San Diego Management & Monitoring Program

Heart-leaved pitcher sage
Lepechinia cardiophylla

Kingdom Phylum Subphylum Class Order Suborder Family

Current distribution rangewide

Restricted to Santa Ana Mountains in Orange and Riverside counties, Iron Mountain in San Diego County and Baja California [1,2,3,4].

Known Populations in San Diego County

Within the MSPA two small conserved occurrences in MU8 (<500 individuals) in relatively close proximity (Wilderness Gardens and Mount Olympus Preserves; [5]).

List status


Habitat affinities

Occurs in closed-cone coniferous forest, chaparral and cismontane woodland 550-1,370 m [1,3,4]. Associated with southern oak woodland forest with scattered Coulter pine and big cone spruce chaparral-oak woodland, and chamise chaparral. Soil conditions include Friant rocky fine sandy loams (Iron Mountain, San Diego County), Exchequer soils (Orange County), volcanic soils (Baja California; [3]).

Taxonomy and genetics

In family Lamiaceae [6]. One of five species of genus Lepechinia in California [7]; the five share traits indicating they derived from repeated instances of range expansion and contact among species with hybridization followed by range contraction and isolation of populations with subsequent differentiation resulting from drift and natural selection [1,7]. No species-specific studies regarding population genetics located. Members of the genus have a diploid chromosome (2n) number of 32 [6].

Life history demography

Flowers funnel-shaped, white to lavender-tinged in color [2]. Calyx becomes scarlet purple and enlarges in fruit. Glaborous round to oblong fruit, one-seeded, 2-4 mm in diameter

Seasonal phenology

Perennial shrub; blooms April-July [4].

Pollination seed dispersal

No information.


Threatened by development; potentially threatened by road maintenance, powerline installation, and fuel break maintenance [4].

Special considerations:

Reported to be a fire follower [8].

Heart-leaved pitcher sage sources