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Metro helps 2 PNW wildflowers recover from threatened status

Golden paintbrush and Nelson’s checker-mallow were recently removed from the Endangered Species Act.

Magenta- and pink-colored flowers bloom on long stems.

Nelson’s checker-mallow provides nectar for the Fender’s blue butterfly, a species recently reclassified from endangered to threatened.

Photo via Metro

Two Pacific Northwest wildflowers are rare success stories in the 51-year history of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, joining the ranks of other plants and animals that have recovered enough to no longer be considered threatened.

Golden paintbrush

As an upland prairie dweller, golden paintbrush grew scarce as its habitats were developed or used for grazing — eventually disappearing from Oregon entirely. It was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1997. As part of its recovery plan, Metro planted golden paintbrush at Howell Territorial Park, Graham Oaks Nature Park, and Cooper Mountain Nature Park and by 2018, nearly 50,000 plants were alive and thriving.

Nelson’s checker-mallow

Unmanaged wetlands, habitat loss from logging and agriculture, and competition from invasive species led to Nelson’s checker-mallow’s threatened listing in 1993. Seeds provided by Metro’s Native Plant Center were planted by recovery groups, helping boost the flower’s population from as few as 7,100 at the time of its listing to 334,968 in 2021.

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