Spreading navarretia, Navarretia fossalis

Navarretia fossalis (Photo: Jordan Zylstra)

Federal status: Threatened

Polemoniaceae, the phlox family

San Luis Obispo to Baja California


The spreading navarretia is a small annual herb that resembles a pincushion. It grows to 15 cm and has pinnately-lobed leaves. The small (< 1 cm) flowers are white to purple and bloom from April to June.


Spreading navarretia is primarily associated with vernal pools but can also be found in ditches chenopod scrub, and playas with inundation and drying cycles.


In Los Angeles County, the primary threats to the spreading navarretia are direct habitat loss to development, dumping, flood control projects, grading, trampling, and off-highway vehicles. Population sizes fluctuate widely across years and establishment may be poor during drought years.


Vernal pools are rare habitats that require protection. Preventing loss and degradation in their watersheds is also important for maintaining habitat function and viability. 

Where can you spot it?

Spreading navarretia are rare; in Los Angeles, they only occur on private land in Santa Clarita. In nearby Riverside County, they may be observed in seasonally-flooded alkali playa habitat in Stowe Pool and the San Jacinto River.


  1. Species Profile for Spreading navarretia (Navarretia fossalis). Environmental Conservation Online System.