Get to know an endangered plant – Chinese Camp Brodiaea


Chinese Camp Brodiaea (Brodiaea pallida)

Listing Status:  Threatened (Nationally) Endangered (California)

Chinese Camp Brodiaea is a member of the Clusterlily family. Its botanical name is Brodiaea pallida. The scientific name epithet pallida means ‘pale’ which is perfect for this pale purple floret. Typically it grows as a perennial, which is defined as a plant that matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of three years or more.


This adorable blossom grows in a specialized habitat, the vernal pool, is threatened by urban expansion and development. Vernal pools are small wetland habitats created by the collection of rainfall in land depressions. These interesting ecosystems are filled with many endangered species and need to be protected not only for the plants and animals that make them their home, but also for visiting animals such as migratory birds.

It is endemic to California, where it is known from a two populations along the border between Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties.The first population is at the Type locality near Chinese Camp and contains a varying number of individuals which has been estimated at 600 to 5000. This population is limited to a 65-acre tract of land which is privately owned. The plant was federally listed as a threatened species in 1998. In the year 2000, a second population was discovered 24 kilometers away, and it may contain up to 10,000 individuals. The species is threatened by development of its habitat.


The primary threats to Chinese Camp brodiaea include destruction and modification of habitat, and the vulnerability of small populations to extirpation resulting from catastrophic events and possible lack of genetic diversity. All occurrences of this species are located on private lands where no protections are in place for this species in perpetuity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 5-Year Review conducted in 2012 indicates that residential development is in various stages of planning at locations for all populations, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not consider this threat to be imminent.


If you do spot one please note were it is (your phones GPS can really come in handy for this) and tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as soon as you can.

Find out more where I did. . .

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