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Prairie Plant Species at Risk


Status and Protection

There are twenty-one plant species that are regulated as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern within schedules of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA, 2007).  Plant species considered Endangered and Threatened receive protection in Ontario under the ESA, 2007 and in Canada under the federal SARA. Protection prohibits actions such as killing, harming, possessing, selling or trading of the plants.

Endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA and Schedule 1 of ESA, 2007:


Skinnerís Agalinis (Agalinis skinneriana)

Small White Ladyís Slipper (Cypripedium candidum)

Slender Bush Clover (Lespedeza virginica)

Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)

Pink Milkwort (Polygala incarnata)

Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum incanum)

Virginia Goatís-rue (Tephrosia virginiana)

Birdís Foot Violet (Viola pedata)


Endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA and Schedule 3 of ESA, 2007:


Gattingerís Agalinis (Agalinis gattingeri)

White Prairie Gentian (Gentiana alba)

Purple Twayblade (Liparis liliifolia)

Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea)

Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)

Threatened in Schedule 1 of SARA and Endangered in Schedule 1 of ESA, 2007

Western Silvery Aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum)

Threatened in Schedule 1 of SARA and Schedule 4 of ESA, 2007


Colicroot (Aletris farinosa)

Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia)

Hillís Thistle (Cirsium hillii)

Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Willowleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum praealtum)


Special concern in Schedule 1 of SARA and Schedule 5 of ESA, 2007.


Climbing Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera)

Riddellís Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii


For further information visit the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk website at:


Canada Species at Risk Act website at:



Prairie plant Species at Risk occur primarily in Southwestern Ontario as well as the edge of the Ontario-Manitoba border. Many of the prairie plant species at risk are found more commonly in the Midwestern United States and reach their northeastern range limits in southwestern Ontario.


These plants flourish in open full sun habitats such as tallgrass prairies with sandy soils. The plants can also be found on sandy dunes near lake shores, in swales, fens, meadows, clearings, edges of meadow marshes, open thickets, in openings of savannahs and woodlands and in anthropogenically disturbed sand pits, railroads, roadsides and abandoned agricultural fields.


Current threats to the Ontario populations include natural succession by woody vegetation, lack of fire, invasive plant species, hybridization, erosion, trampling caused by ATV use and hiking, illegal collection of plants for transplanting to gardens, cottage, road, and agricultural expansion.

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