Rare & Endangered Plants

Rare and endangered plants are two different classifications of plants that once grew in abundance but have declined throughout the United States. Endangered plants are ones that are directly in danger of extinction to a known threat such as disease or loss of habitat. Rare plants are classified as slowly dying out due to natural factors or an unknown variable. According to the U.S. Forest Service, most rare plants are not listed on the endangered species list but are given special treatment by the Forest Service for the specific purpose of ensuring that the plants have a chance to survive.

Millboro Leatherflower

The U.S. Forest Service lists Clematis viticaulis, also known as millboro leatherflower, as a rare plant native to Virginia. These plants are currently thriving in the few sites in which they have been identified. However, climate changes may necessitate increased conservation measures in the future if the current populations decline.

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper, or Cypripedium montanum, is another plant species classified as rare under the U.S. Forest Service guidelines. This plant is native to Alaska, central California and throughout western North America. The known habitats in which this plant has been identified are in decline due predominantly to loss of wild lands. The Forest Service is currently watching this plant species and conserving the known crops to prevent this plant from being classified as endangered.

Sandplain False Foxglove

Agalinis acuta pennell, also known as sandplain false foxglove, is listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as endangered. The plant was once native to the sandplain grasslands of northeastern United States, but today there are only about a dozen species left. According to the Center for Plant Conservation, an organization dedicated to conserving and restoring native plants, woodland destruction has been the major threat to this plant. In response to the endangered status of this plant, it is currently being monitored in the few sites left where it grows. In addition, plants known to be beneficial to this species have been planted in the areas to encourage new growth.

Sonoma Sunshine

Blennosperma bakeri is a member of the sunflower family and is commonly referred to as Sonoma sunshine and Baker's sticky seed. The known species of this plant are all located in California where they used to prosper, but due to massive amounts of construction and home building throughout the Sonoma Valley, the plants' native home, there are very few species left, and those that remain are at threat. However, the Center for Plant Conservation asserts that through local government and a private citizen's group, artificial habitats for this plant are being established in the area.

Keywords: rare and endangered plants, plant conservation, threatened plants

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including eHow.com, Trails.com and Associated Content.