Two Plants That Grow Only in Miami-Dade Might Be Protected Under Endangered Species Act

The Florida brickell bush and the Carter's small-flowered flax are two flowering plants that grow nowhere else in the world except for Miami-Dade County. Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the plants deserve special protection under the Endangered Species Act and that the 2,700 acres where they grow could be off-limits to developers.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, both plants have been on the waiting list since 1985. An agreement between the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service could now finally see them fast tracked to protection.

A news release from the center describes the flowers:

Carter's small-flowered flax is 1 foot tall and has yellow petals. At least five populations have been lost to development. There are seven surviving populations and a total population size of only 1,300 flowers.

Florida brickell-bush is a white, perennial flower in the aster family that grows to more than 3 feet in height. At least nine known populations have been wiped out by development. There are 17 known surviving populations. The total number of plants is estimated to have declined by 50 percent since 1999, and the overall population is estimated at 2,100 to 3,700 plants.

The flowers have been threatened in recent years not only by development but also by fires and invasive plant species.

According to South Florida Business Journal, the plants are found only in "open spaces and parks in the Pinecrest or South Miami area, and in North Miami Beach." Many of those areas are already protected, but a few of the plant populations could make land unavailable to future development.

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Kyle Munzenrieder