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Special Plants of New Jersey

This list is a result of many years of collaborative effort of individuals, organizations, and institutions interested in the preservation of New Jersey's flora. Information presented in this report was compiled by David B. Snyder using the Natural Heritage Database.

The purpose of this list is to provide the most up to date information on the status of New Jersey's endangered and plant species of concern and to document the precarious existence of many of our native plants. It is hoped that this list will be used to facilitate the conservation and protection of New Jersey's endangered and plant species of concern.

In 1989 the New Jersey Legislature declared that "plant species have medicinal, genetic, ecological, educational, and aesthetic value to the citizens of New Jersey" and directed the Division of Parks and Forestry in the Department of Environmental Protection to develop and adopt a list of plant species that are endangered in New Jersey (Endangered Plant Species List Act, N.J.S.A. 13:1B-15.151 et seq.). The Act defined an endangered plant species as "any native plant species whose survival in the State or the nation is in jeopardy..." Rules detailing procedures and setting criteria by which plant species would be determined as state endangered were formulated, and a list of state endangered plants was then proposed (N.J.A.C. 7:5C-1.1 et seq.). The Endangered Plant Species List was adopted on June 4, 1990 and most recently revised January 17, 1995.

The Department of Environmental Protection, through its Natural Heritage Database, is responsible for monitoring the status of many additional plant species that are not included on the official Endangered Plant Species List. As codified in the Endangered Plant Species rules (N.J.A.C. 7:5C-3.1), this list of Plant Species of Concern includes those species not listed as endangered but whose status are monitored by the Natural Heritage Database. By combining the lists of Endangered Plant Species and Plant Species of Concern, this present list includes all plant species that are considered to be of conservation concern in New Jersey. Taxa are listed alphabetically by scientific name, followed by a common name and codes indicating its global and state rank, federal, state, or other status. These codes are explained in Appendix I.

Plant species included on the following list differ in their degree of rarity and immediacy of threats to existing populations. A number of the species on this list are rare throughout their range (a few of these species are known only from New Jersey). The conservation of these species is a global priority, and unless protected, it is possible that some of these endangered plants may become extinct. The majority of the remaining species on this list are more frequent elsewhere in their range, but rare in New Jersey. This is largely because New Jersey is at the geographical limit of their range or because suitable habitat is either rare or has been destroyed or greatly altered through human actions. The conservation of these species is therefore of high state significance.

This listing of endangered and special concern species is dynamic: species new to the state are occasionally discovered, historically ranked species are rediscovered, and species are determined to be rarer or more frequent than previously documented. Existing populations may be reduced in size by disease, predation, or unknown causes. Species are lost because their critical habitats are destroyed or irreversibly altered by direct or indirect human actions, such as changes in hydrology, fire suppression, and invasion by aggressive, nonnative species. Consequentially, the list will continue to change as new data are obtained through ongoing research and field inventories.

Users of this list are encouraged to report the location of any species included on it, as well as to recommend additions, deletions, or status changes. In most instances, reports documenting significant habitat for a species will be incorporated into the computerized portion of the Natural Heritage Database. Reports on species ranked S3 that do not have official State or Federal status may not be initially computerized in the Natural Heritage Database, but will be used when the status of the species is reassessed. To report locations for any the listed species, please use the Rare Species Reporting form.

Nomenclature of this list follows (with a few exceptions) Kartesz & Kartesz's (1980) A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland or Gleason & Cronquist's (1991) Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, second edition. Nomenclature for sphagnum mosses largely follows Andrus' (1980) The Sphagnaceae of New York State. Because the primary objective of the list of Endangered and Plant Species of Special Concern is to identify New Jersey's declining plant species, some practical decisions have been made, primarily for clarity of communication. Infraspecific names generally have not been included unless more than one infraspecific taxa occurs in New Jersey, each having a different level of conservation concern. Taxa for which there exists reasonable agreement that they are of hybrid origin, have been deleted from the list. In general, Gleason and Cronquist's (1991) nomenclature has been preferred, since this is the only comprehensive regional manual currently available in which new nomenclature is attached to a description of the taxa. Users of this list should be aware that changes in nomenclature have, in some cases, resulted in some very rare New Jersey plants now bearing a name which in earlier manuals are applied to different taxa, some of which are frequent or common in New Jersey.

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2018
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: July 9, 2019

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