Santa Cruz Island Rescue and Recovery

Growing Solutions is pleased to report successful ongoing rescue and recovery of the island bush mallow- Malacothamnus fasciculatus var. nesioticus (aka “MAFA”) on Santa Cruz Island. This species of plant is endemic to Santa Cruz Island, meaning it’s found on the island and nowhere else in the world. However, a century of overgrazing, primarily by sheep, reduced the bush mallow to three single plants scattered miles from each other, eliminating any chance at normal interspecies cross-pollination. Five years ago, under direction from USGS, Growing Solutions’ staff and volunteers located the plants, harvested cuttings and propagated over 500 plants in a purpose-built island nursery. This January, under direction from USGS Ecologist Dr. Kathryn McEachern’s direction with the Channel Island National Parks’ full collaboration, suitable planting sites were chosen on the eastern end of the island. With Kathryn, her son Carson and Growing Solutions staff and board member Steve Barilotti we planted over 150 plants. Since then the plants have been regularly watered and monitored and we are happy to report the plants are doing well and even expanding by sending out root sprouts. We hope to see this species become a common sight for park visitors. Click on the purple blossom for more info on the Bush Mallow and other island endemic plants.