Which Everglades Plants Are Endangered?
Of the 164 total plant species found in the Florida Everglades, the state of Florida considers 113 plant species as endangered, 47 species as threatened, and 4 species as commercially exploited. This means that almost one out of every four native plant species in the Everglades are in trouble! Five native plant species can potentially be federally listed soon, and two species in the Florida Everglades have already been listed. Among these listed native plant species, one species is considered as endangered and one as threatened. As more data is collected, this number fluctuates occasionally. Nonetheless, 66 natives plant species in the Florida Everglades are seriously endangered in South Florida, such as trees, sedges, orchids, grasses, ferns, vines, and shrubs.
The Everglades is home to various types of terrain, each creating environments for various plants to grow and live. Endangered plants of the rocky pinelands and hardwood hammocks include:
• brittle thatch palm (Thrinax morrissii)
• Buccaneer palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii)
• Florida thatch palm (Thrinax parvitolia)
• Krug's holly (Ilex krugiana)
• Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum sanctum)
• Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella)
• Silver thatch palm (Coccothrinax argentata)
• Tree cactus (Cereus robinii)
Orchids in the Everglades
For a long time, orchids have been the center of attention. Before regions of the Everglades became protected, many people in the past visited these zones to steal plants, to add them to their personal collection, or to sell them for their own profit. Endangered plant species were repeatedly targeted due to their value and for the distinction of being the only individual to own them. Unfortunately, this collection is thought to have directly contributed to the extinction of at least three orchid species that were once present in the Everglades. These plant species losses in the Everglades are irreparable.
Why Are Plants Becoming Endangered?
Endangered plant species of the Everglades are confronting some of the exact same threats that the endangered animal’s species in the Everglades are facing. These threats include humans, invasive species, and increasing sea levels.
Humans are playing a large role in the endangerment of plants in the Everglades. For example, George D. Gann, chief conservation strategist of The Institute for Regional Conservation, does not believe that is not necessary to lobby for plants. Instead, he wants to focus on getting animals in the Everglades notices, especially to increase funding for the control of pythons.
In addition, humans are placing endangered plants from the Everglades into their own botanical gardens. According to Steven Woodmansee, an environmental consultant and former president of the Florida Native Plant Society's Miami-Dade chapter, this is definitely not the same as keeping these plants in their native habitats. Moreover, manmade canals and construction are causing modifications in the Everglades' natural drainage system, which ends up hurting the plants.
Also, due to invasive species and rising sea levels, the habitats in the Everglades are changing and endangered plants can be wiped out. In fact, some areas located in the coastal zones of the Everglades, such as Cape Sable, are on the border of becoming a different habitat since they are near the ocean. At Everglades Holiday Park, we work hard to show visitors and residents of South Florida the beauty of the Everglade’s plants and animals, while working hard to maintain the safety and health of our environment. Learn more about our airboat tours, live animal encounters, live alligator shows, and how you can protect the Everglades! Book your tickets today!