Orange Co. (Rodriguez-Buritica et al. 2010). This management plan, in its executive summary, stresses as the most important measure control of fires. If fires are too frequent, the vegetation turns to chaparral (a fire-adapted vegetation of low shrubs and annuals); if too infrequent, other trees invade and out-compete the cypresses. Modelling studies are being undertaken to estimate the correct frequency of fires that preserve the cypress stands in the long term.
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Biological Research Needs: Best management strategies for fire use with this taxon; controlled burning.

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Management considerations

Tecate cypress is considered rare throughout its range [30].

Grazing and trampling by livestock are detrimental to cypress seedlings.
Fire followed by intensive grazing could eliminate a cypress grove [1,2].

Strip mining for underlying clay deposits has destroyed a large portion
of the Sierra Peak Tecate cypress grove. Continuation of these
operations could eliminate this grove [2,38]. Most southern California
Tecate cypress groves are threatened by fire and development [10,31].

Tecate cypress seedlings are susceptible to damping-off fungi [39].
Tecate cypress has a low susceptibility to coryneum canker (Coryneum
cardinale
), which can kill trees. Fungicides are effective in
preventing the spread of the disease but cannot eradicate it once
infection has begun [13,40].
  • 10. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 1. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1966. Ecological and taxonomic relationships of Cupressus in southern California. Los Angles, CA: California State University. 129 p. Thesis. [21331]
  • 2. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1978. Southern California's vanishing cypresses. Fremontia. 6(2): 24-29. [22295]
  • 13. Johnson, LeRoy C. 1974. Cupressus L. cypress. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 363-369. [7599]
  • 30. Smith, James Payne, Jr.; Berg, Ken. 1988. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 4th ed. Special Publication No. 1. Sacramento, CA: California Native Plant Society. 168 p. [7494]
  • 31. Spenger, Connie. 1985. The northernmost Tecate cypress. Fremontia. 13(3): 8-10. [22532]
  • 38. Vogl, Richard J. 1976. An introduction to the plant communities of the Santa Ana and San Jacinto Mountains. In: Latting, June, ed. Symposium proceedings: plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 77-98. [4230]
  • 39. Vogl, Richard J.; Armstrong, Wayne P.; White, Keith L.; Cole, Kenneth L. 1977. The closed-cone pines and cypress. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 295-358. [7219]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Tecate cypress has been used in watershed rehabilitation to help prevent
soil erosion [26]. In interior California and near the coast, Tecate
cypress is used for hedges and windbreaks for citrus orchards [40].
  • 26. Radtke, Klaus. 1978. Wildland plantings & urban forestry: Native and exotic 1911-1977. Los Angeles, CA: County of Los Angeles Department of Forester and Fire Warden, Forestry Division. 134 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forestry Research, Chaparral R & D Program. [20562]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Tecate cypress forests provide cover for mountain lions and golden
eagles [31].
  • 31. Spenger, Connie. 1985. The northernmost Tecate cypress. Fremontia. 13(3): 8-10. [22532]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Rodents and deer consume cypress seedlings [40]. Cypress are considered
undesirable forage for livestock, although young plants are occasionally
browsed [40]. Tecate cypress forests are considered prime habitat for
the San Diego coast horned lizard [31].
  • 31. Spenger, Connie. 1985. The northernmost Tecate cypress. Fremontia. 13(3): 8-10. [22532]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]

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Wood Products Value

More info for the term: density

Cypress (Cupressus spp.) wood is generally durable and stable. It is
suitable for a wide range of exterior uses including joinery, shingles,
and boats. Possible interior uses include moulding and panelling [20].
Tecate cypress has been cut for fenceposts [2,40]. Cypress shelterbelts
provide good firewood. Most cypress species develop a large proportion
of heartwood which splits well, dries quickly, and is clean burning.
Cypress wood is moderately fast burning because of its medium density.
As cypress woods are prone to sparking, they are recommended only for
enclosed fires [20].
  • 2. Armstrong, Wayne P. 1978. Southern California's vanishing cypresses. Fremontia. 6(2): 24-29. [22295]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]
  • 20. Miller, J. T.; Knowles, F. B. 1990. Introduced forest trees in New Zealand: recognition, role and seed source. 9. The cypresses: Cupressus spp. and Chamaecyparis spp. FRI Bulletin 124/9. Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand Forest Service. 33 p. [21880]

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Wikipedia

Cupressus forbesii

Cupressus forbesii (Tecate cypress or Forbes' cypress)[1] is a species of cypress in western North America. [2]

Distribution[edit]

Cupressus forbesii is native to chaparral and woodlands habitats and grows at 450–1,500 metres (1,480–4,920 ft). [2] It found in the western Peninsular Ranges in: Orange and San Diego Counties in Southern California; and northern Baja California, Mexico. [2]

The northernmost stand, in Orange County, which comprises a large area on the upper limits of Coal Canyon and Sierra Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains, burned in a 2006 wildfire. Very few mature trees survived but regeneration is occurring by the hundreds to thousands. However another wildfire before trees are able to reach cone-producing age, which can be quite old for this species, could extirpate the stand.

Description[edit]

Cupressus forbesii reaches 10 metres (33 ft), and is usually without dominant terminal shoot resulting in a multi-trunked tree. The foliage ranges from rich light green to green, and seed cones are dark brown, 20–32 mm. [2]

Cupressus forbesii - Tecate Cypress bark,
at Guatay Mountain, Cuyamaca Mountains.

Taxonomy[edit]

Cupressus forbesii has in the past been referred to as Cupressus guadalupensis var. forbesii. This taxonomy has been somewhat controversial, as morphology and molecular testing have both shown Cupressus guadalupensis to be genetically distinct enough from Cupressus forbesii to warrant being placed in its own species. Cupressus guadalupensis is endemic to Guadalupe Island off Baja California, two hundred fifty miles away from any C. forbesii stands. Molecular testing has shown Cupressus guadalupensis to be slightly more closely related to Cupressus stephensonii.

Major differences between Tecate Cypress (Cupressus forbesii) and Guadalupe Cypress (Cupressus guadalupensis) are:

  • Guadalupe Cypress, when mature, makes a much more massive and taller tree than Tecate Cypress.
  • Guadalupe Cypress has glaucous, somewhat blue-tinted foliage, while Tecate Cypress has very green foliage.
  • Guadalupe Cypress cones will open without fire, while Tecate Cypress cones differ from any other species of California Cypress, in that even once disconnected from the parent tree, they will not open without heat.

Ecology[edit]

The Tecate Cypress is the only plant on which the rare Thorne's Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus thornei) lays its eggs.[3]

Cultivation[edit]

Cupressus forbesii has proven to be a successful specimen tree, tolerant of the California Coastal climate and its cool temperatures and humidity, where other inland-growing Cypress species such as Cupressus macnabiana have done poorly in these conditions. A Tecate Cypress planted at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco is showing vigor and produces viable cones at forty years of age.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ conifers.org: Cupressus forbesii. Accessed 12 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Jepson Manual
  3. ^ Lee, M. Rare Otay butterfly doesn't make 'endangered' list. San Diego Union-Tribune February 22, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Little, D.P. 2006. Evolution and circumscription of the true cypresses (Cupressaceae: Cupressus). Systematic Botany 31(3): 461-480.
  • Wolf, C. B. & Wagener, W. E. (1948). The New World cypresses. El Aliso 1: 195-205.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Treated as a species by Kartesz (1994 and 1999), and as a variety of Cupressus guadelupensis by Little (1971 atlas). Considered native but not endemic in California by Kartesz (1999).

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Common Names

Tecate cypress
Forbes cypress

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Synonyms

Callitropsis forbesii (Jeps.) D.P. Little [49]
Cupressus forbesii Jeps. (Cupressaceae) [10,24,40].
Cupressus guadalupensis Wats. var. forbesii (Jeps.) Little [48,48]
  • 10. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 24. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 40. Wolf, Carl B.; Wagener, Willis W. 1948. The New World cypresses. El Aliso Series: Vol. 1. Anaheim, CA: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 444 p. [20740]
  • 48. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2013. Flora of North America north of Mexico, [Online]
  • 49. Little, Damon P. 2006. Evolution and circumscription of the true cypresses (Cupressaceae: Cupressus). Systematic Botany. 31(3): 461-480. [87294]

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The currently accepted scientific name of Tecate cypress is Hesperocyparis
forbesii (Jeps.) Bartel [36,47,50].
  • 36. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2013. PLANTS Database, [Online]
  • 47. Baldwin, Bruce G.; Goldman, Douglas H.; Keil, David J.; Patterson, Robert; Rosatti, Thomas J.; Wilken, Dieter H., eds. 2012. The Jepson manual. Vascular plants of California, second edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1568 p. [86254]
  • 50. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1975. Rare and local conifers in the United States. Conservation Research Rep. No. 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. [15691]

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