Despite all the snow Vermont collects in the winter, the melting snow reveals that the state is home to a plethora of plants. According to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are more than 2,800 species of plants in the Green Mountain State.
Among that number are 71 threatened plant species in the state, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s February 2022 list: Endangered and Threatened Plants of Vermont.pdf (vtfishandwildlife.com).
Keep an eye out for plant species that are endangered in the state this summer and help protect these plants during your recreations in Vermont.
Protect endangered plants
There are several easy ways to protect endangered plants in Vermont. The Endangered Species Coalition recommends avoiding pesticides and herbicides to protect plant life, as endangered species may be found in the area and therefore be affected by it.
The Coalition also suggests creating pollinator habitat in yards to promote the growth and health of native plant species. A pollinator habitat is a habitat where insects such as butterflies and bees pollinate vegetation, which promotes the survival of native species, including endangered plants. The Endangered Species Coalition also recommends avoiding planting invasive species and removing them when possible to promote native growth.
Knowing which species are endangered helps enormously in protecting plants. Here are some of the endangered plants to be aware of in Vermont:
Champlain’s marram grass (Ammophila Breviligulata ssp. EChamplainensis)
This herbaceous plant is found along the sandy beaches of Lake Champlain on the Vermont and New York side, according to the New York Natural Heritage Program. The plant’s tall, narrow leaves extend from the central roots along its beach habitat, according to the New York Natural Heritage Program.
The Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department is working with members of the Natural Heritage Inventory team to protect Champlain wheatgrass along the lakeshore by removing invasive species that invade it. surround.
Needle-thorn Rose (Rosa Acicularis)
It’s easy to mistake this endangered plant for another flower in the garden, but this New England shrub is endangered in Vermont. The rose plant, also known as Prickly Rose, grows in rocky areas and has thorns along the stem, according to the Native Plant Trust. The shrub itself can grow to about 10 feet tall, making this endangered plant easier to spot, according to the World of Flowering Plants.
Alpine Woodsia (Woodsia Alpina)
This fern is found only in cliffs in Maine and Vermont, fitting its colloquial nickname of northern cliff fern, according to the Native Plant Trust. Hikers are most likely to encounter this endangered fern on the cliffs of Vermont’s peaks, and recognizing this rare plant will help protect it from damage this summer.
The leaves of this fern have two to three lobes, according to Minnesota Wildflowers, which can be helpful in identifying this endangered plant among other common ferns such as fiddleheads, which nearly take over Vermont in the spring.
Pine Drops (Pterospora Andromedea)
This woodland plant is found primarily in the western United States with sections in the northeast as well. This red plant is listed as endangered in Vermont, New York and Wisconsin, according to the US Forest Service. The plant is relatively easy to spot in wooded areas due to its height, and it blooms around mid-summer, according to the Forest Service.
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains an up-to-date list of threatened and endangered plants in the state, which can be found here: Endangered and Threatened Species | Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife (vtfishandwildlife.com).
Kate O’Farrell is a reporter for the Burlington Free Press. You can contact her at [email protected]