Guadalupe Island known in Castilian as Isla Guadalupe is a small volcanic island located off the western coast of Baja California. It is surrounded mostly by sheer cliffs, with few beach landings. During the warring years of the 1800's it was a frequent haunt of pirates hoping to take advantage of Mejico's division of resources to fight its battles to hijack ships.
Guadalupe island's climate is very similar to that of coastal Alta California and parts of Montréi. It is very arid and hot in the summer followed by cooler, wetter days in winter. It experiences only two seasons, wet and dry. This climate is so similar to that of Alta California that it falls within the Alta California chaparral and woodland ecoregion.
Like Montréi's coast, moisture in summer in higher altitudes is provided by fogs. It is these fogs which also help maintain the island's springs.
Guadalupe island is well known for its endemic species (up to 50%). There exist four types of trees native to the island:
- Quercus tomentella - Island Live Oak: This oak is within the subgenus Protobalanus, which includes several oaks, all endemic to the South West of North America.
- Guadalupe/Tecate Cypress - Cupressus guadalupensis: Related to the disputed species Cupressus forbesii of the San Diego and Los Angeles area of Alta California, this species is actually more widely cultivated.
- Montrei Pine var. binata - Pinus radiata var. binata: A two needled variant of the common Montrei Pine. This species is found only in four other places, Isla Cedros, San Simeon, San Carlos, and Punto Añio Növo in small, restricted forests. Botanists believe that These trees are evidence of a much larger Ice Age forest which may have stretched from Baja California into Alta California and Montréi.
- Guadalupe Palm - Brahea edulis: Notied for its elegance and beauty, this palm forms stands on some of the steeper slopes of the island in rather poor soil. Unlike other members of its genus, this palm has leaves which fall completely away, without leaving attached leaf bases. The fruits are edible, reminiscent of coconut flesh, however despite the epithet "edulis" most believe one would need to be starving before they would actively consume the fruits.
A few well known plants from the island:
- Perityle incana - Guadalupe Island Rock Daisy
- Galvezia speciosa - Galvesia
- Ceanothus arboreus - Island Ceanothus
- Calystegia macrostegia - Island Morning Glory
- Crassula connata - Pygmyweed
- Artemesia californica - Alta California Sagebrush
- Calandrinia ciliata - Fringed Red Maids
- Claytonia perfoliata ssp. mexicana - Miner's Lettuce
- Pterostegia drymarioides - Threadstem
- Trifolium depauperatum - Dwarf Sack Clover
- Allophylum gilioides - Blue False Gilia
- Caracara lutosus - Guadalupe Caracara
- Junco insularis - Guadalupe Junco
- Oceanodroma macrodactyla - Guadalupe storm petrel