Get to know an endangered plant – Calistoga popcornflower

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Calistoga popcornflower (Plagiobothrys strictus) is a adorable and tiny wild flower, it is exceedingly rare and is only found in the foothill grasslands of Napa County. It grows in mesic (moderately wet) areas, including vernal pools, next to and fed by hot springs and small geysers. These pools have high concentrations of boron, arsenic, and sulfates, and support a uniquely adapted flora. Calistoga popcornflower is only known from two locations near the town of Calistoga in Napa County, where it co-occurs with the California endangered Napa bluegrass (Poa napensis).

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Its handsome blooms are small, usually paired, white flowers appear in March and April. Calistoga allocarya, also known as Calistoga popcorn flower, is a small erect herb belonging to the borage family. This plant grows 4 to 16 cm in height from a single stem or branches from the base. The lower linear leaves are small and nearly hairless.

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Calistoga popcornflower is highly vulnerable to extinction due to its restricted range and small number of populations. Both populations of this species are located on privately-owned land and neither site is permanently protected. Threats to this species include potential habitat loss due to development or changing land use, potential alteration of geothermal or surface water hydrology, and competition with invasive plant species. Climate change may also threaten the survival of this species. Long-term survival of Calistoga popcornflower is dependent upon coordination with private landowners to protect the two known populations of this species, and to reduce or eliminate threats due to hydrological changes or competition with invasive plant species. Seeds should be collected from both populations and placed into long-term storage at a qualified seed banking facility affiliated with the Center for Plant Conservation.

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If you do spot one please note were it is (your phones GPS can really come in handy for this) and tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as soon as you can.

Find out more where I did. . . 

www.wildlife.ca.gov

www.fws.gov

www.eol.org

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