On a misty summer morning, ecologist Christy Brigham sinks down to the sand at Point Mugu State Park, part of the patchwork of federal, state and private lands in Los Angeles County's Santa Monica Mountains. She watches a darkling beetle forage among rare dune plants -- lacy, lavender sand verbenas and beach primroses, which resemble large buttercups. When Brigham came to this area eight years ago to work for the National Park Service, she thought she'd become an expert on plants like these, part of the region's unique Mediterranean-climate flora. But instead, she's spent most of her time dealing with common plants, many of them fugitives from local gardens and nurseries. Continue reading on the High Country News website.