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.

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Violet Milkvetch

(Astragalus iodopetalus)

Violet Milkvetch (Astragalus iodopetalus) is a vulnerable species native to Colorado and New Mexico. This species lives in forests and shrublands, occurring in several National Forests, though most known occurrences of this species are considered historical. In 2021, several scouting trips and subsequent collections expeditions conducted by the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) in New Mexico found two populations in the state, both of which appeared to be increasing in size at the time. Historic data for occurrences of this species allowed IAE to locate these two populations which had been previously documented in the Santa Fe National Forest.

Violet Milkvetch is held in the CPC National Collection at the Institute for Applied Ecology and the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation. IAE collected this species in 2021 as part of the CPC and U.S. Forest Service Rare Plant Seed Banking Agreement.

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

Background photo: Violet Milkvetch (Astragalus iodopetalus) in flower and almost ready for collection as part of the CPC-USFS Region 3 seed collection funding. Photo credit: Maria Mullins.

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.

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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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