Feds toast recovery of a once-endangered Colorado plant

By Michael Doyle | 03/19/2024 01:30 PM EDT

The North Park phacelia was listed in 1982.

North Park phacelia, a plant with purple flowers.

A North Park phacelia plant, which grows in Colorado. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr

The North Park phacelia may be obscure, but it’s getting its star turn as an apparent Endangered Species Act success story.

Deemed on the brink of extinction when it was designated as endangered in 1982, the Colorado plant has since rebounded with a population estimated to be 10 times its earlier size. The Fish and Wildlife Service now proposes to remove it from the ESA list of protected species.

“This striking, purple-flowering plant endemic to Colorado in Jackson, Larimer, and Grand counties has shown remarkable progress in population size and distribution since the original listing under the Endangered Species Act,” the Fish and Wildlife Service stated in the Federal Register.


When first listed as endangered, the short-lived perennial numbered about 2,760 plants scattered across two populations. They were thought to be threatened by off-highway vehicle use, livestock grazing and potential energy development. The ESA listing did not include designation of critical habitat.