Rare Plants & Fruits


If you like to grow unusual plants, you can choose from a long list of plants that are native to your region as well as lesser-known varieties of fruit trees. Just because a plant is rare, it does not mean it is difficult to grow. It might have become rare or endangered because its habitat has been taken over by homes, roads and businesses. Rare fruits are often the types that few people know about.

Why Plants Become Rare

The website WordIQ defines an endangered species as a plant or animal whose numbers have reached such a low point that it is in danger of becoming extinct. The U.S. government keeps official lists of endangered plants, and laws are in place that help to protect remaining populations. Plants and animals become rare or endangered because of many reasons, from diseases that strike them to the extinction of a pollinator insect. Habitats of rare plants have been cleared in many places for homes, roads, businesses and other forms of modern civilization.

How to Find Rare or Endangered Plants

Native plant nurseries exist in some locales that specialize in native plants, some of which can be rare or endangered. It is best to purchase rare plants from a reputable source because some rare species are collected from the wild illegally. Do not collect any plants from the wild because you will be harming the population and possibly altering the ecosystem in which they grow.

What Are Some Rare Fruits?

Many types of fruits that are considered rare are tropical in origin, making them less common in parts of the world that are not tropical. Cherimoyas, lychees, Jack fruit, sapotes and many others are rare in most parts of the United States and might not grow successfully in gardens north of USDA climate zone 10. But other types of fruit trees are considered rare because they are merely lesser-known cultivars of more common fruits, such as figs or citrus. For example, the kaffir lime is not endangered but is a rarity because fewer people grow it than other types of limes.

How to Grow Rare Plants and Fruits

Rare plants and fruits require no different growing conditions than their less-rare relatives. For example, if you locate a rare native penstemon, which is a perennial wildflower, the instructions for growing it are the same as for other members of the penstemon plant family that are commonly used as ornamental plants in home gardens. The instructions for growing a kaffir lime, for example, are the same as for growing other types of citrus trees. Protect it from frost and feed it three times a year with citrus fertilizer. Most plants, including those considered rare, benefit from rich soil that drains relatively quickly. Adding organic compost to your growing areas will help your rare plants and fruit trees as well as other more common plants you choose to grow.

Importance of Growing Rare Plants

Rare and endangered plants can add interest to your landscaping because you may be the only person on your block to grow them. By growing a rare or endangered plant, you may play a role in helping it increase its numbers in the locality where it is native. A rare native plant will be quite carefree if you grow it in an environment that is similar to its wild home, and it can sometimes spread naturally when its seeds drop to the ground or are carried by the wind to nearby locations. When you grow a rare plant or fruit tree, it can help to open up a conversation with friends and neighbors that will help them to understand that many more varieties plants exist than are sold at nurseries.

Keywords: rare plants, endangered species, uncommon fruit

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.