Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Dwarf Bearclaw Poppy, Watercolor by Lara Call Gastinger, US
Listing: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act
The Plant’s Story
Utah’s dwarf bearclaw poppy is one of the world’s rarest. It is found only in about a ten mile radius near St. George, a rapidly growing city. Since its listing in 1979, it has further declined, facing pressures from housing expansion, airport construction, and non-compatible usage of habitat by off-road vehicles. Some poppy colonies occur on Bureau of Land Management property, the largest manager of Federal lands in the US. Other poppy habitat is owned by the State of Utah or The Nature Conservancy. Enthusiasts and scientists from conservation organizations, universities, and the Utah Native Plant Society have monitored and studied dwarf bearclaw poppy and other wildflower populations for many years. Red Butte Garden, University of Utah has been banking seeds for several years, but so far the plant has proven difficult to grow in captivity.
The Artist’s Story: Lara Call Gastinger
In the summer of 1999, I lived in Logan, Utah and helped develop a webpage for the Floristics Lab at Utah State University. There I learned about the endemic plants of Utah and became interested in documenting rare botanical species. I contacted my mentor from Utah State, a botanist who works on the Flora of North America Project. I wanted her input about rare and endangered plant species to paint for this exhibit. She immediately mentioned the bearclaw poppy.
Other links: Utah Rare Plant Guide, Center for Plant Conservation, Zipcode Zoo
More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.