Nation: Floral Defense

Sixth Army to the rescue

The U.S. Sixth Army has a new life-and-death assignment: guarding what may be the most imperiled of the more than 2,000 American plants on the endangered species list. The last-known Arctostaphylos hookeri ravenii, commonly called the Presidio Manzanita, is located on a hillside overlooking the Pacific at the Army's Presidio base in San Francisco.

Manzanita is Spanish for "little apple"—a reference to the tiny berries nestled amid the 4-ft. shrub's shiny green leaves and pink blossoms. Indians used to boil manzanita leaves to make a medicinal tea to treat venereal disease. There are about 50 types of the...

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