Rare and At Risk Plants

Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary is home to rare, threatened, uncommon, and at-risk plant species, which play crucial roles in ecosystems with other species relying on them for their survival.

Every state has identified plant populations of special concern. These are called “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” or “SGCNs.” A population may be labelled SGCN either because the population is declining, because the threats to the population are increasing, or because we know so little about the species that we can’t effectively manage for it.  SGCN species classified in a ranking system based on the number of populations existing across the region. A rare species is one that only has a few populations – less than 20 across the state – and faces threats to its continued existence. Uncommon species also face a risk of extinction, but a more moderate one, with 20-80 populations existing statewide.

At Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary, we focus on protecting these species and restoring their habitat to help them rebound back to healthy levels. Species of Greatest Conservation Need that have been vouched by the Agency of Natural Resources on our land include:

  • Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens, Yellow Lady’s-slipper (S3-Uncommon)
  • Cypripedium reginae, Showy Lady’s-slipper (S3-Uncommon)
  • Plantanthera flava, Northern Tubercled Bog-Orchid (S2-Rare)
  • Cirsium muticum, Swamp Thistle (S2-Rare)
  • Oclemena nemoralis, Bog Aster (S2-Rare, and Threatened)

The nonprofit organization United Plant Savers, founded 25 years ago by Rosemary Gladstar for the benefit of the plant communities, wild animals, harvesters, farmers, consumers, manufacturers, retailers and practitioners, studies and advocates medicinal plant conservation.

Their Species At-Risk List evaluates scientific research, environmental pressure, and industry demand to curate a list of wild medicinal plants that are currently most sensitive to the impact of human activities. The intent is to assure the increasing abundance of the medicinal plants which are currently in decline due to expanding popularity and shrinking habitat and range, while initiating programs designed to preserve these important wild medicinal plants.

Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary is focused on protecting these at-risk species, restoring their habitat, cultivating forest gardens and propagating native genetics in the interest of returning these populations to their once-wild states of health. These species at-risk on our land include: