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September 21 2012

Coastal plant thought extinct for 65 years discovered, put on endangered list

A flowering California shrub thought to be extinct in the wild for almost seven decades was added to the federal endangered species list Wednesday after a sharp-eyed biologist spotted the plant on a highway median while driving off the Golden Gate Bridge.

The last known Franciscan manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana) was discovered in 2009 during a highway construction project, and after genetic tests confirmed the species, the state spent $109,000 on a crane to move the plant and its 12.5-ton root ball to another site so the $1 billion project could continue, federal and state officials said.

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