Botanical name: Rosa minutifolia
Phytogeographic list: Coastal scrub
The Small-Leaved Rose is a rare species that has become endangered due to off-road vehicle playgrounds. Part of the desert scrub community, this plant can be found in mesas, hillsides, and arroyos within a few kilometers from the coast. It can be seen in northwestern Otay Mesa in San Diego County. Near there is an area that is extensively utilized by off-road vehicles. The thicket where this rose can be found is fairly substantial. This plant grows in cobbly loam soils. One can also see 26 specimens of this species at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium.
The Small-Leaved Rose is a densely branched shrub with little curved red-to-gray spines; slender and slightly hairy shoots. The little pinnate leaves have 3-7 leaflets with sharp edges. The stems are covered with hairs of yellow and red thorns. And the tiny fruits are covered with thorns. The flower petals are light purple-magenta measuring about 1/ 1/4 inches in diameter. They flower January through June.
by Charity Castrova
The Torrey Pine, Pinus Torreyana, also are called Soledad, Lone or Del Mar Pine, is found on the Del Mar Coast of San Diego County, California and the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island. You can find them three miles north of La Jolla, California. There are only about 3,000 trees on the coast of California and about 100 on Santa Rosa Island.
The Torrey Pine got its name from a botanical collector, Charles Christopher Parry. He was an physician, geologist, and botanist with the Mexican Boundary Survey. He went to see the pines in 1850. He named them in honor of Dr. John Torrey, his old teacher, a botanist at Columbia University.
They are a very slow growing tree. A century is the usual life for the Torrey Pine. A tree with a 10- to 12-inch diameter is from 75- to 80-years old. When you cultivate the Torrey Pine, it grows faster. The Ward Torrey Pine grows in a village at Carpinteria. In 1894 it was dug up as a seedling on Santa Rosa Island and transplanted. By 1947 it was 101 feet high, the trunk 5 feet thick and its branches spread 122 feet, and was still growing. It is believed that it did so well because of the Mediterranean climate. New Zealand has had "ok" success.
The tree has very thick bark. When grown in the wild the trees only grow to be 15- to 20-feet high. The trunk of the tree and its roots will grow in unsymmetrical patterns. This is because of the mesa that they grew in. The trees formed themselves to the cliffs. Their roots go as far as 30 to 40 feet down into very hard land.
The most interesting part of the Torrey Pine is the cones. They each weigh at least a pound and grow 4- to 6-inches long as well as wide. They are mature when they are chestnut brown in color. It was the cones of the Torrey Pine that got Dr. Parry to come see the trees. He had heard that the Indians ate them. We couldn't find any confirmation that the Indians did this, but that is why Dr. Parry came.
The leaves are 8- to 13-inches long. At the end of the leaf are twigs/needles, usually in bundles of 5. They are dark green in color. The needles are 10-inches long, gray-green and very stiff.
The Torrey Pine does not do well in shade. It likes full sun to grow. Once it is mature, in the third season it will give seeds in August, and some in September. It will bear seeds best when it is 12- to 18-years old. There are many seedlings around the existing trees.
by Andy Kilbourne and Blake Kilbourne
The Button Celery looks like a weed. A member of the parsley family, this herbaceous biennial has five main leaves that have a spiny point.There are three stems that grow out from the middle with flowers on the end with leaves on the side of the flowers.
Button celery grows near vernal pools or mima mound areas that have moist conditions. They've been spotted in the following San Diego County areas: Kearney Mesa, Otay Mesa, downtown San Marcos, Camp Pendleton, Miramar Naval Air Station, east San Diego, and more.Specimens can be seen at the San Diego Natural History Museum's herbarium.
Due to housing and business development, the destruction of vernal pool areas has caused the population of the Button Celery to decline. This has continued to happen even though this plant is listed as endangered by the state and federal agencies.
by Andrew Castrova
© 1996 The Special Species Project ®