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Three Colorado wildflowers added to the endangered species list


Effective today, three rare Colorado plants have been added to the list of species protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Both DeBeque Phacelia (Phacelia submutica), and Parachute Penstemon (Penstemon debilis) are listed as threatened while the Pagosa skyrocket (Ipomopsis polyantha) is listed as endangered. DeBeque phacelia and Parachute penstemon are restricted to shale slopes on South Shale Ridge and the Roan Plateau in Western Colorado. Energy development and exploration is the biggest threat to these species. The Pagosa skyrocket is restricted to two known populations near the town of Pagosa Springs where it faces threats from urban development.

The Research & Conservation department at Denver Botanic Gardens is working to help protect each of these species through our seed collection efforts. We have collected seed of DeBeque phacelia and Parachute penstemon in the last two years and are targeting the Pagosa skyrocket for seed collection in 2012.

To read more about the listing see the Center for Native Ecosystems or to read the official ruling see the US Federal Register.


Frank Mahady

Exceptional work. When I saw this announcement, I was reminded of my visit this summer to Dos Chappell Nature Center on Mt. Evans Road. Your gardens demonstrate preservation of plants which are at the same time exceptionally hardy and very fragile. My Son has just completed renovation work on an older home in Evergreen. Because of governmental requirements, he was compelled to excavate for a new septic system. Now he has several large areas which are rough graded and devoid of any vegetation. I intended to purchase Colorado wildflower seeds to beautify the area and stablize the surface to prevent erosion. My online search brought me to "Colorado" wildflowers which are produced in Florida. Before I introduce non-native plants, I recalled your gardens on Mt Evans. Could you guide me in selecting appropriate plants and instructions for seeding, maintaining wildflowers? I trust you have or can direct me to the source of native seeds? I did not notice same on your website. I felt since you did an exceptional job in securing protection for these three plants, you might be the best source for the native seeds and provide guidance to start and maintain a native wildflower garden on his property. It is very rocky soil on a steep slope which faces east and south. Very little moisture. Irrigation not really feasible. Your guidance and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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