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New plant species discovered in San Luis Obispo

Posted at 1:50 PM, Apr 23, 2019

A new species of plant was recently discovered in the Irish Hills Natural Reserve, according to the City of San Luis Obispo.

The Irish Hills spineflower, Chorizanthe aphanantha, was reportedly discovered after the city commissioned an environmental consulting firm to conduct a biological assessment of the Waddell Ranch area, a 154-acre site at the southern end of the Irish Hills Natural Reserve that the city purchased in 2017.

Irish Hills spineflower (Photo courtesy City of San Luis Obispo)


A botanist for Terra Verde Environmental Consulting discovered the new species of spineflower and it was verified by a group of Cal Poly professors and the city’s natural resources manager.

The small plant is described as measuring a few centimeters to a couple of inches in height. City officials say it was found in a secluded area of the reserve but has since been found in other areas throughout the reserve. According to the city, it’s the only known location in the world where this species of spineflower exists.

Waddell Ranch (Photo courtesy City of San Luis Obispo)


City officials say the Irish Hills spineflower was recently accepted by Madroño, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the California Botanical Society, and it will soon be recommended for inclusion as one of California’s rarest plants.