Relict Species: The Elephant Tree

Relict: N. A remnant or survivorSpecies: N. A distinct sort or kindBursera microphylla                Perhaps you’ve had that odd experience where you say a word enough times that it seems to become stranded from its regular associations. When that happens, a common word like “banana” or “toast” suddenly stops representing a thing or a concept and becomes …

Relict Species: California Fan Palm

Relict, n: a remnant or survivor.Species, n: a distinct sort or kindWashingtonia filifera               While you wouldn’t know it based on urban development together with beautifully manicured and shady trees throughout the city and suburbs, Los Angeles and San Diego were once largely treeless. The wide, rolling coastal plains were covered by grasses and …

Relict Species: Foxtail and Bristlecone Pines

Relict, n: a remnant or survivor.Species, n: a distinct sort or kindPinus balfouriana and Pinus longaevaGreat Basin Bristlecone PineFoxtail PineIn the upper regions of the two highest ranges in California, two closely related trees exist in isolated remnant pockets. These trees are famed for their longevity, with one, the Great Basin bristlecone pine, known to live up to 5,000 years. …

Guatay Mountain

Guatay Mountain is a moderate-height peak that lies just south of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The park features the usual views, but the noteworthy aspect of this mountain is that it is home to the Tecate Cypress, which grows in a handful of locales in Orange and San Diego Counties.Distance: 5.7Elevation Gained: 1,600'Difficulty: Moderately StrenuousTime: …

Relict Species: Torrey Pine

Relict, n: a remnant or survivor.Species, n: a distinct sort or kindTorrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)The Torrey Pine is North America's rarest pine tree, growing only on two bluffs in San Diego County, with a separate population growing on Santa Rosa Island of the Channel Islands. The geographic separation of the two populations suggests that the trees were once wide-spread, …