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U.S. Forest Service

About the Rare Plant Profiles

How were the plants chosen to be profiled on the Celebrating Wildflowers website?

To be profiled on this website:

  • A plant must be proposed or listed as threatened or endangered (TEP) by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); and/or a plant must be ranked as Critically Imperiled by NatureServe; that is, ranked as G1 and/or T1 using NatureServe's ranking criteria;


  • Be known to currently exist in at least one location on national forests or national grasslands.

Not all Critically Imperiled plants are listed under ESA. Conversely, not all listed plants are Critically Imperiled by NatureServe’s definition. If either criterion is met, AND the plant is known to occur on national forests or grasslands, then the plant is profiled on our website.

Regarding Scientific Names

Nomenclature for these profiled plants generally follows the USDA PLANTS Database usage, which sometimes differs from the names under which these plants are listed in USFWS documents. Where the profile uses a scientific name other than the one used by USFWS on its website or in its documents published in the Federal Register, the alternate name is shown under the profile heading. The USFWS nomenclature is retained in the profile when the PLANTS name represents a significant change in the rarity or geographic range of the listed plant.

Common Names

Common names for profiled plants are pulled variously from the USDA PLANTS Database, USFWS documents, or NatureServe. There is no accepted authority for botanical common names, and we have not attempted to create or impose one. Feel free to use whichever common name you like best!


For each TEP plant profile, a description of the threats to the plant’s continued existence and recovery in the wild was drawn directly from official USFWS documents: either the recovery plan, if there is one available, or the listing documentation in the Federal Register if no recovery plan is available.

For each Critically Imperiled plant profile, a description of the threats to the plant’s continued existence and recovery in the wild was drawn directly from NatureServe: if threats have not yet been assessed by NatureServe, that is noted.

No editorial comments were added in either case.


Many public and private individuals and organizations graciously donated photographs. Please respect copyrights and credits associated with the photos.

Distribution Maps

The distribution maps are drawn for the most part from the USDA PLANTS Database, and represent the total extant distribution of the plant, not just the portion on national forests and grasslands. In a few cases, new maps have been created for this website.