In the quiet of a Missouri cemetery, an orchid is growing. And that’s exciting news to people who watch the disappearance of species.
The greatest number of endangered species in Missouri is not birds, or fish, or mammals. It’s plants.
You and I probably wouldn’t recognize one from another. But the conservation department’s endangered species coordinator, Peggy Horner, knows that Mead’s Milkweed is–for some reason–not reproducing and is thus fading away and that Running Buffalo Clover is down to a few populations and the Small Whorled Pogonia is thought to be gone from our state.
But Horner says there’s a glimmer of hope for one of these plants–the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid. Horner says it had been considered gone. But a conservation biologist found one in a cemetery a few months ago. “We now have one population,” she says.
The conservation department lists 600 kinds of plants and 324 kinds of animals that are “of concern” because of their rarity or because they’re numbers are low or they are declining. The agency already has issued its 20-10 Species and Communities of Conservation Concern Checklist. You can get to it at http://mdc.mo.gov/nathis/endangered/
Hear Bob Priddy’s story: :60 mp3 endspecva
Hear the interview with Peggy Horner about endangered Missouri plants. 8:16 mp3 endspec8