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Rare and Endangered Plants

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Rare and Endangered Plants Program

A bright pink flower

Kuenzler’s Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus fendleri var. kuenzleri)

A field of sunflowers

Pecos Sunflower (Helianthus paradoxus)

A white flower with prickly stem

Sacramento Prickly Poppy (Argemone pleiacantha spp. pinnatisecta)

New Mexico has the fourth-highest plant diversity of any U.S. state, with more than 235 rare and endangered plant species and 109 species that occur nowhere else in the world.

The Forestry Division has statutory responsibility for the State Endangered Plant Species List. Section 75-6-1 NMSA 1978 directs the Division to establish a program to promote conservation of listed endangered plant species, research, inventory, monitor, educate, maintain habitat of these species and further investigate all plant species in the state for the purpose of establishing a list of endangered plant species (NMAC). The Forestry Division gathers information relating to population abundance, distribution, habitat requirements, threats, limiting factors, and other biological and ecological data to determine the status of an endangered species, to develop conservation measures necessary for the species’ survival. The Endangered Plant Program is primarily federally funded through Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act for endangered plant research and management. Current and past project funding includes:

  • Status surveys and reports on sensitive, proposed, candidate and listed species
  • Writing recovery plans
  • Writing 5-year reviews
  • Coordinating and carrying-out recovery actions
  • Long term population trend monitoring of endangered plants
  • Resolving taxonomic questions
  • Researching habitat requirements and population demographics
  • Educational projects

New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy

The New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy is an integral part of the State of New Mexico’s Endangered Plant Program, the only program within the state government that focuses on rare plant conservation and operates statewide.

The Strategy is focused on 235 rare and endangered plant species in New Mexico, including 109 species that only occur in New Mexico. The overall goal of the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy is to protect and conserve New Mexico’s rare and endangered plant species and their habitats through collaborative partnerships between stakeholders and interested parties to aid and improve the conservation and management of rare plant species and to avoid federal listing.

Useful Links for Rare Plant Information:

CPC Best Plant Conservation Practices to Support Species Survival in the Wild.


Center for Plant Conservation


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. New Mexico Ecological Field Office. Threatened and Endangered Species


NatureServe Explorer


Navajo Natural Heritage Program


New Mexico Natural Heritage Program


New Mexico Native Plant Society


NM Rare Plant Conservation Strategy Rare Plants

New Mexico Rare Plants website


New Mexico State University Herbarium


Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEINet)


University of New Mexico Herbarium. Museum of Southwestern Biology


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Program

Bright pink flower hanging downward

Holy Ghost ipomopsis (Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus)

Cacti with pale yellow blooms on dry ground

Mesa Verde cactus (Sclerocactus mesae-verdae)

Ball-shaped cactus with pale pink blossoms

Sneed’s pincushion cactus (Escobaria sneedii var. sneedii)

Bright golden blooms

Golden Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens)