Fritillaria falcata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Fritillaria falcata
Species Authority: (Jeps.) D.E.Beetle
Common Name(s):
English Talus Fritillary
Fritillaria atropurpurea variety falcata Jeps.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-06-08
Assessor(s): Contu, S.
Reviewer(s): Scott, J.A.
Fritillaria falcata is a bulb geophyte endemic to California, restricted to Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Alameda, Monterey and San Benito counties and specialized to grow on serpentine soil and chaparral biome. Consequently the extent of occurrence (EOO) is quite restricted at just 900 km2, qualifying the species to be evaluated in the Endangered category; furthermore the species is currently only known to be represented in the wild by few subpopulations, (probably five, of which only one is known to occur within the protected areas network, and this is also estimated to represent five locations) and there are threats, such as vehicle use, feral pigs etc. which might cause a continuing decline in the extent and the quality of the habitat and in the number of mature individuals. Further botanical surveys are needed to fully understand the exact distribution range and health of the species, but on the basis of the present knowledge it is believed that further conservation measures should be promptly taken.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to California and it is known to be restricted to Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Alameda, Monterey and San Benito counties.
United States (California)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species has been described as rare in the San Francisco Bay area.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is a bulb geophyte which is known to grow in sloping sites in full sun on a serpentine soil and in the chaparral biome. The vegetative habitat of this species is similar to that of Fritillaria glauca; the flower more nearly resembled that of F. purdyi. All three species are restricted to serpentine soil (Beetle 1944).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: No information available.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is known to be threatened by vehicle use (Tibor 2001); other threats may include feral pigs, right-of-way maintenance, and mining. Modification of serpentine habitats by human activity results from mining activities, agriculture (farming and grazing), logging and recreation. Some disturbances (mining, logging, and the development of geothermal power) have affected serpentine floras. The least destructive uses of serpentine areas are as watershed and by wildlife; the infertility of serpentines limits their value for agriculture and forestry (Kruckeberg 1984).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been listed as G2 (Imperiled - At high risk of extinction or elimination due to very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, or other factor) from NatureServe 2003, and as a rare, threatened, or endangered plant in California and elsewhere from the California Native Plants Society (Tibor 2001). The species is currently known to occur in only one protected area: San Benito Wilderness Study Area; therefore it is suggested to improve the in situ conservation measures and insure that more populations are protected in the wild. Seed has been collected and stored in the Millennium Seed Bank as an ex situ conservation measure.

Bibliography [top]

Beetle, D.E. 1944. A monograph of the North American species of Fritillaria. MadroƱo: a West American Journal of Botany 7(5): 129-160.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Jepson, W.L. 1922. A fFora of California. University of California, Berkeley, California.

Knight, L. and Seevers, J. 1992. Species Status: Plants of the Medford District BLM. Bureau of Land Management - Medford District, Medford, Oregon.

Kruckeberg, A.R. 1985. California serpentines: flora, vegetation, geology, soils, and management problems. University of California Press.

McGary, M.J. 2001. Bulbs of North America. Timber Press and North American Rock Garden Society, Portland.

NatureServe. 2009. An Online Encyclopedia of Life. Available at: (Accessed: June 2009).

Tibor, D.P. 2001. California Native Plant Society's inventory of rare and endangered plants of California. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, California.

Citation: Contu, S. 2013. Fritillaria falcata. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
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