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Rare Care
The Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program is dedicated to conserving Washington's native rare plants through methods including ex situ conservation, rare plant monitoring, research, reintroduction, and education.


The dates are set for 2014 monitoring, seed collecting and navigation training in Seattle and Spokane and volunteer forums in Walla Walla, Wenatchee and White Salmon. Apply now to be a Rare Care Rare Plant Monitor.

In Rare Care's fall/winter 2013 newsletter: great finds of 2013, a Packera hunt, fruits of 100-degree monitoring at Hanford Reach and a field researcher's perspective on blue-eyed grass.

Take a look at Rare Care's 2013 monitoring and seed collecting/banking annual reports for findings and highlights of the past year.

View the latest coloring page. Ever seen a flower that looks like an elephant?.

What do we care about?

Native plant species in Washington are being threatened by rapidly-growing human population and development. Currently, 320 plant species are considered to be either sensitive, threatened, or endangered in the state. While it is always preferable to conserve and protect species by preserving their native habitat (otherwise known as in situ or on-site conservation), there is an increasing realization that ex situ, or off-site, conservation is also needed. In off-site conservation efforts, seeds are collected from wild plant populations and maintained in seed banks or botanical gardens for research purposes and long-term conservation of the species.


What are we doing about it?

The Washington Rare Plant Care & Conservation Program (Rare Care) at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens has established the first plant conservation program focused exclusively on vascular plants designated as rare in Washington State. Incorporating both in situ and ex situ methods of conservation, we are collecting plant material from wild populations and growing them in the greenhouse for eventual reintroduction into native sites. We also monitor rare plant populations located throughout Washington. Goals of the program include the following:

Picture of Silene seelyi
Silene seelyi is found on basalt cliffs
of the Wenatchee Mountains.

  • Collection, storage, and propagation of seeds of rare plants.
  • Reintroduction of rare and endangered plants to native habitat.
  • Monitoring of rare plant populations throughout Washington.
  • Conservation research of rare species native to Washington.
  • Training of students and volunteers to be involved in all aspects of the program.
  • Membership in a national network of institutions working to preserve biological diversity (the Center for Plant Conservation).
  • Creating educational materials and activities.


Member Institution:
Center for Plant Conservation

The Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program is made possible by gifts and grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Pendleton and Elisabeth Miller Charitable Foundation, The Bullitt Foundation, The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, The Mountaineers Foundation, Deupree Family Foundation, The Northwest Horticultural Society, Seattle Garden Club, Tacoma Garden Club, Lake Washington Garden Club, private organizations, and individuals from all over the Pacific Northwest.

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UW Botanic Gardens | School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
College of the Environment | University of Washington

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Washington Rare Plant Care & Conservation, UW Botanic Gardens, 3501 NE 41st Street
Box 354115, Seattle, WA 98195-4115 | 206.616.0780 | rarecare@uw.edu

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