Home
Donate Sign up for e-network
CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
ABOUT ACTION PROGRAMS SPECIES NEWSROOM PUBLICATIONS SUPPORT

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

SAVING THE LARGE-FLOWERED WOOLLY MEADOWFOAM

The large-flowered woolly meadowfoam is indeed a “woolly” plant — its stems and leaves are sparsely covered with short, fuzzy plant-fur, and its flowers, especially the sepals, sport a dense coat of hairs. These hairs, called “trichomes,” come in handy in the meadowfoam’s southwestern Oregon home, helping reflect the sun’s rays and limiting water loss during the plant’s short spring growing period in its vernal pool surroundings. But trichomes can’t limit the meadowfoam’s dramatic loss of habitat: Jackson County’s human population explosion has given this comically named plant a less-than-amusing prognosis.

In 2002, 10 years after the Center and allies sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to list about 500 imperiled species — including the large-flowered woolly meadowfoam — the Service declared the plant to be endangered under the Endangered Species Act. But at the time of listing, the agency failed to designate critical habitat for the meadowfoam, claiming that “funding restraints” made it impossible. Finally, as a result of a Center lawsuit, in 2010 the agency granted the plant 5,840 acres of critical habitat.

While the largest meadowfoam populations are located within Jackson County’s protected Agate Desert Preserve, alteration of nearby land disrupts the Preserve’s hydrologic processes and degrades the habitat it provides; in addition, lack of protective fencing fails to keep out off-road vehicles and earth-moving equipment. The meadowfoam’s vernal pool habitat, formerly widespread south of the Rogue River, has now been almost completely eliminated — and none of what’s left is undisturbed.

Get the latest on our work for biodiversity and learn how to help in our free weekly e-newsletter.

KEY DOCUMENTS
2010 Critical habitat designation
2006 Draft recovery plan
2002 Federal Endangered Species Act listing

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

ACTION TIMELINE

NATURAL HISTORY

MEDIA
Press releases
Media highlights
Search our newsroom for the large-flowered woolly meadowfoam

RELATED ISSUES
Deserts

Urban Wildlands
Grazing
Protecting Native Plants
Endangered Species Act

Contact: Ileene Anderson

Photo by Rick McEwan