fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Proposal aims to protect rare state lily

Uncle Sam has come up with a proposed recovery plan to save some 1,700 rare natives of the Rogue and Illinois valleys.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to establish four recovery zones within 11 known habitat areas of the Gentner fritillary, an uncommon lily that has red bell-shaped flowers with pale yellow streaks.

Declared a federally endangered species in 1999, it is known to occur only in the rural foothills of the Rogue and Illinois River valleys.

Biologists have found 1,697 flowering individual plants at 109 sites in Jackson and Josephine counties, making it one of Oregon's rarest native plants.

The proposed recovery plan outlines actions needed to save the plant, which is threatened by human activity ranging from logging to illegal digging of bulbs by horticulturists, said Anne Badgley, regional director of the service's Pacific Region.

Gentner's fritillary recovery units are important because they provide long-term distribution across the plant's native range, and this can mean long-term recovery success, she said in a prepared statement.

We believe all of these recovery units are necessary for both the survival and recovery of the species.

Each of the recovery zones would be about 9 miles in diameter and would contain at least 1,000 flowering plants to preserve genetic diversity, she said.

The draft plan also proposes habitat restoration in areas where the plant historically grew. Population size is calculated by counting the number of flowering plants present in reserves.

Of the 109 known sites, 59 are on the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management; eight on state lands; eight on city of Jacksonville lands; two on U.S. Forest Service land; and 32 on private lands.

Only eight sites are greater than an acre and many are smaller than a 10th of an acre.

The draft plan also calls for providing private landowners with information on identification and management of their habitat to maintain the lily.

Under federal law, agencies must consult the Fish and Wildlife Service before funding activities or issuing permits on private lands that may affect listed species.

The proposal also would provide for conducting surveys and research essential to recovery of the plant. A germination bank also would be developed.

A species is designated endangered if it is at risk of becoming extinct throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Deadline for commenting on the draft plan is Jan. 21, 2003. Comments can be sent to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 S.E. 98th Ave., Portland, OR 97266.

They also may be e-mailed to fritillary_recovery@r1.fws.gov

Copies of the plan may be obtained on the Web at

The plant was named for the family of the late L.G. Gentner, a noted entomologist and assistant superintendent of the Southern Oregon Experiment Station in Central Point.

Native plants are important for their ecological, economic and aesthetic values. Plants play an vital role in development of crops that resist disease, insects and drought.

At least 25 percent of prescription drugs contain ingredients derived from plant compounds, including treatments for cancer, juvenile leukemia, heart disease and malaria. Plants are also being used to develop natural pesticides.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at