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Menzies' Wallflower Erysimum menziesii


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Menzies' Wallflower
credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description A low, succulent plant with dense clusters of bright yellow flower, this plant is rare and found only in a few parts of California.
Habit: native biennial or short-lived perennial herb; erect stems, unbranched or branched at top, rise from a basal rosette.
Height: 1-14 in (25-350 mm)
Leaf: fleshy, spoon-shaped, sometimes toothed or lobed, rounded tip, 1-4 in (25-100 mm) long, 0.2-0.6 in (5-15 mm) long.
Flower: 0.5-0.75 in (12-19 mm) wide; with 4 yellow petals, not white, overlapping, wide, round, 0.6-1.2 in (15-30 mm) wide, 0.25-0.6 in (6-14 mm) long; held in rounded terminal cluster or spike.
Fruit: very long, flat pod, 1-5.5 in (25-140 mm) long; held pointing out.

Endangered Status The Menzies' Wallflower is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in California. Six hundred is an alarmingly low number when it represents all the members of a particular species. That is the number of Menzies' Wallflowers remaining in coastal dune habitats in northern and central California. The accumulated effects of commercial and residential expansion, off-road vehicle use, recreational trampling, and sand mining have all contributed to its decline. Unfortunately, there is not yet a recovery plan in effect for this wallflower.

Flower January to April (May to June in Monterey County).

Habitat Stabilized coastal sand dunes; to 1000 ft (300 m).

Range California, on the coasts of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Monterey counties; also reported in Oregon.

Discussion Sometimes divided into four subspecies. A federal endangered species. Menzies' wallflower was first collected from the Monterey area by Archibald Menzies during the Vancouver expedition in 1792 to 1794.