San Diego Thornmint Facts
- Firstly, the gorgeous San Diego Thornmint represents an extremely rare species of flowering plant. Further, as the common name gives a hint of, it forms a unique member of the mint family.
- In addition, the US Federal Government has now officially listed the 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. 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, 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.
San Diego Thornmint Physical Description
The small but lovely San Diego Thornmint is a unique annual species. In fact, it typically attains a height of roughly 6 in (15 cm). Additionally, it has oval shaped leaves which average about 0.6 in (1.5 cm) in length.
Also, its beautiful small flowers appear in clusters, known as inflorescences. Furthermore, these numerous blooms present remarkable colors. These usually develop as either a bright pink or a bright purple shade.
Each of the tiny flowers also has a special oval-shaped leaf. This feature measures an average of roughly 0.4 in (1 cm) in length. Lastly, this leaf, 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 now exists in an extremely limited range. Rather understandably, this includes San Diego County, in the United States, along with Baja, California, in North America.
However, it 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 wetlands. Yet, it mostly grows in calcareous clay.
Finally, at present, only 59 small populations of this endangered species are known to exist in the wild. Conservation efforts also remain underway, of course. However, its continued existence remains uncertain.