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1. What is the Center for Plant Conservation? (top
The Center for Plant Conservation is dedicated solely
to preventing the extinction of America’s imperiled, native flora.
The Center is a network of America’s leading botanical institutions.
Click here to watch the Center for Plant Conservation’s 25th anniversary commemorative video.
2. Where is the Center for Plant Conservation? (top
The Center for Plant Conservation’s national
office is hosted by the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Center for Plant Conservation’s 39 participating institutions
are located throughout the country, from Hawaii to Massachusetts.
3. What does the Center for Plant Conservation do? (top of page)
The Center for Plant Conservation recovers America’s
vanishing flora. The Center maintains the National Collection of Endangered
Plants, a collection of cultivated plants and seeds of imperiled, native
plants in the United States. The Center’s participating institutions
work with these imperiled plants off-site and in the wild. In the greenhouse,
institution scientists conduct horticultural research and learn how to
grow the plants from seed or from cuttings. The Center’s scientists
then provide plant material for restoration efforts in the wild. Institution
scientists also assist in monitoring populations in the wild, managing
habitat and restoring plants to native habitats.
4. What is the National Collection of Endangered Plants? (top of page)
The National Collection of Endangered Plants contains
plant material for more than 750 of the country’s most imperiled
native plants. An important conservation resource, the Collection is a
back-up in case a species becomes extinct or no longer reproduces in the
wild. The Collection provides the material needed for restoration work
for the species. It’s also an important resource for the scientific
study of plant rarity, rare plant life cycles and rare plant storage and
5. Where is the National Collection of Endangered
Plants stored? (top of page)
The National Collection is stored at the Center’s
participating institutions across the country. Parts of the Collection
are stored and maintained at the USDA’s National Center for Genetic
6. Why is the Center for Plant Conservation important? (top of page)
The Center for Plant Conservation is important because
the Center works to recover imperiled plants in the wild. Each of the
50 states is home to at least one imperiled native plant species. About 16 percent of native U.S. plant species is of conservation concern. Nearly 4
percent of native flora is on or qualifies for the federal Endangered
Species List. Of all native U.S. plant species, 16 percent are found in
20 or fewer places, have experienced steep declines or are considered
at-risk, according to NatureServe.
7. What is an imperiled plant? (top
Some species are naturally rare and have limited habitats
due to unique climate conditions or geology. Imperiled plants are those
considered vulnerable to extinction due to very low numbers or serious
threats to the population. Most plants have declined and become imperiled
because of habitat loss or degradation, invasion by exotic species, over-collecting
or pollution. Imperiled plants are in danger of becoming extinct if they
are not protected and properly managed for recovery.
8. Why should I care about imperiled plants? (top
Plants provide us with food, fiber, flavor, fragrance,
flowers, fuel, medicine and inspiration! Plants have economic and intrinsic
values that cannot be measured. Our imperiled plants have evolved over
millions of years to live in the varied ecosystems that now constitute
our country. What’s more, we still know very little about imperiled
plants. We are destroying plants and their habitats much faster than we
are protecting and studying them. If we lose these species, we will be
losing a part of our heritage, valuable scientific treasures and the potential
gifts these plants might offer.
9. What can I do to help protect America’s vanishing
flora? (top of page)
There are a variety of ways to keep America’s
vanishing flora from being lost forever.
- Donate money to the Center for Plant Conservation.
- Sponsor an imperiled plant from your state.
- Volunteer at the participating institution nearest
- Prevent the spread of invasive species.
- Support the conservation efforts in your local community.