Channel Islands: Island Bush-Mallow

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Detailed Description

“Endangered” may sometimes seem like a vague term, but it is an unfortunately suited description for the Island Bush-Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus var. nesioticus). This endangered flower is now only known from four locations in the world, all on Santa Cruz Island, part of the remote and hauntingly gorgeous Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Los Angeles. USGS scientists are helping the National Park Service monitor and jump-start the recovery of this and other native plant species, and restore the balance of these island ecosystems after decades of human use.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:03:01

Location Taken: CA, US


One of the plants that was eliminated almost
down to nothing is the Island Bush Mallow.

One of the reasons we suspect for their decline
in nature is that the habitats have been so

changed by the land uses of the past, ranching
being one of them, that the kinds of shrub

lands that they need to live in are no longer

We only know of four places where it grows
on this island, this island is the only place

where it grows so it's called Santa Cruz Island
Bush Mallow because it truly is unique to

Santa Cruz Island.

We've been able to make cuttings of this plant
and plant it out in various places.

We've doubled, if not tripled, the numbers
of populations of Island Bush Mallow that

are on Santa Cruz Island.

So what'll happen next with these plants is
they'll be taken out of this media with a

little knife and put into pots that are about
two inches square, grown up til their roots

fill that pot and then they'll be put into
larger pots that are about the size of a gallon

milk jug and they'll be there in those pots
for several months, and then in the fall when

the rains start up out here in this Mediterannean
ecosystem, we'll plant them in the field.

What we know about the Bush Mallow is that
its habitat used to be much like this scrub

here and so we found places where we could
plant it that are pretty close to roads and

places where we can hike to because when we
plant them we first have to water them that

first year.

Mostly, they'll establish and start to make
seed and the seed will disperse and cover

this slope here and they'll find places to
grow on their own.

This plant was planted here five years ago
and it's surviving quite well and you can

see that it's starting to send out sprouts
and runners through the vegetation.

Here's a little one and here's another one
that's coming up.

So our goal with recovery of the Malacathamnus,
for example, is to put lots of clusters of

plants out in many different places on the
island, so that as the climate changes, some

of those will be successful.

So this plant while it is a single island
endemic, has a pretty good future in front

of it, at least as far as our being able to
know what to do to help it grow.