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New Species

Lime Ridge Navarretia (Navarretia gowenii) & Lime Ridge Woollystar (Eriastrum sp. nov.)

Two New Species Discovered in Lime Ridge Open Space:

Lightning has struck twice in Walnut Creek, CA, at Lime Ridge Open Space, a biodiversity hot spot of just three square miles but including roughly 35 rare species. David Gowen, an amateur botanist associated with the California Native Plant Society,has discovered two new plant species never before described by science, near downtown Walnut Creek. The discovery is startling because the area is easily accessible and it has been studied by botanists for 150 years. Conservation efforts are underway.

Representatives of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS),Save Mount Diablo (SMD), the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation (WCOSF), the City of Walnut Creek (city), and U.C. Berkeley’s Jepson Herbarium (Jepson Herbarium), announced the discovery of two new plants, two pretty and related wildflowers in the phlox family, which resemble star shaped flower-studded pin cushions.

The plants, the Lime Ridge Navarretia (Navarretia gowenii) and the Lime Ridge Woollystar (Eriastrum sp. nov.) miraculously survived a hundred years of quarrying and other activities until their habitat was protected as the cities of Walnut Creek and Concord’s jointly owned Lime Ridge Open Space. Both have been confirmed as new species by genetic and other testing. Both are critically and globally endangered given tiny habitats and small numbers.

“This is a marvelous discovery that demonstrates the wisdom of those who more than 30 years ago worked so hard to protect the open space areas in and around Walnut Creek,” said Bob Simmons, President of the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation. “It also underscores the importance of very carefully managing this special area with a primary emphasis on protecting and preserving the unique biological resources that are present at Lime Ridge. The discovery of two new species together with the several dozen other rare species on Lime Ridge is a fascinating mix for a City that has one of the hottest shopping districts in the state of California, but this mix is one of the things that makes Walnut Creek such a special place to live, work and play.”


Click here to read more in media release.

California Native Plant Society
Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation
Jepson Herbarium
Lime Ridge Open Space (City of Walnut Creek)



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