Breedlove & Lorence
Vanishing Flora forum thread
"It’s likely that Dennis Breedlove, then curator of botany at the California Academy of Sciences, couldn’t believe his eyes. In 1972, while hiking the rugged terrain of a cloud forest in the mountains of Chiapis, in Southern Mexico, he came upon a magnificent species of shrub unknown to science. The plants — growing at an altitude of 6,600 feet — were in full bloom, displaying dangling clusters of gold-and-pink blossoms that were providing nectar for squadrons of hummingbirds. Named Deppea splendens by botanical taxonomists, it was an incredible discovery.
But when Breedlove returned to the site just 14 years later, he found the area cleared for agriculture and the Deppea splendens obliterated. Subsequent searches of nearby cloud forest remnants were unsuccessful, and the species is considered extinct in the wild. Luckily, Breedlove had collected seeds in 1972, and cultivated plants — known as golden fuchsia — are thriving in places like San Francisco where the climate approximates the species’ original habitat. Unfortunately, Central Florida’s warmth prevents Deppea from growing here."