ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — A rare flowering plant found only in one location in southern New Mexico should receive federal protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday.
The agency proposes to include in the list bog brush as endangered. Also known as the brilliant Indian paintbrush, the plant’s bright yellowish flowers produce nectar and support pollinators.
Historically, the plant was native to the grasslands of Hidalgo County in southwestern New Mexico, and used to grow in sites in the Sierra Madre Occidental region, which spans parts of the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Durango.
The biologists listed drought, disturbed water flows, forest fires, overgrazing and a warming climate as some of the threats to the species.
The Center for Biological Diversity supported the proposed listing, saying the plant has an extremely limited known distribution and the last confirmed location in Mexico was in 1985.
“The Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of many other plant and animal species,” said Michael Robinson, a leading conservation advocate for the center. “In this case, the bill will help save a unique flower that is part of what makes the Southwest not only botanically interesting but also beautiful.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service will accept public comments on the proposal through August 7.
If the agency goes ahead with the listing, then it will need to develop a recovery plan for the plants. That will likely require reintroducing the brush to other habitats should its current known population disappear.
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