Eucalyptus Saves Rare Native Plant!

Nancy Wuerfel sent us this note:

Franciscan manzanita (photo by Stan Shebs, used under GNU license)

“For those who blame the eucalyptus for “taking over” the forest, please note that they were responsible for protecting this rare plant in the Presidio and keeping it safe from harm. Give credit, where credit is due!


“SF EXAMINER 12-15-09 page 6

“The shrub that was believed to be extinct but was discovered in November near the Golden Gate Bridge was confirmed to be the rare plant native to San Francisco. The last wild Franciscan manzanita was believed to have perished in the 1940s when cemeteries where it grew were moved to allow for neighborhood expansion. Crews recently cleared eucalyptus trees for work on the Doyle Drive project and exposed the plant …”

Manzanita in Native Garden on Mt Sutro

ETA: Other reports say the plant may be relocated because it is in the way of the Doyle Drive project. The picture  by Stan Shebs is taken from Wikipedia and is a representative photo of arctostaphylos hookeri ssp franciscana (not the actual specimen at the Presidio).

ETA 2: According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the plant was indeed relocated under cover of darkness at a cost of  $175,000 to a spot about a mile away from its original site. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority covered the cost.

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4 Responses to Eucalyptus Saves Rare Native Plant!

  1. Hello,

    You are mistaken. There was no Eucalyptus at the site where I discovered the San Francisco manzanita. In fact, Eucalyptus was largely responsible for driving the plant extinct, as well as several other Franciscan plants. San Francisco manzanita used to occur on Mt Davidson, but Eucalyptus planted by east-coasters (who love forests) eliminated this portion of the Franciscan floristic region. You can find some very interesting poetic info about this loss at:

    WARNING: don’t read these beautiful stories if you are prone to crying –we lost something beautiful and unique when we planted forest monocultures on San Francisco’s windswept peaks.

  2. Jimbo says:

    Or you could say it survived in spite of them. Wonder how many were living there before the eucs took over? Liberating rare plants one eucalyptus at a time!

  3. webmaster says:

    Perhaps we can plant the manzanita in the cemeteries over in Daly City…

  4. webmaster says:

    Dan, Thanks for the links. I see that you’re a past president of the Cal Invasive Plants Council, and a native plant restorationist, so I understand your strong views on the issue. I just happen to think that the eucalyptus are also beautiful and unique, and the historic forest on Mt Sutro is something extremely special.

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