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Biologist Discovers Two New Species of Desert Poppy


Eschscholzia androuxii. Image credit: Shannon Still.

Biologist Discovers Two New Species of Desert Poppy

Dr Shannon Still, a biologist with Chicago Botanic Garden, has described two new species of desert poppies from the deserts of California and Arizona.

The newly discovered plants, called Eschscholzia papastillii and Eschscholzia androuxii, have yellow colored inflorescences, typical for all the desert dwellers from the Eschscholzia genus.

Most commonly known for the iconic California Poppy, the state flower of California, Eschscholzia is a genus in the poppy family Papaveraceae that previously held 12 species.

“What is interesting about these new species is that, while people have been collecting these plants for decades, they were not recognized as something different,” said Dr Still, a co-author of the paper appearing in the journal PhytoKeys.

“They were always confused for existing species. This confusion led to my study of the group, and ultimately, recognizing something new. I imagine there are many more desert plant species that are also understudied.”


 Eschscholzia papastillii. Image credit: Shannon Still.

Eschscholzia papastillii and Eschscholzia androuxii are found in desert washes, flats, and slopes growing in coarse and sandy soil across California deserts and parts of Arizona.

Eschscholzia androuxii has a small range, is fairly uncommon and is suggested that it be listed as a rare plant species.

The wide distribution of the other species, suggests there are no conservation threats at the moment.

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