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Moosa Creek Blog

Rare and Endangered Plants

Creekside Chat

The Endangered Species Act is the most far ranging and important law for habitat and animal protection ever passed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists plants and animals by state, and candidates must go through an extensive evaluation process to be listed. The Nature Conservancy created a ranking system where 1 is critically endangered and 5 is secure.

(For more information about recent changes to the ESA and what to do about it click here)

 San Diego’s biodiversity is legendary; unfortunately, so is its extinction rate. You can help repopulate endangered plants in their appropriate biomes by including some of these wonders in your landscape.

The following plants are considered critically endangered. Nevin’s Barberry is a beautiful shrub found in coastal and chaparral communities. Its leaves are serrated like holly, its bright yellow flowers resemble tiny jonquils, and its berries are great food for birds. Barberry can withstand cold, as can Brandegee’s Sage. This crinkly-leafed, dark green sage has pale lavender flowers and also tolerates temperatures of 100F inland. Another plant for those communities is San Diego Willowy Mint. It is a sprawling small, delightfully fragrant shrub usually covered with purple flowers and the hummingbirds and butterflies it attracts. San Clemente Bush Mallow loves the coast and rewards you with soft pink open flowers. It is excellent for erosion control.

If you have space for a large tree then the critically endangered Cuyamaca Cypress is for you. There might be only a handful of these 30’ tall beauties left in the mountains. Another tall faster-growing tree with very unusual and attractive leaves is the Island Fern-Leaf Ironwood, which is excellent for chaparral and forested areas. Of course there is also the iconic Torrey Pine, which twists in the coastal winds but grows straight inland. This pine makes an excellent replacement for the non-native pines that are dying off readily due to heat and lack of water.

These are just a few of over forty rare plants Moosa Creek grows. By repopulating rare plants, you are also providing food for many of the specialty insects or other wildlife that may depend entirely on that species for their survival, and therefore helping to save an ecosystem.


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