San Diego Thornmint Facts
- Firstly, as well as quite sadly, the gorgeous San Diego Thornmint represents an extremely rare species of flowering plant. Secondly, its common namalle hints at two separate facts about the species. As the common name hints at, it forms a unique member of the mint family.
- In addition, the US Federal Government currently recognizes how special this amazing plant actually is. As a result, that body now officially lists the remarkable plant as an endangered and protected species. However, for the moment, the IUCN lists the plant as Threatened.
- Habitat loss appears to be the primary threat to its continued existence, for the moment. Yet climate change also looms. Unfortunately, much of its former range is now under human habitation. Also, non-native grasses have taken over large swathes of the habitat it once thrived in.
- Finally, yet another somewhat surprising fact involves the fascinating species. In point of fact, the possession of any amount of San Diego Thornmint actually represents a serious crime. In fact, the penalty remains even greater than for the possession of marijuana in the United States.
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San Diego Thornmint Physical Description
The small but lovely San Diego Thornmint holds many surprises. AMong these is its own nature. In point of fact, it represents a unique annual species. Additionally, it typically attains a height of roughly 6 in (15 cm). Further, it develops oval shaped leaves which average about 0.6 in (1.5 cm) in length.
Also, the beautiful small flowers it produces appear in clusters, known as inflorescences. Furthermore, these numerous blooms most commonly present vivid and remarkable colors. These hues usually develop as either a bright pink or a bright purple shade. Nevertheless, other colors do occasionally occur.
Each of the tiny flowers produced by the San Diego Thornmint possesses a special physical feature. That’s because it also has a special oval-shaped leaf. This foliage measures an average of roughly 0.4 in (1 cm) in length. Lastly, this unique leaf also typically develops an edging of long, sharp spines.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Lamiales
- Family: Lamiaceae
- Genus: Acanthomintha
- Species: A. ilicifolia
San Diego Thornmint Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite unfortunately, the marvelous San Diego Thornmint has one particular factor working against its survival. That holds true due to the fact that it now exists in an extremely limited range. Understandably, this includes San Diego County, in the United States, along with Baja, California, in North America.
However, this delicate yet adaptable little marvel often lives in several different types of habitats. First of all, these most commonly consist of coastal scrubland, chaparral, or grassland. But, it also occasionally appears in regions of wetlands. Yet, the species most commonly grows in calcareous clay.
Finally, at present, only 59 small populations of this endangered species are known to exist in the wild. Conservation efforts to preserve the San Diego Thornmint also remain underway, of course. However, under the present circumstances, its continued existence regrettably remains highly uncertain.
Species Sharing Its Range
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Todd Sain Sr. says
Thanks for the question, Stephen. Though it is is doubtless vulnerable to various insects, like any other plant, no animals are known to feed on it, though it cannot be ruled out.
Stephen Baker says
HI! What animals eat the plant?