Butte County Meadowfoam

(Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica)

Butte County meadowfoam is a California endangered plant species, which means that killing or possessing the plant is prohibited by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Butte County meadowfoam is also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act(opens in new tab). Butte County meadowfoam is an annual plant that has only been found in a narrow 28-mile strip along the eastern Sacramento Valley in Butte County. Plants are sometimes found at the edges of vernal pools, but they are primarily found in the deepest parts of vernal swales that connect vernal pools. At the time of this webpage posting, the California Natural Diversity Database lists 21 occurrences of Butte County meadowfoam that are presumed to still exist.

Butte County meadowfoam habitat is highly fragmented throughout its range due to conversion of natural habitat for urban and agricultural uses. Although some Butte County meadowfoam occurrences have been partially or completely protected from development, habitat loss and degradation remains the biggest threat to the species. Development may degrade Butte County meadowfoam habitat through changes in above- and below-ground hydrology, introduction of invasive plants, from pesticide and herbicide use, and from additional habitat fragmentation. The invasive waxy manna grass (Glyceria declinata) could become a serious threat to Butte County meadowfoam because it can invade vernal pool habitat that is typically resistant to other exotic plant species. Butte County meadowfoam habitat may be vulnerable to changes in hydrology from climate change, and populations of Butte County meadowfoam are also vulnerable to extirpation from unpredictable chance events.

To help prevent extinction, remaining populations of Butte County meadowfoam should be permanently protected and managed. Status surveys should be conducted for known populations and potentially suitable habitat should be surveyed for undiscovered populations. The effects of grazing, burning and invasive species on Butte County meadowfoam should also be investigated, with the goal of determining the best management practices for each population.

CDFW may issue permits for Butte County meadowfoam pursuant to CESA, and you can learn more about the California laws protecting Butte County meadowfoam and other California native plants. Populations of Butte County meadowfoam occur in CDFW’s North Central Region. More information is also available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species Profile for Butte County meadowfoam(opens in new tab).

Updated 9/23/2013

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Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica, © George Hartwell
Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica , © George Hartwell
Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica CDFW illustration by Mary Ann Showers, click for full-sized image
Limnanthes floccosa ssp. californica CDFW illustration by Mary Ann Showers, click for full-sized image