Have you ever seen a Salt Marsh Bird's Beak fly? The reason why you haven't is because the Salt Marsh Bird's Beak is a plant, a federal and state listed endangered plant! There are only twelve plants in the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Also, there are only 100 plants left in Imperial Beach. That is it for all of San Diego County.
They have white flowers, and the grey-green stems stand 4-12 inches in height. Their alternating leaves and flowers are similar to the snapdragon's. It is an annual plant, which means that it's a plant that lives for one year and then dies. Its botanical name is Cordylanthus maritimus. There are many species of plants in the Cordylanthus family, but not all of them are endangered. It depends on their habitat.
Salt Marsh Bird's Beak lives just above the high tide line in the saltgrass. If we don't save the saltgrass and the marsh lands, we won't be able to save the Salt Marsh Bird's Beak. The government has started to protect many marsh lands which will help save and preserve endangered plants and animals.
Here is how we can save them. If you see them on the trail, just let them be! Don't pick on them and don't step on them!. Keep your dog on a leash, don't let them off to possibly destroy any plants.
We know the marshes are very fragile, and the loss of any plant can upset its ecosystem. We can make a difference if we care enough, but first we have to care. Remember the small things you do can be beneficial to the survival of these rare plants.
by Andrea Dosek
Yuccas are native to southern north America. There are about forty species of yucca plants. They were originally thought to be members of the lily family, but they have been reclassified as members of the agave (Century plant) family. Yuccas are angiosperms, also known as flowering plants.More About Plants
Most species of yucca are stemless, with a rosette of stiff, sword-shaped leaves at the base, and clusters of waxy white flowers. Most yuccas depend on the white Pronuba moth (genus Teteticula) for pollination. The yucca cannot be pollinated in any other way, and the moth cannot use any other plant to lay its eggs in. This is called a mutualistic relationship; one cannot survive without the other. That is why the yucca plant is so special.
The Joshua Tree, or Yucca brevifolia, grows only in the Mojave Desert. It is the largest of the yuccas. It can grow to a height of 40 feet with a stem 1-3 feet in diameter. It has bell shaped flowers that are about 1 1/2 inches, with 12-18 crowded into a cluster. They have an unpleasant odor and bloom mostly in the spring. The Joshua Tree was named by Mormon pioneers because it looked like the prophet Joshua waving them on to the promised land. There is a special park in California called Joshua Tree National Park where this plant is protected.
The Soaptree Yucca, or Yucca elata, is found in the Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts, in Texas, through New Mexico, to central Arizona, and south into northern Mexico. It is a palm-like shrub that grows 10-18 feet high. It does not have any branches, and has long flat leaves that are about 1/2 inch wide. The soapy material in its roots can be used for soap. In the past, Native Americans used the leaves of the yucca for weaving baskets. Cattle eat the young stalks, and chopped stalks or leaves were used for emergency food for cattle in times of drought.
The Mojave Yucca, or Yucca schidtgera, also called Spanish Dagger, is a shrub or small tree that grows to a height of 16 feet. It has few upright branches and "bayonet-like" leaves about 2-4 feet in length and 1 1/2 inches in width. The Mojave Yucca is considered part of the maritime chaparral which is a unique and threatened community. This community only occurs in the coastal regions of southern California, along the immediate coast of San Diego, Orange County and northwestern Baja California. History shows that once there was 21,000 acres of southern maritime chaparral in San Diego, while today approximately 1,500-3,700 acres remain largely due to new home construction.
by Alex F.
Where does the Willowy Mint, or Monardella linoides, live?
It can be found from the Mojave Desert to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and southward to the coastal chaparral of southwesten. California. It can usually be found in sandy, seasonally dry washes. The technical name for their habitat is called a riparian scrub.
Why is the Willowy Mint population in decline?
The Monardella linoides is seriously endangered and is being damaged by horse and hiking trails, the expansion of highways, as well as urban development in San Diego County.
What does the Willowy Mint look like?
The Willowy Mint has clusters of rose-purple flowers on stiff stems. Some of the leaves have small hairs on them and some are smooth. They smell good. Some of the other kinds of Monardella can be brewed into tea and used in medicines.
by Amy Castrova
© 1997 The Special Species Project ®