Publication Date: 
October 2005
Safford, HD, JH Viers, and S Harrison. 2005. Serpentine Endemism in the California Flora: A Database of Serpentine Affinity. Madroño 52(4): 222–257

We present a summary of a database documenting levels of affinity to ultramafic ("serpentine") substrates for taxa in the California flora, USA. We constructed our database through an extensive literature search, expert opinion, field observations, and intensive use of accession records at key herbaria. We developed a semi-quantitative methodology for determining levels of serpentine affinity (strictly endemic, broadly endemic, strong "indicator", etc.) in the California flora. In this contribution, we provide a list of taxa having high affinity to ultramafic/serpentine substrates in California, and present information on rarity, geographic distribution, taxonomy, and lifeform. Of species endemic to California, 12.5% are restricted to ultramafic substrates. Most of these taxa come from a half-dozen plant families, and from only one or two genera within each family. The North Coast and Klamath Ranges support more serpentine endemics than the rest of the State combined. 15% of all plant taxa listed as threatened or endangered in California show some degree of association with ultramafic substrates. Information in our database should prove valuable to efforts in ecology, floristics, biosystematics, conservation, and land management.