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Acanthomintha (ilicifolia)

Katherine Heineman
San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd
Escondido, California 92025

Family Scientific Name: Lamiaceae
Family Common Name: Mint Family
Scientific Name: Acanthomintha ilicifolia (A. Gray) A. Gray
Common Name: San Diego thornmint
Species Code: ACIL
Ecotype: Coastal Sage Scrub
General Distribution: Southern California & Baja California
Known Invasiveness: None known
Propagation Goal: Seeds
Propagation Method: Seed
ProductType: Propagules (seeds, cutings, poles, etc.)
Stock Type: Wild Collected Seeds
Time To Grow: 6-8 months
Target Specifications: To produce as many seeds as possible from available wild collected seeds for reintroduction purposes.
Propagule Collection: We collected seeds along maternal lines from two wild populations of San Diego thornmint in San Diego County: Mission Trails Regional Park & Dennery Canyon.
Propagule Processing: Wild collected seeds clean with sieves and air winnower (blower).
Pre-Planting Treatments: Directly planted - no pretreatment
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
We directly planted seed in two 4 x 4 ft raised beds (~250 seeds per bed) with a string grid installed above the bed to track seed production by maternal lines.The grid divides each box into 56 cells, each of which is plant with 5 seeds. The beds contained native clay soil that we amended with one cup of organic fertilizer. We installed an 8" tall hardware cloth cage on top of the raised bed to prevent mammal herbivory.
Establishment Phase: Raised beds were watered daily until germination was observed, then seedlings were maintained evenly moist until established. Seeds germinated within two-three weeks, and seedlings were well-established by six weeks.
Length of Establishment Phase: 6 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Once plants were established, plants were watered about once a week (unless seasonal rain occurred). We allowed the top inch of soil media to dry between waterings. We maintained the beds weed free. We applied Sluggo to deter herbivory by slug pests.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 12-16 weeks
Hardening Phase: As plants begin to flower, watering is reduce to allow the medium to dry in between waterings. As plants begin fruiting, watering is reduced to once every two weeks. Pollinators were observed visiting the flowers so there was no need for hand pollination.
Length of Hardening Phase: 8 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Plants were allowed to dry down in the raised beds and seeds were harvested using scissors along maternal lines. Seeds are ready to harvest once plant have stopped flowering and plant biomass appears dry. The plants were fairly productive, producing 3-4,000 seeds per bed. Seeds were cleaned using sieves and the air winnower. Seeds were stored in a cool dry environment in our seed bank until the land manager picked them up a few months later.
Length of Storage: 6 weeks
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Land managers directly planted seed into a fenced area at Mission Trails Regional Park on a clay lens soil habitats. Land managers performed extensive weed management at the site before reintroduction of seed. From the first direct seeding, 50 plants were established at the site.
Other Comments: This species has an unpleasant after smell for a mint.


Anderson, Stacy; Weatherson, Tobin. 2020. Propagation protocol for production of Propagules (seeds, cutings, poles, etc.) Acanthomintha ilicifolia (A. Gray) A. Gray Seeds Wild Collected Seeds; San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research Escondido, California. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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