SAVING THE INYO ROCK DAISY
The Inyo rock daisy has just one home: a swath of calcareous rock outcrops in California’s southern Inyo Mountains. This plant has quietly persisted through the difficulties of living on a desert mountaintop: hot summers, freezing winters and frequent droughts.
Unfortunately the species is facing a new challenge it’s unlikely to overcome without help — mining companies have found evidence of a large gold deposit in its home. If commercially viable quantities of gold are found, the area could be developed into a large open-pit mine, which would permanently destroy the core of the Inyo rock daisy’s habitat. Without legal safeguards, this beautiful little plant is in deep trouble.
Recognizing that mining is an existential threat to this endemic species, in 2022 the Center and the California Native Plant Society petitioned for its protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act. The next year, the state of California permanently protected the plant as threatened.
Several other rare plant species share their home with the Inyo rock daisy and would — or will — likely benefit from its protection.