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TPWD News Release — Feb. 26, 2008

TPWD, Nature Conservancy Experts Collaborate on Book of Rare Plants

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Since 1987, when Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanists published their first in-house summary of Texas’ threatened plants, more than 225 species have been identified and described as endangered, imperiled, or declining. Because most of these plants are too rare to be mentioned, much less pictured, in standard field guides, only a handful of botanists have known what these plants or their habitats look like.

The 656-page, user-friendly guide, complete with 247 photographs, 215 line drawings, and 234 color maps, describes the officially listed, candidate, and species-of-concern plants in Texas. Individual accounts include information on distribution, habitat, physical description, flowering time, federal and state status, similar species, and published references. The authors also provide brief introductory chapters on the state’s vegetation regions; the history of plant conservation in Texas; federal, state, and other ranking methods; threats to native plants; recovery methods; and reporting guidelines.

With the growing recognition that native plants support wildlife, conserve water, promote biodiversity, and exemplify our natural heritage, we must also recognize the need for greater understanding of endangered plants, the threats to their existence, and the importance of their survival. Rare Plants of Texas is highly recommended not only for professional botanists and advanced researchers, conservationists, students, range managers, and others concerned with preserving the ecosystems of Texas and the Southwest, but for those who appreciate the unique floral backdrop of the region and want to better understand the landscape in which they live.

"Rare Plants of Texas is a major contribution to knowledge about Texas plants. The detailed information about specific rare plants, excellent line drawings, and extensive photographs make this book indispensable to anyone wishing to learn about the numerous rare plants in the state," said George M. Diggs Jr., Ph.D., an Austin College professor of biology. "Further, anyone generally interested in Texas botany or conservation will find the carefully done introduction extremely valuable, with topics ranging from the natural regions of Texas to the history of plant conservation in the state"

JACKIE M. POOLE is a botanist in the Wildlife Diversity Program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She has been working with the rare plants of Texas since 1982. WILLIAM R. CARR, a botanist with The Nature Conservancy of Texas, conducts numerous field surveys and inventories for the conservation of threatened habitat. DANA M. PRICE, formerly a botanist at TPWD with experience in prairie ecology and economic botany, now works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. JASON R. SINGHURST, a botanist and phytogeographer at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, manages GIS and remote sensing land cover classification projects and conducts status surveys of rare plants in Texas.

Rare Plants of Texas is available at stores or direct from Texas A&M University Press (800-826-8911 M-F 8-5 CT; secure online ordering at www.tamu.edu/upress).

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