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Rare Flower Finds Home on Bluff in Laguna Beach

November 08, 1987|GORDON GRANT | Times Staff Writer

Small clumps of one of the world's rarest wildflowers, known to grow no place on Earth except in certain portions of the San Joaquin Hills in Orange County, are flourishing on a steep cliff in South Laguna.

The plants, called the Laguna Beach Live-Forever ( Dudleya stolonifera ), appeared on the face of a 100-foot bluff overlooking Aliso Canyon below several homes and above the Aliso Creek Inn and golf course, a few yards inland from Coast Highway.

The plant "is so rare it should be on all endangered species lists, but they just haven't gotten around to it," said Lynn Lozier, a director with the California Nature Conservancy based in San Francisco.

Lozier said some of the plants have been found in Laguna Canyon and three other nearby sites in the San Joaquin Hills.

Each of the plants consists of a small circle of shiny green leaves, sometimes tinged with purple, of the succulent variety. In late spring, they produce bright lemon-yellow flowers.

Lozier said the conservancy had known of the Aliso Canyon crop for some time, but only recently brought it to the attention of the people who live near the steep slope so that they would be "aware of its needs." In return for a simple promise to protect the plants as best they can, each owner has received a plaque from the conservancy's Landowners' Contract program.

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