17 Previously “Extinct” European Plant Species Brought Out Of Extinction

According to the IUCN Red List Guidelines: “Taxation is abolished if there no reasonable suspicion that the last person died.” However, a recent study published in Nature Plants identified 17 species of plants locally in Europe that were previously considered extinct, which have now been brought out of this category. Researchers have reviewed the location of 36 endangered European plant species in scientific publications and sources such as the Red List – discovering that 17 should actually list.

Of these, four species rediscovered. The authors write in the research paper “it is noteworthy that plant revisions have occurred in a region of the world that has been well-known and widely researched by thousands of botanists and civic scientists.” One of the rediscovered species on the island of Velika Palagruža in Croatia is Ornithogalum visianicum. The authors say that for this species, “legal protection and emergency pre-situation and in-situ conservation measures are required.” Two species previously thought to be extinct have found in plant gardens, subject to off-site conservation before they become extinct.

They should therefore reclassify as extinct in the wild. Surprisingly, in many cases organizations are completely unaware that they are hosting specimens of endangered species in their natural habitat, so it does not diminish the responsibility they have for these plants. One is the Armeria arcuate, a native species of Portugal, specimens of which now live in the University Utrecht Botanic Gardens. The second species is Hieracium hethlandiae, a native plant of the Shetland Islands of Scotland. The species now cultivated by the Shetland Amenity Trust of Lerwick and recently reintroduced into the wild.

Seventeen species that considered extinct have been reconstructed based on progress in the field of tariffs – which actually found to be synonymous with other species – as well as corrections of previous misconceptions of wildlife. 

While this is probably less exciting than the amazing discovery of a species that we thought was lost forever, it is still significant in conservation efforts. Species that are no longer a concern will no longer need to conserved, as resources may relocated elsewhere. The authors say that species rediscovered in wildlife plants or plant gardens “should be included in the fast track conservation framework to avoid instant extinction.” These include legal protection and population mapping and monitoring, implementation of protected areas or micro reserves.

Another measure is a pre-situation collection – the origin of species rediscovered in plant gardens – such as seed banking and collection of living specimens. However, they stressed that this should done gradually over a period of several years to reduce the pressure on the already rare wild population. Although this study is a rare ray of conservation, the extinction of plant species should still be taken seriously, the authors said, adding, “The list of endangered species will be longer if several plants are directly threatened in Europe. It will not stop soon.”