Here is a list of the top 10 most endangered plant species.
1. Western Prairie Fringed Orchid – This orchid only exists in 5 Midwest U.S. states and it is estimated that only 172 populations with 1,000 plants exists. The Western Prairie Fringed Orchid is a wetland plant as you might guess. It grows in the glacial depressions left from the ice age 20,000 years ago.
2. Rafflesia Flower – is nicknamed the “corpse flower” because of the pungent odor it produces. It is also known as the world’s largest flower. The Rafflesia flower does not have roots, a stem or leaves. It can grow to a diameter of 3 feet and can weigh a hefty 24 pounds. It’s huge!
3. Georgia Aster – only 60 populations of this beautiful plant in the southeastern United States. Natural habitat conservation has improved its status but it is a long way from safe. It typically blooms in autumn.
4. Wiggin’s Acalypha – a native of the Galapagos islands which are well know for having the infamous marine and rhino iguanas. Loss of habitat has severly threatened this marvelous plant.
5. Texas Wild Rice – grows only in the freshwater of the San Marcos River in the state of Texas. There are only about 140 clumps in existence. The water level reduction caused by the Spring Lake Damn has decimated this wonderful rice species. Hopefully it can be saved.
6. Howell’s Spectacular Thelypody – only found in Oregon state with only 5 populations remaining. 16 years ago there were over 30,000 plants. Every year specimens die because of unnecessary grass cutting in the areas where these plants flourish.
7. Stenogyne Kanehoana – this member of the mint family was thought to be extinct in 2000 but a plant sighting confirmed its existence. It only grows on the island of Oahu. It has beautiful furry green leaves. Clippings have been grown in captivity.
8. Ouachita Mountain Goldenrod – only found in 3 counties along the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma, its populations are unknown. This Goldenrod is a remnant of the last Ice Age. It flourishes in a wet, cool climate such as the Ouachita Mountains.
9. Enrubio – this bush is native to Puerto Rica and is very close to extinction. It has lots of sharp thorns that protect it from wildlife but apparently not from man. Here is a new twist…it is endangered because it harms animals that eat it, so people destroy it wherever it is found.
10. Arizona Agave – less than 100 plants remain in the deserts of Arizona although it has remained resilient in its struggle. Two populations are located in the Tonto National Forest. There maybe some small populations in New River and Sierra Anchas Mountains.