Livermore Tarplant

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) successfully petitioned for endangered status for the rare Livermore tarplant (Deinandra bacigalupii), a species known to exist in only three locations within Alameda County.

Two years after Heath Bartosh, Rare Plant Committee Chairman of the East Bay Chapter of CNPS, petitioned the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to list this rare endemic species as endangered, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to grant the Livermore tarplant endangered status. The Commission praised the thoroughness and sound science that CNPS presented in the petition, and in two motions moved to add it to the list of plants declared to be endangered in California.

Livermore tarplant is the first plant in nearly a decade to be added to the California Endangered Species list.

Photo by Heath Bartosh

Photo by Heath Bartosh

First described as new to science in 1999, the Livermore tarplant is known from only three occurrences within 90 acres of the Livermore Valley in Alameda County. These occurrences are located in areas that are subject to frequent disturbance, including road construction, off-road vehicle use, and application of herbicides. These challenges, in addition to encroachment and competition by non-native species, threaten the survival of the plant. Fortunately, its new status as a listed species affords the Livermore tarplant the highest level of legal protection in California.

Protecting this plant may benefit the rare habitat where it grows as well. “This native plant species… is growing in specialized habitat,” says Heath Bartosh. The sensitive alkali meadows and grasslands where it lives are also home to other California Rare Plant Rank species.


Map from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“On their own, individual plant species may seem insignificant to some, but they are part of a larger ecosystem in which other plants and animals rely,” according to Aaron Sims, CNPS Rare Plant Botanist. “The life history of the Livermore tarplant is still being understood and protecting it from extinction will allow us to learn more about how it interacts with the ecosystem.”

 –Stacey Flowerdew
Membership and Development Coordinator at CNPS

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