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White Mallow Makes Miraculous Return


A flowering plant that hasn’t been seen on the Channel Islands in more than a century was recorded for the first time on Santa Barbara Island recently. Prior to this discovery, white mallow (Eremalche exilis) was last recorded on Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina islands in 1888 and 1902, respectively. Related to hibiscus, its white or pale purple flowers measure about five millimeters across. Biologists believe that long-dormant seeds could have been sprouted by this year’s exceptionally wet winter, along with other triggers, such as the timing of the storms and sunlight intensity.

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