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Leon County Residents Try To Save Local Plant

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

Abronia Macrocarpa, or to us non-scientists the Large-fruited Sand Verbena, it's a little plant on the brink of extinction. But some residents in Marquez, in Leon County, are trying to save it.

"It's a matter of just jump in with both feet and see what we can do about it," said June Borne-McKinley, event organizer.

In a seminar Sunday, a group of concerned citizens learned about the plant and possible ways to save it from Dr. Paula Williamson, a biologist from Texas State University who has been studying the plant for more than a decade.

"It had just been listed endangered in 1988, we started studying right after it had been listed," said Dr. Paula Williamson, Texas State University.

One characteristic that makes this plant so unique is that it is only grown in the Brazos Valley. So far it is only been found in Freestone, Leon and Robertson counties.

"I'd Like for us to know that the species is no longer endangered and that we in Marquez have done something worthwhile," said Bourne-McKinley.

"This one is very unique to this area and I think it's one that the citizens in this three county area can call their own," said Williamson.

Williamson says there is a way to save the plant and remove it for the endangered list, but it will take help from local land owners with sugar sand soil on their property.

"We're hoping that people will become more familiar with where the plant grows and look on their own land to see if they have suitable habitat," said Williamson.

To remove the plant from the list it would take a minimum of 20 viable populations, right now there are only nine. But Williamson says it is possible the plant is growing on land right now and just hasn't been found. So she's also asking residents in the three counties to keep an eye out, it could help save a plant from extinction.


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