Point Lobos Dudleya

Three species of Dudleya are listed as being found at Point Lobos:

1. Dudleya caespitosa 

Photo by Stan Shebs [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. Dudleya farinosa

Photo by Stan Shebs [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
3. Dudleya lanceolata 

Photo by Joe Decruyenaere [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

D. lanceolata might be the plants I moved from a fiercely hot, arid location to a nearly full shade, damp(ish) place, where they have been better.  The plants currently look exhausted from having bloomed heavily this summer.  Winter may revive them.  
Which species exactly we saw at Point Lobos, I'm not 100% certain, because they were growing on sheer rocky cliffs too far away for close-up photos with the lens I had.


D. farinosa, I think.  The flowers are the easiest way to ID the species.  The foliage can vary from greenish to very silvery within the same species, depending on location and growing conditions.

 The tree is a Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata).  The rock is a type of granite that shears off in layers.  When a whole slice of stone falls away,  the Dudleyas have a fresh clean fissured surface in which to establish a new colony.  Wind or gravity will drop seeds into cracks and fissures, where they will grow.  The fog laden air provides moisture.  

Here a small clump of Dudleyas grow (the white dots) but are dwarfed by the mass of what I think is dried out Carpobrotus edulis, a South African iceplant invader of coastal California now from the Oregon to the Mexican border.  It was planted at one time to stabilize dunes but became widespread via birds dropping seeds. 
Dudleya colonies will grow for many decades in the same spot, the roots of current plants growing in the decayed organic matter of their ancestors.


 The dried flowers:
It was so cool to see Dudleyas in habitat.  The native plants of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve are largely still present  because although the area hosted human activity as a launching point for whaling ships and abalone divers, the land itself was never overly changed.  An early owner, Alexander M. Allan, had the foresight to preserve the area until it was acquired by the State of California.   Habitat restoration is in progress for some damaged portions, but it must be done with minimal disruption so is slow and painstaking.   

Still waiting for the part to fix my computer display.   Soon, hopefully! 

Comments

  1. They're impressive plants, especially when massed like that. I hope the crazy practice of people stealing the plants from public areas has halted - at least the Point Lobos plants have matural protection.

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    1. They are only still there because humans can't reach them. How sad is that?

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  2. I have committed botani-cide on at least one of each of these.

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    1. May not be you, may be your area's very hot summers? Lanceolata seems more adaptable than the rest of them. I've killed a couple brittonii , but think to try again by planting them vertically.

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  3. So cool to see them growing in their native habitat.

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    1. Isn't it? Gives clues as to how to keep them happy. Of course who would not be happy to live on a spectacular coast with gorgeous ocean views?

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  4. I agree there is something magical about seeing plants growing in the native habitat...and we are so fortunate to be able to have you post these and share these. Thank you.

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  5. I very much enjoyed these photos of the carpets of Dudleya, as well as the lesson. Hope your computer gets fixed soon.

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  6. Breathtakingly cool. The shot looking up to the clifftop with sunlit Monterey pine is so expressive of adaptation to time and weather forces. Thanks!

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    1. The docent was saying that particular spot might have the purest air in the US because it came straight in from several thousand miles of uninterrupted Pacific Ocean. It was heaven to inhale, quite an experience for someone from Southern California.

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    2. Breath-givingly cool as well!

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    3. Inhaling that pure air was as much of a thrill as seeing the waves crash on jagged rocks, the clarity of turquoise water, the soaring grace of pelicans, the otters bobbing in the kelp beds...

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  7. I am tempted by your silvery Dudleya, but will try to be happy with the Carpobrotus cuttings my neighbour gave me.

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    1. Hopefully you can keep it in check. Or is it more vigorous in California than in SA?

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  8. How interesting that they like both establishing on freshly exposed surfaces, while they also grow "...in the decayed organic matter of their ancestors." Makes me think of us humans. To begin with, we like to break off from our families and start our own thing. But, after that initial foray into the unknown, so very often we return to the kind of setting we grew up in. Maybe not a precise comparison, but I'm feeling a little philosophical today.

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    1. Autumn will do that. DNA might have more to do with our interests than we think--the science waits to be done.

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  9. We went here last time we were in LA over Christmas - well worth the trip. Thanks for identifying these plants.

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