Roses are red, violets are blue. But in the Guadalupe Mountains, they can be yellow, too.
Folks in the Lone Star State may sing about the yellow roses, but they are crowing about a small colony of yellow violets discovered hanging from a cliff by a park ranger who had lost his way.The rare flower, dubbed the Viola guadalupensis, or Guadalupe Violet, is eligible for listing as a rare or endangered species, said John Cook, National Park Service Southwest regional director.
The plant was found March 22, 1987. It was verified as a species in June and its discovery was announced recently at a conference on national parks attended by 350 federal officials, scientists and wildlife preservationists.
"I was hiking up in the mountain alongside of a cliff and it was very foggy," Guadalupe Mountains National Park ranger Brent Wauer told a press conference at the gathering. "I was a bit lost and I noticed on the side of the cliff face a yellow plant that was really not where it was supposed to be.
"There are no cliff plants in the park with yellow flowers," he said.
"I knew it was something unusual when I regained my balance, so I went over and looked at it and it was a yellow violet," Wauer said.
The 86,000-acre park is near the Texas-New Mexico line and about 100 miles east of El Paso.