As you may know the assumed to be extinct Franciscan manzanita (or “Francie,” as staff in the park have come to call the original plant), was rediscovered during the Doyle Drive work. CalTrans relocated all 20,000 pounds of the plant in January 2010. Most exciting, the Franciscan manzanita is fitting right in to her new location in the Presidio, even helping some of the new neighbors who were once part of her ecosystem. Here, an alligator lizard hides under Francie (above). And Francie with the Clarkia in bloom (left). Both seem happy to once again have a manzanita to support them.
The Franciscan manzanita recently received official Endangered Species status, giving it further protection.
Meanwhile, the nursery staff is experimenting further on techniques to induce germination of seed collected from Francie by using seeds of a close relative, the Mount Tamalpais manzanita. Some of the methods we used were successful─early data appears to show that soaking seed in liquid smoke and two months of a cold moist treatment gave good germination. We will try the methods with the best results again to see if we have consistent success on the Mt. Tam manzanita. If we do, once a Recovery Plan is written by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we will ask for permission to propagate the Franciscan seeds using those methods. Seedlings (sons and daughters from Francie) will provide more genetic variation in what we hope will be a vibrant plant community restored once again to its natural function.
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