California Native Plant Society

Why Conserve Rare Plants?

Circium occidentale
A native sweat bee (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) helps maintain the genetic diversity within a locally rare population of cobwebby thistle (Cirsium occidentale var. occidentale) on the western coast of San Clemente Island. Photo by Aaron E. Sims 2012.

Preserving California’s Legacy

Rare plants:

  • Contribute to biodiversity
  • Play key ecological roles
  • Have evolutionary significance
  • May provide medicinal uses
  • Are protected by legal regulations
  • Can be targets for conservation planning
  • Can help protect natural communities as a whole
  • Are of concern for one's environmental ethics and morals
  • Are beautiful!!!

Locally rare plants:

  • Help contribute to long-term survival of species
  • Help preserve the diversity of the species
  • Help preserve gene pool of local flora
  • Preserve potential for species to undergo speciation events


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