Rare, Threatened and Endangered Plants
The wild plants that form the ecological foundations of the Commonwealth’s ecosystem are impacted by conversion of our natural lands and waters for agriculture, housing, and industry. In addition to loss of habitat, invasive species introduced from elsewhere in the world are contributing to the decline of many of our native species. Threatened and endangered plants are on the leading edge of this decline.
Plant species listed as Pennsylvania Endangered are in danger of extinction throughout most or all of their natural range within this Commonwealth. Plant species which may become endangered within the Commonwealth are listed as Pennsylvania Threatened. Plants found only in restricted geographic areas of the state or in low numbers are classified as Pennsylvania Rare.
Pennsylvania laws for the conservation of native wild plants authorize the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to establish a plant classification system, create permit and license procedures and regulate other activities related to this Commonwealth’s native wild plant management. In addition, the Wild Resources Conservation Act mandated the Wild Resource Conservation Board to establish a comprehensive management plan, with management objectives for Pennsylvania's flora and fauna.
The Pennsylvania Biological Survey-Vascular Plant Technical Committee serves as advisor to the Commonwealth on issues related to the conservation of its native flora. Botanists from colleges and universities, natural history museums, conservation organizations and state and federal agencies provide data, advice and guidance to the DCNR–Bureau of Forestry. Annual review sessions recommend additions to or changes in the status of plants classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened, or rare under state regulations.
The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP) conducts inventories and collects data regarding the Commonwealth's native biological diversity. Information is stored in an integrated data management system consisting of map, manual, and computer files.