Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Allen’s Daisy New Subspecies Flower

Breaking news from the world of wildflowers: Bob Allen has found new type of daisy. And it really is his at least when it comes to scientific names. Allen, an Orange County botanist and professor, spends wildflower season prowling the back country, photographing rarities.

In 2003, he came across what looked like an odd specimen in Limestone Canyon. He’d seen it once before, in 1983 in Dana Point; while it struck him at the time as “different,” he took no further action. Another biologist had much the same reaction in 1908, when he found the flower at the El Toro train station, long-vanished. He collected a specimen but went no further.

In 2003, Allen FedExed a few specimens to an expert, David Keil at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In 2006, Keil published a paper declaring the flower a new subspecies, with an added bonus for Allen: his name is now attached to his flower for all time.

It’s known as Allen’s daisy. Allen’s daisy has so far been found only in Orange County. It’s rare, Allen says, and looks a lot like another flower, tidy tips, which have much broader leaves.

Scientific name: Pentachaeta aurea, ssp. allenii