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Franciscan manzanita, once thought extinct, now revived

January 28, 2011 |  8:09 pm

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Cuttings from a native San Francisco plant once thought to have been extinct in the wild are now yielding hundreds of new seedlings. The Franciscan manzanita was rediscovered in 2009 when a botanist driving home from work spotted a shrub just off the Golden Gate Bridge in an area cleared by construction crews.

The last wild specimen was believed to have vanished in 1947, when the San Francisco cemeteries where it grew were cleared for a neighborhood expansion.

After the discovery near the bridge, the plant was carefully excavated and relocated. Trimmings were tended to by UC Santa Cruz botanists. The plant has since yielded 424 new specimens.

On Wednesday, at the university arboretum, two of the new seedlings were planted in a ceremony on a hillside overlooking the sea.

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-- Associated Press

Read an informative piece on the Franciscan manzanita discovery and revival on KQED's Quest Community Science Blog

Photo: Don Mahoney, curator of the San Francisco Botanical Garden, holds one of the Franciscan manzanitas that the San Francisco Botanical Garden has grown from the one found in 2009. Credit: KQED.org

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