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Native SF Plant Thought Extinct Gets New Life

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Franciscan Manzanita, shown here, was recently found in the Presidio in San Francisco. (Charles Webber/California Academy of Sciences)

Franciscan Manzanita, shown here, was recently found in the Presidio in San Francisco. (Charles Webber/California Academy of Sciences)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cuttings from a native San Francisco plant once thought extinct in the wild are now yielding hundreds of new seedlings.

The Franciscan Manzanita was rediscovered in 2009 when a botanist driving home from work spotted a shrub just off the Golden Gate Bridge in an area cleared by construction crews.

The last wild specimen was believed to have vanished in 1947, when the San Francisco cemeteries where it grew were cleared for a neighborhood expansion.

After the discovery near the bridge, the plant was carefully excavated and relocated. Trimmings tended to by University of California, Santa Cruz botanists.

The plant has since yielded 424 new specimens.

On Wednesday, at the university arboretum, two of the new seedlings were planted in a ceremony on a hillside overlooking the sea.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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