San Diego Management & Monitoring Program

Chaparral nolina
Nolina cismontana

Kingdom Phylum Subphylum Class Order Suborder Family

Current distribution rangewide

Endemic to California [1]. Occurs in the foothills of Santa Ynez Mountains in western Ventura County, Simi Hills and Santa Ana Mountains to the foothills west of Palomar and Cuyamaca Mountains in San Diego County [2].

Known Populations in San Diego County

In MSPA,the only recent occurrence documented since 2000 on Conserved Lands in the MSPA is at Hellhole Canyon Preserve in MU8, which burned in 2003 and 2007 and may no longer be extant [3].

List status


Habitat affinities

Occurs in coastal foothills in xeric coastal sage scrub and open chaparral habitats from 140-1275m [1,2]. Found on sandstone and/or gabbro soils [1]; also reported in Cieneba, Los Posas fine sandy loams, Lodo, Calleguas-Arnold complex, and Anaheim soils [4].

Taxonomy and genetics

Chaparral nolina is in Ruscaceae family [1].

Life history demography

A perennial shrub. Mature rosettes have 30-90 stiff, sword-like leaves 0.5-1.4m long; flower stalk (cream to white flowers) up to 3.1m tall [2].

Seasonal phenology

Blooms May-July [1].

Pollination seed dispersal

No information.


Threats include urban development, agriculture, road construction, and recreational activities [1]. Declining in Pala region due to land clearance for orchards and large residential yards, and in foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains from residential development [4]. Throughout most of range threatened by residential and commercial land development [2]. Additional threats include cumulative habitat degradation due to increased fire frequency and invasive plants.

Special considerations:

Special considerations: Little known beyond botanical description, geographic distribution, and soil associations.

Chaparral nolina sources