Get Passionate for Plants, May 15

Clay-loving wild buckwheat
Clay-loving wild buckwheat, courtesy of Alicia Langton, USFWS (public domain)

When we think of threatened and endangered species, we usually think of the cute, furry, cuddly ones. But plants can be threatened and endangered too.

In Colorado, the following species are endangered: Penland beardtongue (Penstemon penlandii), Knowlton’s cactus (Pediocactus knowltonii), Mancos milkvetch (Astragalus humillimus), Osterhout milkvetch (Astragalus osterhoutii), North Park phacelia (Phacelia formosula), Pagosa skyrocket (Ipomopsis polyantha), and clay-loving wild buckwheat (Eriogonum pelinophilum). And the following species are threatened: Parachute beardtongue (Penstemon debilis), Dudley Bluffs bladderpod (Lesquerella congesta), Colorado hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus), Navajo sedge (Carex specuicola), Mesa Verde cactus (Sclerocactus mesae-verdae), Ute ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis), Penland alpine fen mustard (Eutrema penlandii), DeBeque phacelia (Phacelia submutica), Western prairie fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara), and Dudley Bluffs twinpod (Physaria obcordata).

Colorado ranks 13th for plant diversity and 8th for the most plant species at risk. There are 117 plant species in Colorado considered to be globally imperiled and vulnerable to extinction. Of those, 68 species are found only in Colorado, which means it’s our duty to make sure they remain protected.

Most of these species are restricted to a very specific habitat, which is why protections through habitat designations are so important!

What is a “native plant” and why is it so important? Native plants are species that are indigenous to an area and naturally occurring in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat. In the United States, a lot of species were introduced during colonization that are non-native species. Some may pose a threat to native species, but many more just don’t support ecosystem health in the same way that native species do.

In fact, native plants are key to climate resilience!


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Here are just some things you can do to learn more about and protect local plants:

Join Us:

Join us for a lunch-and-learn on Urban Biodiversity and Habitat Connectivity!

Andrea Montoya will talk about urban biodiversity and the importance of creating connected habitats for insects and songbirds in urban and suburban communities.

Andrea is the principal Developer and Instructor of The Pollinator Advocacy training program for the City of Boulder and will soon matriculate its next class of 20 community members. She initiated and led the Pollinator Corridor Habitat project in Central Boulder, as a volunteer in 2016.

She is now the Urban Biodiversity Coordinator consulting for Boulder’s Climate Action Initiative. Her projects include introducing Container gardening with Native Plants to small traditionally underserved neighborhoods and Mobile Home Communities. Her education includes a BS in biomedical sciences and advanced training in ecology and ecological systems.

When: 12:00-1:00 pm MT, Monday, May 15
Where: On Zoom
Registration: Please register to save your spot.



Listen and Watch:

  • “Gardening with native plants,” from Boulder Public Library (60 minutes)
  • “Why Native Plants are Important,” from Climate Kids CONNECTS (5 minutes)

Join us for the rest of the Colorado Endangered Species Week events!