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.