Rare plant blooms for the first time since 2004

A rare and threatened plant called the Price's potato bean (Apios priceana) has bloomed on its only protected site in Tupelo, Mississippi, for the first time in five years. The plant grows wild on less than 25 sites. The five-acre Coonewah Creek Chalk Bluffs, owned by the Nature Conservancy, is the only place in the world where the species is actually protected.

Price's potato bean has "exacting habitat requirements," according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and has suffered greatly from clearcutting and trampling by cattle.

Since the species is only listed as "threatened," the Endangered Species Act does not require the FWS to set aside critical habitat for its preservation. Hopefully the preservation efforts private organizations can save this and other species that lack government protections, but the rarer this plant gets, the slimmer its chances for survival.

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