Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 8, 2019

Contact: Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449,

Protections Sought for Two Rare Plants in Nevada's Clark County

Wildflowers Threatened by Urbanization, Mining

LAS VEGAS— The Center for Biological Diversity today notified the state of Nevada that it will seek federal endangered species protection for two rare wildflowers with highly restricted habitats.

The Las Vegas bear poppy (Arctomecon californica) is threatened by gypsum mining, unmanaged off-highway vehicle recreation and illegal cattle grazing. The white-margined beardtongue (Penstemon albomarginatus) is threatened by Clark County’s plans to privatize public lands south of Las Vegas for subdivisions and industrial sprawl, as well as other factors.

“These precious rare plants are indicators of the health of our unique Mojave Desert ecosystem, and they’re in big trouble,” said Patrick Donnelly, the Center’s Nevada state director. “Mining and urban sprawl threaten to crush these beautiful wildflowers out of existence. They must be protected before it’s too late.”

The Las Vegas bear poppy has fuzzy leaves and delicate yellow flowers. It grows in soils with high gypsum content, primarily on public land surrounding Lake Mead, including in Gold Butte National Monument. It also grows in isolated patches in Arizona. The Center has previously petitioned to protect the plant’s pollinator, the Mojave poppy bee.

The white-margined beardtongue has abundant pink flowers and unique white-fringed leaves and grows in wind-blown sandy soils. It stabilizes low sand dunes known as coppice dunes, which provide nesting and burrowing sites for wildlife. While it grows in isolated populations in California, Arizona and Nevada’s Nye County, the most robust and essential population grows in and around Clark County’s Hidden Valley, which the county has proposed privatizing for development.

“The Endangered Species Act is the world’s most successful way to prevent extinction,” said Donnelly. “These vulnerable, beautiful wildflowers are essential to the ecosystems supporting Clark County’s iconic desert wildlife, including the desert tortoise and the desert bighorn sheep. Protecting these plants as endangered species will help ensure a vibrant, healthy desert for future generations.”

The Endangered Species Act requires that states be notified 30 days before petitions for listing are submitted. The Center will submit the petitions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this spring.


Nevada rare plant map

Map by Kara Clauser, Center for Biological Diversity. Flower images by Sonie Sampson and Patrick Donnelly. Images are available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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