Just don’t pick any flowers. Just sayin’ – we don’t any of our customers to get in trouble.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced plans to safeguard a rare wildflower that grows only on gypsum deposits on the Utah-Arizona border. The beautiful, tall, wispy Gierisch mallow with orange flowers is only seen close to existing and potential gypsum mines near the Virgin River. The flower is a perennial that sprouts annually from a woody stalk each spring.
This has the potential to complicate leasing of public lands for gypsum mining. There’s a chance plans to expand Arizona’s Black Rock Gypsum Mine, where thousands of the plants are found, could be derailed.
An area of potential protection is along the Virgin River near a landmark called Starvation Point that overlaps the Utah-Arizona border. The federal proposal calls for making 3 square miles in Southern Utah as critical habitat for the plant.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public comment until Oct. 16 on its proposal to protect the flower.
Another protected flower in or near Green Valley is the Dwarf bearclaw poppy, which has four soft white petals. The Dwarf bearclaw poppy is around 10 inches. The flower stalks are leafy and its leaves are deeply 3-toothed. The bearclaw poppy also loves the gypsum soil.
The Dwarf bear-poppy was included on the endangered species list on November 6, 1979. All Dwarf bear poppy are found within a 10 mile radius around St. George. Within this area it occurs on gypsiferous soil outcrops of the Moenkopi Formation.
Rare Gierisch Mallow and Dwarf Bearclaw Poppy Wildflowers in Southern Utah