Undescribed Plant Species, Subspecies, and Ecotypes of the Santa Cruz Sandhills

Many Sandhills populations of more widespread plant species feature unique morphological characteristics that suggest they may be unique ecotypes (genetically distinct populations adapted to the Sandhills), subspecies, or species. Such evidence of evolutionary differentiation is not surprising, given the tendency for genetic drift and natural selection to evolve new species from populations that are geographically isolated. Indeed, these processes are likely responsible for the evolution of Sandhills endemic species from more widespread ancestors.

The following are just a few examples of Sandhills plant species which should be examined by taxonomists. Even if they are found not to merit taxonomic recognition as unique species at this time, Sandhills populations likely represent evolution in process and should be protected as such.

Common Name
Scientific Name
Zayante everlasting
Gnaphalium sp. nov. (Asteraceae)
Undescribed species
Sandhills undescribed species of Gnaphalium
slender flowered gilia

Gilia tenuiflora ssp. ? (Polemoniaceae)

Undescribed subspecies

tipless tidy tips Layia platyglossa (Asteraceae) Sandhills Subspecies or ecotype
Eschscholzia californica (Papaveraceae) Sandhills subspecies or ecotype

Sandhills Alliance for Natural Diversity (S.A.N.D.)
PO Box 2363 Boulder Creek, CA 95006
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