WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a year long status review of the San Francisco Manzanita, which until six months ago was thought to be extinct, to determine if it should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The agency determined that a petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Native Plant Society, and the Wild Equity Institute contained sufficient scientific and commercial evidence to warrant a full status review.
The San Francisco Manzanita was thought to be extinct until a specimen was discovered at the Presidio, a San Francisco unit of the National Park Service that was an active military base until the 1990s. The sub-species had not been seen in the wild since 1947.
“The plant was about eight inches tall with creamy white flowers, and it spread out nearly 20 feet across the ground and flowed down a bluff,” the biologist who found it told the San Francisco Chronicle for a Dec. 26, 2009 story.
The shrub was known to occur at the Masonic and Laurel Hill Cemeteries in the Richmond district and Mount Davidson in south central San Francisco, areas which were not developed until the middle of the last century.