Holocarpha virgata ssp. elongata


Holocarpha virgataHolocarpha virgata ssp. elongata (Bob Allen)

Distinguished by the open-pit glands which you can see in the picture (those dark spots, found at the end of the truncate leaves and on the phyllaries), Holocarpha virgata ssp. elongata, or Graceful Tarplant, was spotted by Dave Bramlet on the Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary on July 26th while the Orange County CNPS Board was there for a planning retreat.  Bob Allen took this close-up photo from a specimen gathered on August 10, 2008.

Dave was so excited about this find that he virtually ignored the tarantula the rest of us were watching cross our path!  Those botanists are cray-zee.

A wonderful feature of the plant is the scent.  It is slightly sticky when you touch the flowers and buds, and the fragrance it leaves on your hand is very strong and citrus-like.

Sandy DeSimone of Starr Ranch said that the plant has been previously seen on the ranch but misidentified for years.  It is a CNPS List 4.2 rare plant, a California endemic native to Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties.  In Orange County this species is known only from Starr Ranch, native grasslands at Trabuco Canyon, and coastal bluffs at San Clemente State Beach.  It is also known from the Santa Rosa Plateau.  See CNPS Rare Plant Page for more information.

Nice find, Dave!  And thanks to Dave for help with information for this article.


H. virgata ssp. elongata at Starr Ranch (Laura Camp)

H. virgata ssp. elongata at Starr Ranch (Laura Camp)


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