Orcuttia californica is a rare species of grass known by the common name California Orcutt grass.
It is native to southern California and northern Baja California, where it grows in scattered locations in vernal pool habitat. In 1993 it was known from fewer than 20 occurrences, including those at the Santa Rosa Plateau, a creek drainage near Hemet, Otay Mesa in San Diego County, and one spot in Woodland Hills.
Orcuttia californica is a federally listed endangered species, and its existence is still threatened by the disappearance of vernal pools in the region, a naturally rare habitat type that has been reduced further by urban development.
Orcuttia californica is a small, hairy annual grass with prostrate stems sometimes forming small tufts or mats, rarely exceeding 15 centimeters tall. It is bright green, aromatic, and glandular, secreting sticky, bitter-tasting exudate. The leaves are 1 or 2 centimeters long, the first set produced when the pool is wet, another set growing during the dry season. The inflorescence is up to 6 centimeters long with spikelets of pinkish flowers.
- USFWS. Determination of endangered status for three vernal pool plants and the Riverside fairy shrimp. Federal Register August 3, 1993.
- Center for Plant Conservation
- Jepson Manual Treatment - Orcuttia californica
- USDA Plants Profile: Orcuttia californica
- Grass Manual Treatment - Orcuttia californica
- Images of the Santa Rosa Plateau by Wayne Armstrong
- Orcuttia californica - Photo gallery
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