Ontario Plant Species-at-Risk

Plant diversity is an integral part of the biological and cultural world around us. Plants form the roots of functioning ecosystems which in turn support all life on earth. We are collaborating on an initiative that aims to use the tools of conservation translocations and monitoring to create viable populations of Ontario plant species-at-risk.

The situation

Plant diversity is being lost at an accelerated rate

Vascular plants account for 26% of all species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Many of these at-risk species occur in southern Canada where pressures resulting from human density are high and often these rare plant populations are isolated from each other by human-created barriers. This prevents plants from dispersing widely and leaves isolated populations vulnerable to local extinction.

Photo Credit: Kirsty McFadyen

Our work

The Wilder Institute has over 20 years of experience working and advising on conservation translocation projects around the world. With this experience, we are providing guidance and training to our partners that will contribute to the success of this initiative.

Plant Propagation & Translocation

This research aims to increase the number and size of populations of at-risk Canadian plant species on protected lands. To accomplish this, researchers will be using the conservation tool of translocation to create new plant populations in suitable habitats within the species’ historical range. This work focuses on:

  • Crooked-stem aster (Symphyotrichum prenanthoides)
  • Wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

This research will also increase our knowledge of the life history and population demographics of some of Canada’s plant species at risk, including:

  • Drooping trillium (Trillium flexipes)
  • Green dragon (Arisaema dracontium) 
  • Green violet (Hybanthus concolor)
  • American gromwell (Lithospermum latifolium) 
  • Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis
  • Spotted wintergreen(Chimaphila maculata)

Our conservation impact

The knowledge gained from this research has the potential to be used in plant translocations across Canada and beyond. It will inform recovery efforts for at-risk plant species in Canada and increase the knowledge and capacity to use translocations as a recovery tool for rare plant species in the future.


Did you know?

The etymology of scientific names can give us clues about what characteristics the plant species has. For example, Lithospermum latifolium:

lithos = Greek meaning ‘stone’
sperma = Latin for ‘seed’
latus = Latin word for ‘broad’
folium = Latin word for ‘leaf’

The seeds of this plant are in fact small little nutlets that are hard like little stones and its leaves are relatively flat and broad.  In fact, one of the commonly known names for this plant is American stoneseed. The scientific name, Lithospermum latifolium is telling us exactly how to recognize this plant.

Photo Credit: Jenny McCune


We are grateful for the collaboration and the opportunity to support the following partners on this important project.

Join the movement

Incredible successes can be achieved when we work together.

With your support, we can help create a wilder world for these plant species-at-risk. Join our donor community and take action for wildlife and wild places today!

How you can help