Salt Marsh Bird’s Beak

Common name:  Point Reyes bird’s beak

Purple (center) and green (right) color variants

Scientific name:  Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. palustris

Listing:  USFWS Species of Concern, Endangered by the state of Oregon, endangered or threatened throughout its range (list 1) by the Oregon Biological Information Center, and a Bureau Sensitive Species with the Bureau of Land Management.
Distribution:  Along the Pacific Coast of North American from Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, California, north to Netarts Spit, Tillamook County, Oregon.  There are 18 known sites in Oregon, primarily the Coos Bay area, Yaquina Bay, and Netarts Spit.
What’s cool about this plant:  Point Reyes bird’s beak is a hemiparasite, meaning that although it is photosynthetic, it obtains much of it’s mineral nutrition by parasitizing neighboring plant species.

Project description:  We are working with the Coos Bay BLM to

  1. Track changes in population size and location through time, and
  2. Test the effect of interspecific competition on recruitment. 

In 2010, we mapped the population, established permanent monitoring plots, and initiated field competition trials.  We will revisit the site in August 2011 to determine second year population trends and the effects of our experiment.

Follow this link to read the 2012 project report.

Ian Finn, Geoff Gardner, and Andrea Thorpe