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Featured Plants in Washington

Washington has more than 3,100 vascular plant species, ranging from giant conifers to diminutive annuals. Of those, the Washington Natural Heritage Program has classified more than 350 as either Endangered, Threatened, or Sensitive.

Bitterroot - Bitterroot is a common spring and summer plant in the dry, arid landscapes of Eastern Washington.  Color can range from almost white to many shades of pink.  The flowers are at ground level and appear to just pop out of the rocky terrain.  

Balsamroot - Balsamroot is a common perennial plant in the prairie lands of Washington.  There are several species of balsamroot, all are members of the aster family, sunflower tribe.  

Wenatchee Mountains Checker-Mallow – The Wenatchee Mountains Checker-Mallow is listed as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Its global range is limited to an area of approximately 30 square miles in the Wenatchee Mountains of central Washington. It grows in wet meadows and adjacent uplands with an open Douglas-fir and Ponderosa pine dominated forest. Key factors in the decline of this species have been hydrologic alteration to the wet meadows and fire suppression leading to altered forest community composition. Research is currently underway examining the impacts of weevils that infest the inflorescences.

Howellia – Howellia is listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as threatened. It is an aquatic annual species that grows primarily in ponds that are seasonal or that have a significant draw-down during the summer months. It is the only member of its genus. The species is known from northwestern Montana, northern Idaho, Washington, Oregon and northern California. Many of the wetlands within its historic range have undergone significant alterations, including draining and colonization by reed canarygrass.

Plant Profiles

  • Golden Paintbrush

    Listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, golden paintbrush is currently known to occur in about one dozen locations that range from the southern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia to just south of Olympia, Washington.

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Quick Facts

Washington Natural Heritage Program
Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 47014
Olympia, WA 98504-7014

Contact Information

Phone: (360) 902-1667
Fax: (360) 902-1789
Email: natural_heritage_program@dnr.wa.gov


Founded in: 1977

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