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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - April 19, 2006

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants
Title: Endangered species of trillium on disturbed soil in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in Rochester New York, near a gully/ravine by woodland. Quite a gem. Anyway here's my question and concern. In the past 35 years there have been trillium in small "pockets" or single standing on a Northern facing wooded slope. Someone has bought the land and built on it. This Northern slope is now the dumping ground for tree & plant debris. The trillium try to grow, but very sparsely, under this vegetative debris (leaves, immature tree cuttings and stumps, etc.). I'm concerned because from my understanding the trillium is a rare species. ? My parents' neighbor is respectful, but hasn't seen the change in the landscape from my perspective. Anyway, what do you think? Should I mind my own business, or is the trillium's habitat rare enough to do something about? I appreciate your response!

ANSWER:

Six species of Trillium are on the list of State Protected Plants in New York. These are:

Listed as Endangered
Nodding wakerobin (Trillium flexipes)
Toadshade (Trillium sessile)

Listed as Exploitably Vulnerable
Whip-poor-will flower (Trillium cernuum)
Red trillium (Trillium erectum)
White trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
Painted trillium (Trillium undulatum)

You can learn more about the laws and regulations for Protected Native Plants from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The USDA Forest Service provides information on Threatened and Endangered Species and the Private Landowner.

If possible, you should determine which of these species grow in your ravine and then contact the New York State Program Coordinator for the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Program to see what options you might have for protecting the habitat of the trilliums..
 

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