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In Photos: Plants in Danger of Disappearing

Plant Map

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Plants around the globe are making like a tree and leaving, as this map indicates. A new study released today (Sept. 28) reveals that more than one-fifth of the planet's 380,000 plant species are threatened.

Take a look at some of the plants that are in danger, and some plants that might already be gone forever.

Pe Rare Grass

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Agrostis trachychlaena
Common name: bentgrass
Conservation status: Endangered

Talk about endangered: This rare grass species occurs within an area of only 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) on two islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Less than 250 mature individuals are thought to exist.

Pe Banana

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Ensete ventricosum
Common name: Ethiopian banana
Conservation status: Not yet assessed

This is a staple food crop in Ethiopia, and also makes a popular addition to many gardens.

Pe Ginko

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Ginkgo biloba
Common name: Maidenhair tree
Conservation status: Endangered

The ginkgo is common across the world in urban environments and botanic gardens, but the tree is threatened in the wild in its native China.

Pe Bulb Extinct

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Caliphruriu tenera
Common name: Amazon lily
Conservation status: Critically Endangered Possibly Extinct

Farewell, forever? This bulbous herb with small white flowers has not been recorded in the wild since 1853. The Amazon lily may now be extinct.

Pe Cycad

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Encephalartos altensteinii
Common name: Eastern Cape giant cycad
Conservation status: Vulnerable

Native to South Africa, the number of these enormous cycads has declined by more than 30 percent in the past 50 years. Cycads are among the most threatened plants in the world.

Pe Snowdrops

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Galanthus nivalis
Common name: snowdrop
Conservation status: Near Threatened

This flower has been widely naturalized, but during the last decade its native distribution has been reduced.

Pe Dwarf Palm

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(Image credit: RBG Kew.)


Dypsis brevicaulis
Common name: dwarf palm
Conservation status: Critically Endangered

Endemic to Madagascar, fewer than 50 mature individuals known to occur wild.

Pe Helena Olive

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(Image credit: Rebecce Cirns-Wick/RBG Kew.)


Nesiota elliptica
Common name: St. Helena olive
Conservation staus: Extinct

In 2002, the St. Helena olive disappeared in the wild. The species held on for a little while, as one cultivated individual; eventually the single living specimen died. Now this species is totally gone.