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Environment and Conservation
October 1, 2010

Rare Plants Added Under Province's Endangered Species Act

Three rare plants in Newfoundland and Labrador have been listed as endangered under the province's Endangered Species Act. The Northern Bog Aster (Symphyotrichum boreale), Rattlesnake Root (Prenanthes racemosa) and Mackenzie's Sweetvetch (Hedysarum boreale subsp. mackenzii) have been given protection under the Act.

The three plant species were listed as endangered, following assessments by the Species Status Advisory Committee (SSAC). The committee is recognized under the Endangered Species Act as the provincial body that provides listing advice on species of conservation concern occurring in this province.

"We have accepted the assessments by the committee to list these species, as they base their recommendations on the best traditional and scientific knowledge available," said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. "The criteria they use to make assessments is similar to that employed nationally and internationally, and is recognized as providing an objective assessment of the status of a species."

Both the Northern Bog Aster and the Rattlesnake Root are perennial plants and belong to the composite (Aster) family. The only known location of both these species in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is at Wild Cove, within the municipal boundary of Corner Brook. The flower heads of the Rattlesnake Root are characterized by drooping, elongated clusters of white, pink or purple flowers. The flowers of the Northern Bog Aster are white and arranged like that of a daisy. Both plants have seeds that are similar to that of a dandelion.

Mackenzie's Sweetvetch is a perennial plant and is a member of the pea family. The irregular shaped, pea-like purple flowers are sweet scented and occur in small clusters. In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mackenzie's Sweetvetch is found at two sites located on the west coast of the Port au Port Peninsula. Its habitat is restricted to open limestone barrens.

"The legal listing of these species is the first step in the recovery process," said Minister Johnson. "Equally important are the establishment of a recovery team and the preparation of a recovery plan. The recovery team will be made up of researchers, industry representatives, community representatives, and wildlife managers familiar with the species."

With the new listings, the total number of species, subspecies and populations that are listed under the province's Endangered Species Act is 35 − 13 endangered, 9 threatened and 13 vulnerable species.

For more information on endangered species, please call 709-637-2026.

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Media contact:

Melony O'Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928

2010 10 01                                                    10:30 a.m.

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