FE1.3 - The Loneliest Plants


What do you do when you find the last individual of a species previously thought to be extinct?  The two rarest plants on earth both live in the Presidio of San Francisco, they’re both in the same genus, and there’s only one left of each.  Is there a future for these species, and if so, what does it look like? And what can species on the brink tell us about ourselves and the future of our ecosystems?  

Arctostaphylos hookerii  ssp.  ravenii  (Raven’s Manzanita)

Arctostaphylos hookerii ssp. ravenii (Raven’s Manzanita)


This episode features, in order of appearance: Dan Gluesenkamp, Executive Director of the California Native Plant Society; and Michael Chassé, Natural Resource Management Specialist for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Special thanks to Theo Fitanides and Jaclyn Lim.  Thanks also to Sarah Sax and Ilana Fonariov for their ears.  Thanks to Kirsty Johnstone Munro Cameron for her voice.

Music for this episode was produced by PORTBOU and Sunfish Moon Light.  

A lot of research goes into each episode of Future Ecologies, including great journalism from a variety of media outlets, and we like to cite our sources:

Khan, J. (2018, March 18). Should Some Species Be Allowed To Die Out? The New York Times Magazine, MM30.

This episode includes music from the Project Gutenberg Library.  It also includes audio recorded by pingel, cinemafia, gadzooks, ERH, rutgermuller, will-stanton, mrbubble, pillonoise, ondrosik, tommccann, mhtaylor, ghl7636, InspectorJ, hguiney, allanh15, shutupoutcast, carlito62, frolickingdp1, and musicvision31, protected by Creative Commons attribution licenses, and accessed through the Freesound Project.  

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Future Ecologies is recorded on the unceded territories of the Musqueam (xwməθkwəy̓əm) Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh), and Tsleil- Waututh (Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh) Nations - otherwise known as Vancouver, British Columbia.  

This season of Future Ecologies is supported in part by the Vancouver Foundation.  Learn more at https://vancouverfoundationsmallarts.ca/.