It’s rare that a species gets taken off what seems an ever-growing list of extinctions, but that’s exactly what happened in May, when Berkeley-based botanist Michael Park found about a dozen Mount Diablo buckwheat flowers (Eriogonom truncatum) growing in a remote corner of Mount Diablo State Park.
Officially recorded just seven times between 1862 and 1936, the flower was last seen 69 years ago by botanist Mary Bowerman, co-founder of the land-preservation group Save Mount Diablo. “We’ve been calling the Mount Diablo buckwheat the holy grail for botanists working in the East Bay—it’s been the number one priority that we’ve been trying to relocate,” said Barbara Ertter of UC Berkeley’s Jepson Herbarium.
The exact location is being kept secret to protect the flowers, but Save Mount Diablo has said that the buckwheat was found on lands the group recently purchased. “The rediscovery shows that we can protect a unique species in the middle of a dense urban area and that diversity of our natural resources can be protected despite intense development pressure,” says Malcolm Sproul, president of Save Mount Diablo’s board of directors. For more information and photos of the delicate pink flowers, visit www.savemountdiablo.org.