First off, I apologize for the title. I’ve been thinking of a way to work this word into some part of my life for the past week. Unfortunately, you were the recipients but there is method to this madness. Read on.
We hear about species becoming threatened, endangered, or, even worse, extinct. Much of the time, the focus is on the charismatic megafauna, like the panda, tiger, and rhino (a hot topic in the news these days). The fact is, plants go extinct, too. We just don’t hear about it quite as often.
As a species (whether plant or animal) becomes extinct, our overall global diversity is reduced. And there are consequences. The diversity of our plant life (diver-seed-y) is just as important as the charismatic megafauna plastered all over social media.
Check out a couple of the North American species that are in trouble to varying degrees but, with the help of wildflower lovers throughout the continent, we can keep them going.
Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
This spring bloomer is on the endangered species list in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. You’ll be hard-pressed to find it in any of its other native locations either as it’s quite rare.
Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium)
One of Miriam’s favourites for the garden and as a cut flower (particularly great for wedding bouquets), wild quinine is endangered in Maryland and Minnesota; extirpated in Pennsylvania; and threatened in Wisconsin.
Ozark Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa)
Native to the Ozark region of the US (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma) and Texas, this flower is threatened in Arkansas where it only exists in a few of the northernmost counties.
Bush’s Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe bushii)
You won’t find this plant naturally outside a handful of US states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas). That doesn’t mean it won’t do well in other places, though. An excellent addition to any North American rock garden or space with dry soil.
Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis)
Native to Tennessee (and Tennessee only), it is also endangered there. This coneflower is unique with its horizontal flower petals (where the rest have sagging petals). Although it’s native to Tennessee, it grows well in Ontario on the farm and will overwinter just like any other coneflower we grow here.
Detailed growing information can be found by clicking on each species link. Or searching directly from the website. There you will find bloom time (to maximize your garden’s flower potential throughout the season), special characteristics (cut flower worthy, insect and bird species it attracts, and deer resistance), and where in your garden it will do the best.
If you have the space, give these rare and endangered species a chance to repopulate throughout the country. If you don’t have space of your own, share the message with someone who does – you can even offer to help them with the gardening! Win-win all around!