Overview

Distribution

Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Encelia californica Nutt.:
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.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs, 50–150 cm. Stems with slender branches from bases, glabrous, developing smooth or roughened barks. Leaves cauline; petioles 5–25 mm; blades green, rhombic or narrowly ovate, 30–60 mm, apices acute, faces glabrous. Heads borne singly. Peduncles pubescent. Involucres 10–12 mm. Phyllaries lanceolate. Ray florets 15–25; corolla laminae 15–35 mm. Disc corollas brown-purple, 5–6 mm. Cypselae 5–7 mm; pappi 0. 2n = 36.
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Ecology

Habitat

California Coastal Sage and Chaparral Habitat

This taxon is found in the California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion, located along the southern coast of California and Pacific coast of Baja California, has extremely high levels of species diversity and endemism. The eight Channel Islands are also part of this ecoregion, as are Isla Guadalupe and Isla Cedros. The climate is Mediterranean, with cold wet winters and dry hot summers. Precipitation levels range between 150 to 500 millimeters per annum. Vegetation typically grows on soils made of volcanic rocks on the base of the San Pedro Martir Mountains and on soils of sedimentary origin closer to the coastal zone.

The California coastal sage and chaparral supports a diversity of habitats including montane conifer forests, Torrey pine woodland, cypress woodlands, southern walnut woodlands, oak woodlands, riparian woodlands, chamise chaparral, inland and coastal sage scrub, grasslands, vernal pools, and freshwater and salt marshes. Coastal sage scrub, chamise chaparral, and oak woodlands dominate much of the landscape. Coastal sage scrub is a diverse and globally rare habitat type occurring in coastal terraces and foothills at elevations below 1000 meters (m), interspersed with chamise chaparral, oak woodland, grasslands, and salt marsh. This habitat type is characterized by low, aromatic and drought-deciduous shrublands of Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), White Sage (Salvia apiana), Munz’s Sage (Salvia munzii), California Sage (Artemisia californica), California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), California Brittlebush (Encelia californica), Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia), and a diverse assemblage of other shrubs, herbaceous plants, cacti and succulents. Opuntia, Yucca, and Dudleya are some of the most common succulent genera, with the latter represented by several species endemic to the ecoregion.

The Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis), and Santa Catalina Shrew (Sorex willetti) are endemic mammals found in the ecoregion. Some of the specialist mammalian species found in the California sage and chaparral are: San Diego Pocket Mouse (Chaetodipus fallax), Merriam's Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys merriami), and Stephens's Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys stephensi).

The Rosy Boa (Charina trivirgata), California Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra), and several relict salamanders are examples of the unusual and distinctive herpetofauna. Some endemic reptile species found in the ecoregion are: San Clemente Night Lizard (Xantusia riversiana), found only on the Channel Islands; Red-diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber), San Diego Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus abbotti), and Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii).

Nutall’s Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) is endemic to the California sage and chaparral ecoregion, as are several endemic subspecies, which occur in the Channel Islands. Virtually all of the ecoregion is included in the California Endemic Bird Area. The California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) is a further relict species found in the ecoregion.  The coastal populations of the Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) are a notable occurrence of this bird, which is usually found in more arid regions.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Encelia californica (which is comprised of two varieties) is in California (below 600 meters) and Baja California (Mexico), including some islands; it occurs in coastal scrub and chaparral, where it is can be occasional to prevalent.

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Wikipedia

Encelia californica

Encelia californica is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family known by the common name California brittlebush. It is also commonly referred to as "California bush sunflower".

This shrub is native to southern California and Baja California where it is a member of the coastal sage plant community at the shoreline. It can also be found on inland foothills in the Transverse and Peninsular Ranges.

It is drought tolerant but not frost tolerant, and needs full sun.

Description

Encelia californica is a bushy, sprawling shrub reaching between one half and 1.5 meters in height. It has many thin branches covered in widely spaced green leaves which are a rounded diamond shape. The solitary flower heads are daisylike, with 15 to 25 bright yellow ray florets 1 to 3 centimeters long around a center of protruding yellowish to purplish brown disc florets. The fruit is an achene 5 to 7 millimeters long, with no pappus. It blooms from February to June, and attracts butterflies, bees, and other insects.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Comprised of two varieties, with var. asperifolia endemic in west-central Baja California (Wiggins 1980).

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