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Humboldt Bay Wallflower
(Erysimum menziesii ssp. eurekense )

Humboldt Bay wallflower
BLM Photograph

Description: This species may be a biennial or a short-lived perennial. Each plant usually has several flowering stems from 1.2-5.9 inches (0.5 to 1.5 decimeters) tall. The flowers are a fragrant and brilliant light yellow, 0.6-0.8 inches (15-20 millimeters) long. The fleshy leaves form a basal rosette and are somewhat spoon-shaped, narrowing abruptly to the leaf stalk. Leaves are 0.8- 4.3 inches (2-11 centimeters) long and 0.16 - 0.6 inches (4-15 millimeters) wide, and the leaf margins are toothed. The flower stalks are 0.4 - 0.6 inches (9-15 millimeters) tall. The fruit consists of very long, narrow pods (siliques) and the longest pods are usually greater than 3.1 inches (8 centimeters) in length.


Distribution: This plant is distributed only on the coastal foredunes around Humboldt Bay reaching from the South Spit of Humboldt Bay northward to Lanphere-Christensen Dunes Preserve on the Samoa Peninsula just south of Mad River County park.


Habitat: Humboldt Bay Wallflower occurs on coastal dunes and foredunes anywhere between 0-177 feet (0-60 meters) around Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County. It grows on flanks or crests of dunes, open sand areas, sparsely vegetated dunes, and the borders of lupine scrub. The species can tolerate some sand movement. The associated vegetation community is composed of low-growing obscurely shrubby and herbaceous species. Common species are beach sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala), dune goldenrod (Solidage spathulata), coast buckwheat (Eriogonumlatifolium), sand verbena (Abronia latifolia), beach pea (Lathyrus littoralis), and seashore bluegrass (Poa douglasii).


Flowering Period: Humboldt Bay wallflower blooms approximately from March to May. Blossoming can begin as early as late February.


Similar Plants: There are four subspecies to the Erysimum menziesii complex. Primarily, they can be differentiated by georgraphic location. Erysimum menziesii ssp. yadonii is restricted to four populations in the vicinity of the Marina Dunes near Salinas River in Monterey County; Erysimum menziesii ssp.menziesii (Menzies' Wallflower) is located in Monterey and Mendocino Counties occuring from the Monterey Peninsula to Point Piños to Cypress Point in Monterey and Ten Mile River south to Fort Bragg in Mendocino County. Erysimum menziesii ssp. concinnum occurs from southern Oregon to Point Reyes in Mendocino County but can be distinguished from Erysimum menziesii ssp. eurekense by its sharply toothed and fleshy leaves.


Status: Federal Endangered, California State Endangered, California Native Plant Society List 1B


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Field Office: Arcata

Last updated: 08-05-2010