Cormorant rookery photos from Point Lobos.
Dudleya succulents or as they are known in Asia, Live Forevers, are native to California’s central coast. They are actually quite abundant there, but in recent years a growing black-market trade in them has gotten authorities worried. Initially, their harvesting and export wasn’t illegal, but the demand for these plants has grown so alarmingly that officials felt the need to clamp down. They are grown commercially, but are very slow-growing and nurseries couldn’t meet the demand. A single plant retails for $50. This led to freelancers, traveling on tourist visas, to harvest thousands of plants at a time and ship them back home. One man was busted while shipping 5,000 plants. The pictured plants are at Point Lobos, where they grow on rocky outcrops or on the cliff faces overlooking the sea, but always in rather inhospitable spots, with no other vegetation around. They are attractive looking and I can see their allure, but a regulated trade is needed. NPR had an article about this problem.