So much of the attention given to rare and endangered species goes to what we in the entomological world call 'charismatic megafauna'. If that term sounds a bit snarky, it is. The little guys have stories to tell after all, and a common sentiment among those who study these less-conspicuous forms of life is that they deserve just as much attention, respect and protection. Just because we humans notice and relate to the big critters easily doesn't mean the little ones matter less.
Anyways. This article in Bay Nature about Livermore Tarplant, a rare species only found in three populations in the Livermore Valley in the Bay Area, is a really entertaining read. It is a cinderella story, or in the author, Eric Simon's words: "We learn to love nature by telling stories about it, and I wanted to explore the kind of stories you could tell to convince someone to love a rare, ugly plant". That desire is deep to my heart as well.
The article delves into the surprising story of a little inconspicuous plant - a tarweed! - and its path to redemption, or something like that. In any case it's one of the best-written pieces on such a topic that I've read in a long time. Plus, it can be difficult finding expressions of admiration toward the tarweeds outside of this blog, which for the record, is referred to in the article. Check it out: http://baynature.org/biodiversity/livermore-tarweed/.
In looking for the link to the article, I came across yet another article in Bay Nature on the tarweeds! In case you still want to read more about tarweed, here it is: http://baynature.org/article/the-scent-of-summer/