Endangered Species in Santa Cruz County - Plants


Santa Cruz Wallflower

Santa Cruz Wallflower

Scientific Name: Erysimum teretifolium

Status: E

Also known as the Ben Lomond Wallflower, this is a short-lived perennial plant, or occasionally an annual, of the mustard family. Seedlings form a basal rosette of leaves which then wither as the main stem develops a terminal spike. The flowers are a deep yellow with petals 1.3-2.5 centimeters (0.5-1.0 inch) long. The fruit, a slender capsule, reaches 10 centimeters (4.0 inches) in length and is covered with three-parted hairs. Characteristics that separate this plant from other wallflowers include simple, narrowly linear leaves that have small marginal teeth and a purplish cast.

This species of wallflower is endemic to pockets of sandstone soils in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is found in open areas within northern maritime chaparral and within the scattered ponderosa pines in the sand parklands. The largest populations are found on ridgelines where underlying fossilized sand dollar beds inhibit the growth of all but herbaceous perennials and annuals.

Threats to the species include the direct removal of habitat by sand quarrying and residential development. Alteration of habitat may also be occurring in the form of increased canopy density within the Ben Lomond sandhills as a result of fire suppression.

To Learn More:

  • Calflora Database
    Detailed information about California plant biodiversity for conservation, education and general appreciation; covers more than 7,660 native and introduced species.
  • NatureServe Explorer
    Enter species name to access a detailed description of habitat, food, current conservation status, ecological and distribution data, with citations to relevant management reports.
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    Documents describing protection for this species under the Endangered Species Act. General information about the species as well as plans to both protect it and to help it recover.
  • Species Account
    Excerpts from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents available at the Central Branch Library

Last updated by teeterj on Oct. 27, 2011

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E — Endangered

T — Threatened

CH — Critical Habitat

PE — Taxa proposed for listing as endangered

PT — Taxa proposed for listing as threatened

PCH — Critical habitat which has been proposed

C — Candidate species for which the Fish and Wildlife Service has on file sufficient information on the biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list as endangered or threatened