DNR announces Washington Rare Plants virtual plant guide for Native Plant Appreciation Week!

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed this week, April 28 through May 3, Native Plant Appreciation Week in Washington.

Red columbine
Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa). Photo by: DNR

Native Plant Appreciation Week is a celebration of the amazing diversity of Washington’s native plant species.

The diverse climates in Washington allow for an incredible variety of native plants, from sword ferns to cacti, to the many different species that call prairies, forests and shrub-steppe home.

One of the main contributors to Native Plant Appreciation Week is the Washington Native Plant Society. Learn more about the week, events occurring, conservation efforts, and how you can get involved on their website.

Washington Rare Plants app
Just in time for Native Plant Appreciation Week, the DNR Natural Heritage Program has released a cellphone app called Washington Rare Plants. This application catalogues Washington’s rarest plant species. Read on to learn more…

Known as Barrett's beardtongue, this rare wild plant is found in only a few locations in Washington and Oregon.
Known as Barrett’s beardtongue, this rare wild plant is found in only a few locations in Washington and Oregon.

Washington Rare Plants app features
The species included in Washington Rare Plants are rare and typically occur in unique habitats or remnants of formerly more widespread habitats.

Some features you can look forward to include:

  • Descriptions, line drawings, and distribution maps for 320 of the rarest plants in Washington State right at your fingertips.
  • Photos of plants and their habitats.
  • Technical descriptions to aid in identification along with rank and status categories to indicate rarity for each plant species.
  • An extensive list of references and a glossary to explain terms that may be unfamiliar.
  • A resource library which includes links to a variety of web sites to see additional descriptions, photos, and herbarium specimen information for each species.

Download the app today for your iPhone or iPad. Versions for Android smartphones are in the creation phase and should be released within a month.

This app is large and may take a while to download. It can only be downloaded by connecting to a wireless internet network.

Mule’s Ears or Wyethia (Wyethia amplexicaulis)
Mule’s Ears or Wyethia (Wyethia amplexicaulis). Photo by: DNR

If you are fortunate enough to find any of the species included in this app, we would certainly like to know about them.

Report rare plant sightings to the DNR Natural Heritage Program by emailing Natural_Heritage_Program@dnr.wa.gov

About the Washington Rare Plants app
This app was developed collaboratively by the DNR Natural Heritage Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so that information on rare plants is more readily available. This app is based on an earlier print version, Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Washington.

This app is intended for individuals who already possess some skill at identifying native plants; it may not be suitable for beginners as it does not include common plants.

Tweedy's Lewisia (Lewisia tweedyi)
Tweedy’s Lewisia (Lewisia tweedyi). Photo by: DNR

DNR Natural Heritage Program
We protect our natural heritage, because its ecologic values and scenic beauty are irreplaceable. Once a species is lost, it cannot be recreated. DNR conservation and restoration programs help to ensure the health of our landscapes for the benefit of the people, plants, and animals that live here.

Learn more about these programs on the DNR Conservation & Restoration webpage.

Celebrate Native Plant Appreciation Week
Take some time this week and celebrate the natural native beauty of Washington’s great outdoors in honor of Native Plant Appreciation Week.

Celebrate Washington’s native plants this week:

Now, with the Washington Rare Plants app, you can take your native plant field guide with you wherever you go. Who knows, you may even see one of Washington’s rare plants.

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