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:
Skinner’s Agalinis (Agalinis skinneriana)
Small White Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium candidum)
Slender Bush Clover (Lespedeza virginica)
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)
Pink Milkwort (Polygala incarnata)
Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum incanum)
Virginia Goat’s-rue (Tephrosia virginiana)
Bird’s Foot Violet (Viola pedata)
Endangered in Schedule 1 of SARA and Schedule 3 of ESA, 2007:
Gattinger’s 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)
Hill’s 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)
Riddell’s Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii)
For further information visit the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk website at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/index.html
Canada Species at Risk Act website at: www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca/.
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.