MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Researchers discover new plant species in Boise Foothills

The plant, described in a news release as a small, yellow-flowered forb, grows exclusively between Gem and Elmore counties. (Photos courtesy College of Idaho)

The College of Idaho and Boise State University say researchers have discovered a new plant species in the Boise Foothills.

The plant, described in a news release as a small, yellow-flowered forb, grows exclusively between Gem and Elmore counties.

Dr. Don Mansfield, professor of biology and environmental studies at the College of Idaho and Dr. Jim Smith, a biology professor at BSU, were gathering plant samples from the Boise Foothills about two years ago to update what they knew about the species of plants they already knew grew in the area, particularly the biscuit-roots.

When a handful of the samples they gathered had considerably differing genetic signatures and slight morphological differences, they began to consider the possibility that the samples could be an entirely different species.

“They’re definitely in the same genus, but they’re ecologically distinct, morphologically different and genetically unique,” Mansfield said. “This is a species that has gone down its own evolutionary path, and that is a process that we would like to learn more about....Everyone hiking in the foothills would know it if they knew what they were looking for. In some places it’s pretty thick. It’s not rare, but it’s geographically restricted."

The plant has yet to be named.

To help raise money to continue researching the new plant and its close relatives in the biscuit-root genus, C of I and BSU are auctioning off an opportunity to name the new species, with bids starting at $10,000. Bids will be accepted until Oct. 20 via email at plantnamingauction@boisestate.edu.

Trending