Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Adenostoma sparsifolium


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Howard, Janet L. 1993. Adenostoma sparsifolium. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ADESPA SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ADSP COMMON NAMES : red shank ribbon bush TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of red shank is Adenostoma sparsifolium Torr. [33]. Red shank and chamise (A. fasciculatum) are the only two species in the genus. These congeners do not naturally hybridize because their flowering periods do not overlap [15]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms of red shank. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Red shank occurs in discrete, disjunct populations in southern California and Baja California Norte. It is distributed along the South Coast and Transverse ranges from south-central San Louis Obispo County to Los Angeles County, where distribution shifts inland to interior regions of the Peninsular Ranges and the Sierra San Pedro Matir [7,17,26,30,32,36]. The southern edge of red shank's distribution is about 150 miles (240 km) beyond the Alta-Baja California border. The total range of the species is approximately 300 miles (480 km) in extent (latitude 30 deg 30 min N. to latitude 35 deg 30 min N; longitude 115 deg 40 min W. to longitude 120 deg 30 min W.) [30]. The largest red shank populations are in the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains and in interior valleys of Riverside and San Diego counties [17]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper STATES : CA MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 3 Southern Pacific Border KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K033 Chaparral K035 Coastal sagebrush SAF COVER TYPES : 239 Pinyon - juniper SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Red shank is a dominant species in chamise, mixed, redshank, and desert chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and singleleaf pinyon-Utah juniper (Pinus monophylla-Juniperus osteosperma) woodland [30]. Red shank chaparral primarily occurs in the San Jacinto and Santa Monica mountains, where it often forms open, nearly pure stands [3,16,19]. Because it grows as tall as 18 feet (5.5 m), it dominates chaparral overstories [15,36]. It is a common associate in chamise chaparral [30], and red shank and chamise codominate on some sites [26]. Red shank-populated chaparral merges with desert vegetation on its eastern edges and with coastal sage scrub and annual grassland on other margins [15]. Associated overstory species of red shank include Eastwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa), desert ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), bigpod ceanothus (C. megacarpus), spiny ceanothus (C. spinosus), hoaryleaf ceanothus (C. crassifolius), hairy ceanothus (C. oliganthus), birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), California buckwheat (Erigonum fasciculatum), California scrub oak (Quercus dumosa), laurel sumac (Malosma laurina), and chaparral yucca (Yucca whipplei) [3,15,46]. Herbaceous associates include slender oat (Avena barbata), foxtail brome (Bromus rubens), twining brodiaea (Brodiaea pulchella), showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis), and phacelia (Phacelia brachyloba) [31]. Publications describing red shank-dominated communities are as follows: California chaparral [16] Terrestrial natural communities of California [19] A vegetation classification system applied to southern California [36] The vascular plant communities of California [44].


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Small mammals browse red shank sprouts. Twenty-seven percent of sprouts tagged following prescribed fire at the University of San Diego's Sky Oaks Research Station were browsed by chaparral rodents and lagomorphs during postfire year 1. The animals browsed 42 percent of tagged sprouts in postfire year 2 [31]. Brush rabbit have been observed browsing red shank sprouts [6]. Bullock and Sosa [6] reported that range cattle in the Sierra de Juarez of Baja California were the primary consumers of red shank sprouts after a wildfire there. Following fire, Coast Range western fence lizard use charred red shank branches as basking sites [34]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Red shank aids in stabilizing watersheds. It is recommended on shallow, well-drained soils [21]. A large quantity of fresh seed must be collected directly from parent plants and germinated immediately, because seed viability is low and of short duration. Plants are established by direct seeding or by planting bareroot shrubs 1 to 3 years of age. Transplants in the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, California, showed over 47 percent survival after 11 years. Nine years after transplanting, they were 13 feet (4 m) tall and had a 10-foot (3-m) canopy spread [11]. Seedlings planted in the San Dimas Experimental Forest in the Santa Monica Mountains showed 100 percent survival after 4 years, and were 4 to 6 feet (1.2-1.8 m) tall at that time [21]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Native Americans used an infusion of red shank bark and leaves to treat syphilis. The plant oils were used to relieve skin infections [43]. Spanish Californians used red shank as a remedy for colds, snakebite, and tetanus [8]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Only 2.5 percent of California's chaparral formation is dominated by red shank. Total area occupied by red shank communities is 291,700 acres (116,680 ha) [30]. The oak (Quercus spp.)-infesting mistletoe Phoradendron villosum ssp. villosum also parasitizes red shank [18]. Pinto and Velten [37] provide a list of plant bugs (Miridae in the order Hemiptera) associated with red shank. Control: Spring aerosol application of glyphosate top-kills red shank [40]. Follow-up spraying is indicated for long-term control of sprouts. A study of red shank and chamise response to glyphosate showed that a single application killed chamise's lignotubers but not red shank's [20]. Spraying red shank with 2,4-D or 2,4,5-T is ineffective [20].


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Red shank is a native arborescent shrub growing from 6 to 18 feet (2-6 m) tall [7,16,33]. It has a rounded growth form with thick multiple branches that ascend several feet without foliage before multiple smaller branches display leaves [15,22]. Red shank is classified as a broad-leaved sclerophyll [15]. Its leaves are covered with a sticky resin that may serve to reflect excess radiation [39]. The bark exfoliates freely, peeling off in long strips [8,15,33]. Red shank has a large lignotuber; the lignotuber of one individual in the Santa Monica Mountains measured 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The root system has not been well studied but appears to be predominatly lateral with masses of small roots. Two plants excavated in the Santa Monica Mountains had thick, woody, multiple roots rapidly branching into succulent fibrous roots at 1 to 4 feet (0.3-1.2 m) below the soil surface. A few roots were found below 6 feet (1.8 m) [15]. The inflorescence is an open panicle; the fruit is an achene [7,33]. Red shank may live over 100 years [21]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Red shank primarily reproduces vegetatively. The roots and lignotuber store carbohydrates and other nutrients necessary for sprout development from adventitious buds of the lignotuber [23]. Sprouting continues throughout the life of the plant until senescence, but die-off of young stems appears to be great. Growth-ring analysis of red shank in the Palomar Mountains of San Diego County revealed that most stems were either less than 5 years of age or greater than 30 years of age, with few in between [25]. Sprout viability may be enhanced in the first few years following top-kill by fire or other means because of lack of competition from older stems. Seedling recruitment is rare. Limited research suggests that this is due to three factors: low seed set, low seed viability, and rapid loss of viability in seed that is sound when fresh. Microscopic examination of red shank seed collected over the range of red shank's distribution showed that much of the seed was unfilled. Heat treatment and subsequent sowing of the seed resulted in 0 percent germination [15]. Red shank's congener chamise produces two physiologically distinct types of seed. One type has a hard seedcoat that requires heat scarification prior to germination. This seed can remain viable in the seedbank for decades before fire breaks dormancy. The other type is nondormant and loses viability rapidly [42]. Although red shank has been reported as producing hardcoated, dormant seed [21], it probably does not. One investigation indicated that red shank produces only one of the two chamise seed types: nondormant, short-lived seed. Seed crops are usually scant. Hanes [15] searched for red shank seedlings in or near mature red shank stands from San Luis Obispo County to Baja California. He found only one site, in the Santa Monica Mountains, that supported seedlings. This site was not a burn but had been bulldozed the year prior to seedling recruitment. The year following establishment, 50 percent of seedlings died during summer drought. Hanes suggested that lack of seedling recruitment accounts for red shank's limited distribution. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Red shank grows on dry, well-drained slopes and mesas at elevations from 1,000 to 7,000 feet (305-2,134 m), with most populations found from 1,500 to 5,000 feet (457-1,524 m) elevation [7,15]. It may occur on any aspect [15], but shows definite slope association in some locations. In the Santa Monica Mountains, red shank occurs primarily on north-facing slopes [3], while in San Diego County, red shank is found on southern aspects [29]. All red shank populations except one in the Santa Monica Mountains occur more than 50 miles (80 km) inland [15]. Soils supporting red shank are typically shallow. They may be coarse in texture [15], but red shank's shallow, succulent roots are best adapted to fine-textured soils because of the superior water-retaining capacity of such soils [2]. Red shank grows in soils derived from granite or loosely-cemented Miocene sandstone [15]. A soil pH of 6.6 was reported beneath red shank stands in the Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County [9], and of 6.3 beneath stands in the Palomar Mountains, San Diego County. Where coexisting with chamise, red shank occupies the more mesic and fertile sites [26]. Soil moisture, organic matter, sulfate, and ammonium levels are significantly higher (p<0.01, 0.01, 0.05, and 0.05, respectively) on red shank-occupied soil than on chamise-occupied soil. Magnesium levels, percent coarse fraction, and soil pH are significantly lower (p<0.05 in all cases) on red shank-occupied soil [3]. The climate in which red shank grows is Mediterranean, characterized by wet, mild winters and hot, dry summers [16]. Santa Ana foehn winds may occur at any time of year, but are most common in fall [32]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Red shank is a survivor in disturbed communities, establishing from sprouts following top-kill. It is usually not replaced by other species at any stage of chaparral succession. Red shank is shade intolerant [15]. Development of new red shank communities during secondary succession is rare. When this does occur, seedlings establish during the first few postdisturbance years, competing with the herbaceous species which also establish at this time. Herbs diminish in number as the community matures, occupying spaces between red shank [15,16]. Red shank stands attain maximum canopy coverage at about postdisturbance year 25 [17]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Red shank growth begins in February. The period of most active growth is from June to mid-August [46]. Flowering occurs in late August and continues through September [8,33,46]. Stem die-off and abscission occurs during summer and fall drought. Plants on the Murphy Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains dropped 32.5 percent of randomly tagged stems during the dry season of a year of normal precipitation [15].


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Plant Adaptations: Red shank sprouts from the lignotuber following burning of aboveground portions of the plant [7,9,16,25,26,31]. Fire Ecology: Red shank communities generally have less total aboveground biomass than chamise communities because they are more open, but have more standing dead fuel per plant and deeper litter. A comparison of the two species on the Los Padres National Forest showed that red shank averaged 44 percent dead biomass versus 38 percent for chamise [9]. Red shank litter accumulates rapidly because of continuous shedding of bark and abscission of stems during summer drought, and because rate of litter decay is slow in southern California chaparral [17]. Red shank litter in mature stands varies from 0.5 to 2.0 inches (1.3-5.1 cm) in depth [15]. Litter accumulation on the Los Padres National Forest is 1.2 tons per acre per year (1.2 t/ha/yr). Average aboveground biomass in the 25-year-old red shank community was 12 tons per acre (30 t/ha) [9]. Red shank leaves are covered by a sticky resin comprising 10 to 15 percent of their dry weight. Flammable compounds found in red shank leaves and exuded resin include flavonoids and phenolic acids. Some of the compounds within these chemical families have been extracted from leaves and resin and identified [39]. Historical documents show that prior to fire suppression, southern California chaparral usually burned in summer. Fires typically crept down slopes by means of falling brands and coals, and only occasionally formed the hot runs on steep slopes that are typical of today's fires. Large fuels often smoldered for months. This fire behavior resulted in a mosaic of numerous small burns throughout the landscape. This pattern is still evident in northern Baja California, where fire suppression is not practiced. In contrast, most fires in southern California now occur in fall during Santa Ana winds and consume large patches of chaparral. The size of individual burns increases abruptly north of the international border. Fire suppression has reduced the number of fires, but because of the increase in burn size, total acreage burned is approximately the same on either side of the border [32]. Southern California chaparral fires typically crown out, burning all or most of the aboveground portions of shrubs [1]. Fire frequency varies from a few years to as long as 60, although shrubs cannot survive many short-interval fires [32]. Chaparral stands become extremely flammable within 30 to 60 years after fire, depending on topography and stand productivity [38]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire top-kills red shank [15,17,31]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Red shank sprouts vigorously following fire [15]. Nearly 100 percent of red shank on the Sky Oaks Field Station, San Diego County, sprouted following prescribed winter fire [31]. Red shank dees not establish well from seed after fire [3,15]. A prescribed December fire in Chihuahua Valley, San Diego County, top-killed red shank, but did little damage to red shank lignotubers and fine root hairs. Mean surface soil temperature was 662 degrees Fahrenheit (350 deg C). Red shank fine root hair density in the burn site was higher at postfire year 1 than on an adjacent unburned area. Sprouts grew an average length of 4.8 inches (12 cm) per month in the first postfire growing season. Die-back of fine root hairs occurred with the onset of summer drought, but sprouts continued to grow through fall [28]. A study on red shank community structure in the long-term absence of fire, conducted in Chiuahua Valley, San Diego County, showed that basal coverage of red shank was 29.22 square feet per acre (6.79 sq m/ha) and density was 368 plants per acre (920/ha) at postfire year 66 [24,25] . DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Soil under red shank plants in red shank-chamise chaparral showed a significant decrease in soil organic matter following prescribed February fire. Postfire changes in nutrient levels of soil under red shank were detailed [4]. The caloric content of red shank leaves and stems is high, but not as high as chamise. Caloric content of red shank foliage by fuel diameter class size is available [46]. Elements of consideration when developing a fire prescription for southern California chaparral are available in the literature [13,14].


SPECIES: Adenostoma sparsifolium
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