National Collection of Rare and Endangered Plants

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By: Cheryl Birker, California Botanic GardenDuncan Bell collects Panamint Mountains buckwheat at Death Valley NP

Bringing Rarity Together

The Center for Plant Conservation maintains a collection of more than 2,200 of America’s most imperiled native plants through its network of world class botanical gardens. Our 73 Institutional Conservation Partners safeguard endangered plant material in “ex situ” botanical collections including seed banks, nurseries, and garden displays. An important conservation resource, the National Collection serves as an emergency backup in case a species becomes extinct or no longer reproduces in the wild. To communicate this important work, CPC and its network of conservation experts actively update web profiles for all National Collection species, which serve as a historical record of conservation actions taken to save these rare plants. Search the National Collection and view the plant profiles to learn more about these beautiful, imperiled rare plants and the gardens that conserve them.

Collection Statistics

Institutional Conservation Partners
Species in the National Collection
Conservation Collections

Torrey Pine

(Pinus torreyana ssp. torreyana)

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana ssp. torreyana) is a critically imperiled subspecies endemic to San Diego county. Most wild individuals of this subspecies live in the Torrey Pines State Reserve, a coastal nature reserve protecting the tree’s habitat. Trees which occur outside of the reserve, especially on private property, are at constant risk of habitat loss with development, while bark beetles have caused great decline in the remaining population within the reserve.

Experimental reintroduction efforts are underway to determine the best way to restore numbers of this tree in the wild. These efforts are led by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, a CPC Participating Institution, alongside the CPC National Office, U.S. Forest Service, and California State Parks. Outplantings have been conducted in January 2021, February 2022, and January 2023. Plots explore three treatment types: existing Torrey Pines forest, areas of recent Torrey Pines dieback, and areas in the reserve that have not been recently occupied by adult Torrey Pines. Seedling mortality and growth as well as existing adult Torrey Pines are monitored semi-annually for this project.

Learn more about conservation actions taken for Torrey Pine on its National Collection Plant Profile, and help support critical conservation work for this species with a Plant Sponsorship.

Background photo: Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana ssp. torreyana). Photo by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

CPC National Collection Search

The Center for Plant Conservation’s National Collection of Endangered Plants contains plant material for more than 2,000 of the country’s most imperiled native plants. An important conservation resource, the National Collection is a backup in case a species becomes extinct or no longer reproduces in the wild. Search the National Collection and view the plant profiles to learn more about these beautiful, imperiled plants.

Visit our Rare Plant Finder for a More Advanced Search
By: Jennifer Possley Passiflora sexflora

Sponsor a Plant in the National Collection

To offset some of the expenses of collecting, growing, and researching plant species in the National Collection, the Center for Plant Conservation created the Plant Sponsorship Program to provide Participating Institutions responsible for a named species stable funding for the long-term work. A sponsorship does not cover all the expenses, but it provides significant help and stability, and has a critical and lasting impact on plant conservation efforts.

News from our Save Plants Digest

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Save Plants: June 2023 Newsletter

Our 2023 National Meeting at the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ, was a stimulating...

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2023 Star Award: Steve Blackwell

Following an exciting first day of conference proceedings, CPC was thrilled to present the 2023 Star...

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State of the Center for Plant Conservation

During the National Meeting, the CPC National Office team gave a series of presentations highlightin...


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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