Endangered plant re-discovered after 100 year hiatus

June 22, 2021

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission announces the discovery of a rare plant that hasn’t been seen in this area since the roaring 20s.

By Jesse Hoffman, Preserve Steward & Botanist


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ALBANY NY - Last week, the state endangered Virginia marbleseed plant (Lithospermum virginianum,) was located in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. The plant historically grew in the “Karner” hamlet of Albany, but has not been documented there since 1923.

According to New York Natural Heritage Program records, the plant is currently known from only one other location in New York in Dutchess County. Two individual plants were found at a site in the preserve that has undergone significant habitat management in recent years, boosting the statewide population to 22 plants. Virginia marbleseed is not showy in bloom, but according to Albany Pine Bush Preserve Steward and Botanist Jesse Hoffman, “It definitely has a certain charm. The spiraling flower buds and long styles look unusual and that coupled with the leaf venation make the plant stand out”.  The name "marbleseed" comes from the hard, shiny, white seeds that the plant produces which resemble the stone. “This is a really exciting find!” says Hoffman, “I’ve been searching for rare plants for most of my career and it tends not to be very gratifying. The nature of rare plants is that you almost never find them. To have discovered a state endangered species that hasn’t been seen in 100 years … it’s just amazing”.

Executive Director, Christopher Hawver said, “This further emphasizes the reasons why the Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, a New York State Unique Area and Bird Conservation Area, and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. The preserve is important to plant and animal species on local, state, national and global levels. Our staff will monitor these re-found plants and will work with our partners at the New York Natural Heritage Program on next steps.”

Jesse Hoffman, Preserve Steward and Botanist
Albany Pine Bush Preserve
(518) 456-0655 x1225

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