Feds propose endangered status for rare SF plant

September 7, 2011 - 9:00 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A rediscovered San Francisco plant once thought to be extinct is being proposed for the federal government's list of endangered species.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on Thursday will ask that the Franciscan manzanita — which was last seen in San Francisco in 1947 — be covered under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2009 a botanist driving over the Golden Gate Bridge spotted the flowering shrub in an area of the city that had been cleared for a road project.

The plant was saved, but environmental groups sued to get it protected. Fish & Wildlife's proposal would keep the case out of court.

Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute, one of the plaintiffs, says with federal protection the plant would again become a part of the city's biological community.