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Why Rare Plants Matter

We have only scratched the surface of understanding the role plants play in ecosystems or the uses they may offer. But what we do know is wondrous. Learn how plants – including rare plants –  are integral to a healthy planet and how their incredible diversity make life as we know it possible.



A trusted authority on plant conservation science and practices, CPC ensures conservationists are equipped with the information and resources needed to best save plants.


Rare plants included in the National Collection are safeguarded from extinction and can help conservationists restore healthy, diverse populations to nature.



CPC’s Rare Plant Academy provides training and tools to prepare the next generation of rare plant conservationists.



Contributing to the Rare Plant Academy Forum gives plant professionals the opportunity to share their knowledge and help others learn from their experience.



The purpose of the Center for Plant Conservation’s Advocacy initiatives is to save plants by providing a leadership role in conservation education, awareness, and action. The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) takes a stance on issues based on the guidelines and parameters of its Position Papers. Currently, CPC has two Position Papers, which are on Threatened and Endangered Native Plants” and “Climate Change.” Based on its Position Papers, CPC tracks federal legislation and policies that may impact imperiled plants, plant conservation research, and restoration.

This community of advocates needs to go beyond all of us–we must include our visitors, friends, families, community partners, and more to gain wide-spread national and global support for plant conservation. When we work together, our voices are amplified, making it possible to save more plants from extinction.


After narrowly missing passage in the last congress, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) has been reintroduced in the Senate with bipartisan co-sponsors Sen. Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Tillis (R-NC).

This bill would be an unprecedented investment in rare species conservation that could directly benefit our conservation partner programs. RAWA would provide $1 billion to states, tribes, and agencies to implement Wildlife Action Plans including extinction prevention strategies for species of greatest conservation need.

ACT NOW: Contact your representatives or call the Capitol switchboard in D.C. on (202) 224- 3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator’s office. Urge them the co-sponsor and support this critical legislation that will support rare plant conservation!


CPC safeguards rare plants by advancing science-based conservation practices, connecting and empowering plant conservationists, and inspiring all to protect biodiversity for future generations.

By Ben Durrington Encelia Californica

A Brain Trust For Protecting Plants

CPC is a network of over 70 plant institutions that brings together data, scientific prowess, and applied conservation experience to advance work that saves plants. This brain trust of plant conservation experts has four decades of experience in synthesizing cutting-edge research which builds the foundation for good conservation practice. CPC saves plants by providing information and resources to our partners beyond.

Meet Our Network

The 2018 Highlands Biological Station field course in introduction to lichens on the culmination of their trip to study threatened endemic species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Clifftops of Mount LeConte, Tennessee. Photo credit: Jessica Allen, courtesy of New York Botanical Garden.

National Collection species, Grad Mesa Beardtongue (Penstemon mensarum), collected in 2019 by Denver Botanic Gardens through CPC-Kew Foundation America. Photo credit: Alex Seglias, Denver Botanic Gardens.

The Plants In Peril

Integral to a healthy planet, plants and their incredible diversity make life as we know it possible. Yet two in five of the world’s plants are at risk of extinction – 4,400 of which occur in the United States. With your help we can safeguard more of these unique species by adding them to the National Collection and conserving them in the wild. With CPC’s Rare Plant Finder tool you can find which plants near you are at risk – and which have dedicated conservationists within our network working to safeguard their existence.

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With your help we can safeguard more of the unique plants in peril and in need of protection by adding them to the National Collection and conserving them in the wild.

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