Fall and Fallow


Extinct Plants

Should we care if some unknown flower or plant, in some unknown forest, in a land far, far away is endangered, or worse yet extinct? We should care a lot, because that plant or flower is a link in an ecosystem, and now that it is no longer there, the ecosystem will be disrupted.  The extinction of a flower leads to the disappearance of the bee that pollinated that flower. The small animals that eat the seeds, flower, or plant also lose their food source, and disappear, because their habitat is destroyed. The larger animals that feed on these small animals will no longer have that prey and will move to a location where they can still find food. Humans who hunt large animals for food will be forced to migrate in search of food, or to change what they eat. This is a very simple illustration showing that the loss of a single flower causes a ripple effect that makes its way up the food chain, until it eventually affects humans, who are at the top.

When plant life goes extinct, there is one less flower or plant to process greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The cumulative effect as more plants disappear is an increase in greenhouse gases. The increase in greenhouse gases leads to increased heat being trapped in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming. Global warming in turn leads to extreme weather conditions, which disrupt plant life and human life.  So, while we may not readily see the link with unfamiliar flowers or plants, and feel disconnected to their fate, it is in the best interest of the planet that we work to protect plant and animal life. Plants and flowers found in our neighborhood are not exempt from this fate, and they too can become endangered or extinct. A search of the International Union for Conservation of Nature database, the 1964 Red List of Threatened Plants, https://www.iucnredlist.org/ yielded the following results on the status of some common plants.

Scientific nameCommon nameGlobal Status
Helianthus annuusSunflowerStable
Echinacea tennesseensisTennessee Purple ConeflowerLeast concern                   
Echinacea purpurea laevigataSmooth ConeflowerNear threatened
Schlumbergera bridgesiiChristmas cactusIndividual species are reported threatened
Schlumbergera kautskyiChristmas cactusDecreasing-threatened
Schlumbergera opuntioidesChristmas cactusDecreasing-threatened
Schlumbergera russellianaChristmas cactusDecreasing-threatened
Schlumbergera truncataChristmas cactusDecreasing-threatened
GardeniaCape JessamineIndividual species are reported threatened
Gardenia brighamiiNanu, forest gardenia, Hawaiian gardeniaCritically endangered
Impatiens Individual species are reported threatened
Impatiens gordoniiSeychelles Busy LizzieCritically endangered
HibiscusRose mallowIndividual species are reported threatened, decreasing or critically endangered
Syringa josikaea Hungarian lilacDecreasing

For more information on how to become involved in plant conservation, visit https://saveplants.org/       


https://m.facebook.com/cnn/videos/its-so-hot-in-arizona-that-beehives-are-melting/843711073752549/ https://www.newsweek.com/wild-bees-are-dying-and-ecosystem-collapse-will-follow-nobodys-taking-notice-1232793