eBay came to my rescue, and I was able to acquire and scan the (unfortunately brief) article from volume 42, number 1 of Pacific Horticulture.
It’s still amazing to think that this large, vibrant, weird-looking flower wasn’t noticed on a hillside surrounded by some of the most expensive real estate in the world (and close to several world-class universities) wasn’t discovered until 1971. It’s unnerving to think how close to extinction this species came.
Not to denigrate the fine science behind subtle species differentiation by any means, but the discovery of C. tiburonensis in 1971 was the discovery of something *really new*. Calochortus is a very charismatic genus, filled with plants with some of the most colorful, showy, and in this author’s opinion, objectively beautiful inflorescences in botany. To discover a new Calochortus is remarkable indeed, especially since tiburnensis looks nothing like any other Calochortus species found in California.
The presence of C. tiburonensis (and other endemic botannical rarities) helped save Ring Mountain from development. As a result, it serves as an island of preserved biodiversity in a sea of some of the most valuable real estate in the world. Ring Mountain sticks out from its surroundings, and is one of my favorite nature destinations in California.