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Avalon, California
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July 29, 2011     The Catalina Islander
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July 29, 2011
 

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I T Cloc~ from 1~e lop: S~ o~c~d m Smh Ralay, Ca~ Island Bush mallow photo by Dr. Bill Bushing, Catalina Island Conservancy Lyon's pygmydaisy photo cour- tesy of Tyler Dvorak, Catalina Island Cortse~ancy Do we have photos of you or your friends and family?. Check our facebook find out! N E WS PAP- R CATALINA'S NATIVE AND ENDEMIC PLANT POPULATION IS BLOOMING AND BOOMING BY BOB RHEIN The plant community on Cata- lina has grown in unexpected ways thr,)ugh the past several months. First, an orchid never be- fore seen on Catalina was found. Next, the scientific community announced that a mallow thought to be native elsewhere was reclas- sifted as a Catalina "endemic" (found on the Island and nowhere 'else in the world). Then, a federally endangered pygmy daisy thought to have been extinct on Catalina Island for close to a century was rediscovered. "You might have thought that the Age of Discovery ended a hundred SINGING WATERS CHRISTIAN C E SERYING THE CHURCH. RE. " 346 CATALINA AVE years ago, but on Catalina, it's still alive and well," " said Carlos de la Rosa, chief of conservation and science for the Catalina Island Conservancy. Discovered This spring, ConservancyVolun- teer Ranger Jack Baldelli contacted Conservancy Plant Ecologist Sarah Ratay after seeing a showy, color- ful orchid in a remote canyon on the south side of the Island. Ratay was immediately curious as there are only two known orchid spe-. cies on the Island, both with small, green, inconspicuous flowers. She had also been on the lookout for the stream orchid (Epipactis gi- gantea) since Conservancy Board member Cliff Hague had reported seeing it on Catalina.a decade ago. Ratay and Baldelli headed for the canyon in search of the orchid, where they found a robust popula- tion with several hundreds of flow- er stalks. Having done previous fieldwork on this species, Ratay verified the identity of the sho~,' flowers with red, yellow, orange and pink elements. The stream orchid occurs throughout mainland California and is also found on Santa Cruz Island, but has never been docu- mented on Catalina until now. Botanists consider the species na- tive to Catalina since it was found within appropriate habitat for the species. The stream orchid also is not a species known to spread be- yond its native range, and its light seeds are capable of dispersing in the wind to the Island without hu- man help. It has probably grown on Catalina long before humans first came here, but its remote hid- ing place kept it hidden from pre- vious botanical surveys. It is also suspected that brows- ing by non-native goats and other herbivores could have severely reduced these plants to a few in- dividuals, making them harder to find until now. Catalina Islancl has more than 430 native plant taxa, some spe- cies are only represented by a few populations, but all contribute to the biodiversity of the Island. "The Island's diverse topogra- phy shelters a spectrum of inter- esting plant species," said Ratay. "This sho~2 orchid's recent find- ing demonstrates that there are many wonderful things yet to be discovered here." 10% - 25% Off - All Beatles Mere handise in )he Museum Store Saturday, July 23 through Sunday, July 31 Olden Doily 10 am to 5 pm, Colt 310-510-2414 for moro Oetoil$, Reclassified Catalina gained its seventh en- demic plant--not through the dis- covery process, bat by reclassifi- cation. The newest edition of "The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California," from the University of California Press. has recognized that the Santa Catalina Island bush mallow is a separate and distinct species from the California main- land bush mallow. The Catalina v rlety, known to science as Malacothamnus fascic- ulatus var. catalinensis, had years ago been considered its own sub- species, but then was deemed in- distinct from the rpainland variety. The Catalina subspecies is nox again separated on the basis of se- pal shape (~een structures below the petals that are ~ider in the Catalina variety), the type of hairs. and for having stout floxvcr stalks versus slender stalks Santa Cruz Island also has an endemic x ariet,, of the species, known as var. ne- sioticus. In the last couple of decades, Catalina has "lost" so to speak-- a couple of endermcs through re- classification. The Wallace's wild tomato and the Tn~sk's yerba santa were both previously considered endemic, but have since been lumped into species with larger ranges. "'It's interesting that Cata- lina has gained one," Ratay said. Complete list of endemic plants on Catalina Island: Catalina" mar zanita (Arcto- staph)los catalinae) CatalinaIsland mountain mahogany (Cercocar- Plants, Page 7 6 Friday, July 29, 2011 The CATAUNA ISLANDER ,La,I