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San Nicolas Island

With an area of 22 square miles, San Nicolas Island is the third-largest of the Southern Channel Islands and is the fifth-largest island in the entire chain. The most isolated of the Channel Islands, it is situated 61 miles from the mainland. Santa Barbara Island, San Nicolas’s closest island neighbor, is located 28 miles to the northeast.

The flora of San Nicolas Island includes about 137 native taxa and 140 non-native taxa. The natural distribution of at least 15 of the island’s native taxa are restricted to two or more of the California Islands; three plant taxa have been found only on San Nicolas Island.

The three plant taxa which have been found only on San Nicolas Island are:

  • Eriogonum grande var. timorum (San Nicolas Island buckwheat)
  • Lycium verrucosum (San Nicolas Island boxthorn*)
  • Malacothrix foliosa subsp. polycephala (San Nicolas Island malacothrix)

*Unfortunately, the San Nicolas Island boxthorn has not been seen on the island since April 1897 and is presumed to be extinct.