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Intriguing new rose species discovered.

For years, botanists Dean W. Taylor and Glenn L. Clifton had conjectured that the limestone cliffs near Redding, Calif., might shelter some interesting flora. Their hunch panned out in May 1992, when they discovered a puzzling shrub growing at the base of a north-facing slope.

They took the mystery plant to James R. Shevock of the California Academy of Sciences and Barbara Ertter of the University of California, Berkeley To their surprise, the shrub turned out to be a new species of Neviusia, a genus in the rose family. Previously, botanists had noted a single species of Neviusia, which grows in the Southeast and is most commonly called "Alabama snow-wreath."

The team named the new species Neuiusia cliftonii and gave it the common name "Shasta snow-wreath," Like the other Neuiusia, the California flower has a showy bail of white stamens that looks something like a bursting star, Ertter says. However, the Shasta snow-wreath has a few petals at its base, whereas the Alabama flower has none.

Shevock, Ertter, and Taylor announced the discovery and described the new rose in the most recent issue of Novon (vol. 2, no. 4), a journal published by the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Initially, the team believed the plant represented an Alabama snow-wreath that had taken root in the West. However, a detailed examination of the plant, as well as the discovery of two more wild populations the following month, confirmed that it was indeed a distinct, new species of Neviusia, Taylor says. Taylor, along with Clifton, works as a botanist at the Santa Cruz-based botany consulting firm Biosystems Analysis, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Neviusia cliftonii discovered near Redding, California
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 13, 1993
Words:268
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