A specimen of the Franciscan manzanita plant -- also known as the San Francisco manzanita and thought to be extinct in the wild -- was discovered recently in the Presidio by botanist Daniel Gluesenkamp in a spot that had been recently cleared of eucalyptus trees. The shrub, which was removed from San Francisco cemeteries to make way for construction in the 1940s, was believed to exist only in botanical gardens since that time -- when a famous botanist stood in the way of excavation equipment to save the last known specimen in the wild.

Since California does not have provisions under state law for the protection of endangered plants, the Wild Equity Institute has filed a petition with the federal government to have the Franciscan manzanita added to the protected list under the Endangered Species Act. Score one point for rare local flora! [via NBC Bay Area]