MAR 24, 2019 6:28 PM PDT

The black market for succulents

Dudleya farinosa is an endearing-looking succulent native to California. But it's appearance has put it in the dangerous path of the black market for plant trafficking. You see, this little plant can sell for as much as $50.00 USD in Asia, which has led plant smugglers to steal thousands of individuals from California's lands. That's exactly why has set up an undercover plant investigation team to try to protect the species.

Dudleya farinosa is a slow-growing plant that lives for a long time and is well-suited to California's foggy and windy weather. Also called "bluff lettuce" and "powdery liveforever," they bloom a tall stem of beautiful yellow flowers, which is likely one of the reasons they are so sought-after. Authorities estimate that poaching of the species began well before 2005 and that demand for the plant has skyrocketed since. 

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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