Hidden Lake Bluecurls

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Hidden Lake Bluecurls

Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum

ListedSeptember 14, 1998
FamilyLamiaceae (Mint)
DescriptionAn annual wildflower with blue, five-lobed flowers.
HabitatVernal-pool habitat.
ThreatsHabitat destruction and degradation.


Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum (Hidden Lake bluecurls), a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), is a compact, soft-villous (with long, shaggy hairs) annual approximately 4 in (10 cm) tall with short internodes (stem segments between leaves). The leaves are elliptic (oval but narrowed at both ends). The blue, five-lobed flowers are less than 0.3 in (0.7 cm) long, with two blue stamens. The fruit is a smooth, four-lobed nutlet. This taxon flowers in July and August. Hidden Lake bluecurls is shorter and has shorter internodes than Trichostema austromontanum ssp. austromontanum.


Hidden Lake bluecurls historically has been restricted to a single vernal pool known as Hidden Lake at an elevation of about 8,700 ft (2,650 m) in the Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness. Hidden Lake is the only naturally occurring body of water in the San Jacinto Mountains. The entire known range for this plant encompasses less than 2 acres (0.8 hectares).


The population size of Hidden Lake bluecurls declines during periods of either above or below normal precipitation because of its position along the perimeter of the vernal pool habitat. Between 1979 and 1991, the population sizes of this species fluctuated from less than 50-10,000 individuals.


The Hidden Lake bluecurls is only known from one site, a vernal pool with an area of less than 2 acres (0.8 hectares). This species is imperiled by a variety of activities that result in habitat destruction, degradation, or fragmentation. These activities include urbanization, off-road vehicle activity, alteration of hydrological conditions, and vandalism.

Conservation and Recovery

The Hidden Lake bluecurls only occurs at a single vernal pool in the Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness area. Although this area is managed to maintain its natural values, the critical habitat of the rare bluecurls is subject to various threatening activities, mostly associated with outdoor recreation. It is crucial that this only habitat of the Hidden Lake bluecurls is more stringently protected from degrading influences. If necessary, the habitat should be fenced to prevent trampling and other disturbances by recreationists. The population of the Hidden Lake bluecurls should be monitored, and research undertaken into its biology and habitat needs.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office
2730 Loker Avenue West,
Carlsbad, California 92008
Telephone: (760) 431-9440
Fax: (760) 431-9624

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
Telephone: (503) 231-6121


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 14 September 1998. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule To Determine Endangered or Threatened Status for Six Plants From the Mountains of Southern California." Federal Register 63 (177): 49006-49022