"Before 1992, researchers studying Lake Shasta salamanders were familiar with the plant, but they didn’t know it was a rare plant or that it had not yet been discovered."
December 11, 1992
On this day, California newspapers reported that botanists had discovered a new plant in California with a delightfully charming common name - the Shasta snow-wreath.
The Shasta snow-wreath is a member of the Rose family. It is a native Californian shrub and grows around Lake Shasta (thus the name).
Before 1992, researchers studying Lake Shasta salamanders were familiar with the plant, but they didn’t know it was a rare plant or that it had not yet been discovered.
Then two botanists - Dean Taylor and Glenn Clifton - discovered the plant thanks to the California drought, which dropped the water level of Cedar Creek and allowed access to a limestone outcropping that was home to a little community of Shasta snow-wreath. The Shasta snow-wreath was officially identified after a week of review.
The closest known living species to the Shasta snow-wreath is the rare Alabama snow-wreath.
Today, the Shasta snow-wreath is regarded as one of California's rarest plants.
The beautiful blossom, which appears for just ten days in the spring, looks like a white spikey puff ball made up of a cluster of stamens rather than petals.
In April 2018, volunteers removed invasive species from places where the Shasta snow-wreath grows - along the shorelines and canyons surrounding Lake Shasta.
Today, there are only around twenty populations of Shasta snow-wreath in California.