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Ward’s Bill to Address Illegal Poaching of California’s Native Dudleya Plants Passes Assembly

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Poachers have been harvesting populations of California succulents known as Dudleya (or “live-forevers”) by the thousands, targeting larger more mature plants along California’s coast, then shipping and selling them overseas.  Today, the state Assembly passed Assemblymember Chris Ward’s (D-San Diego) Assembly Bill (AB) 223 on a unanimous vote to make it unlawful to remove the threatened Dudleya plant from its natural habitat on state lands.

“The illegal poaching of the California Dudleya plant is removing thousands of these sensitive, native species from our state's wildlands" said Assemblymember Ward.  “AB 223 will assist in deterring Dudleya poaching, establish clear enforcement guidelines for law enforcement, and give populations of this native plant species an opportunity to recover.”

AB 223 will make it unlawful to sell or possess with the intent to sell any Dudleya illegally taken from its natural habitat and establishes minimum penalties of $5,000 per plant for the first offense, and $40,000 per plant for any subsequent offenses.

"We're incredibly grateful to Asm. Ward for his leadership in protecting one of our most prized and vulnerable groups of California plants," said Nick Jensen, conservation program director for the California Native Plant Society. "California is globally known for its remarkable plant diversity. By standing up for our beautiful Dudleya, we've sent an important signal to poachers everywhere to keep their hands off California's flora."

With 10 species of Dudleya already listed as threatened or endangered by state and federal officials, the continued poaching of this plant will cause catastrophic damage to these species, elevating the risk of extinction, and threatening the biodiversity of the great State of California.

For questions on AB 223, or to schedule an interview with Assemblymember Ward, contact Ansermio Estrada.