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About the Alliance

Why Alabama?

Alabama is blessed with high biological diversity. NatureServe’s 2002 Report (States of the Union: Ranking America’s Biodiversity) found Alabama to rank #5 of U.S. states in total number of native species. We also ranked relatively high in terms of our vascular plant diversity: ranking #9 with a total of 2,902 species. Unfortunately, Alabama also ranked high in terms of total species extinctions (#2 in the country) and #4 in the country in the percentage of species at risk of extinction. For plants, Alabama ranked #11 in the percentage of plant species considered “at risk” of extinction. It is clear that plant diversity in Alabama is unusually rich and in need of conservation attention.

Why Plants?

Plant conservation usually lags behind animal conservation. As examples, most publicity, public attention and concern, and budgets of conservation agencies target animal species. The 2003 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expenditure report found that 97% of the funds spent by federal and state agencies on federally listed species were spent on animals. Yet more than half (55%, as of October 2008) of the species listed as Endangered or Threatened on the federal list are plants. In Alabama, some rare animals are listed and protected by the Nongame Species Regulation (Section 220-2-.92, page 79-82) and the Invertebrate Species Regulation (Section 220-2-.98, pages 77-78) of the Alabama Regulations for 2005-2006 on Game, Fish and Fur Bearing Mammals. These State Protected (SP) animals thus receive some conservation protection by state government: there are no similar regulations protecting rare plants.

How Do We Work?

The APCA is structured simply to make it flexible and allow it to be project-driven. A project can be suggested by an Alliance member and the group will discuss and prioritize these for APCA action. Each project will have a committee chair, along with members who will work with the chair to set goals, plan activities with calendar deadlines, and provide project status reports to the APCA at a semi-annual meeting.


The APCA has three major interlocking objectives. These are:

  1. Research: Scientific knowledge of the plant diversity in our state is the foundation of all APCA activities. Universities, resource management agencies, and botanical gardens all may have existing programs designed to generate, share, and utilize this basic information to promote plant conservation in the state. The APCA fosters collaborative efforts and support dissemination of scientific information to other members and the public at large.
  2. Education: Informing the public about the plant diversity of Alabama will build recognition of the vital roles of plants in the ecosystems that support life on Earth. Education programs reach out to K-12 and higher levels to instill an appreciation of plants as crucial parts of Alabama’s natural heritage and to build awareness of plant conservation issues and challenges in the state.
  3. Advocacy: APCA seeks to lead or support projects that benefit Alabama native plants and plant communities. These projects range from those initiated by APCA members to projects originating outside the group. This third objective includes mobilizing members and the public to participate in conservation-oriented action and activities with important plant or plant community components.

List of Alabama Endemic Plant Taxa (23 in all)

(List initially compiled by John Manion, Wayne Barger, Al Schotz, and Richard Ware in July 2010, updated June 17, 2016)

Emphasizing Alabama endemics brings out the "A" in APCA! Below is a list of plant taxa (species or subspecies/varieties) that to our knowledge are found only in our state.

  • Asplenium tutwilerae (Tutwiler's speenwort)
  • Carex brysonii (Bryson's sedge)
  • Castilleja kraliana (Cahaba Indian-paintbrush)
  • Coreopsis grandiflora var. inclinata (relicning large-flowered tickseed)
  • Croton alabamensis var. alabamensis (Alabama croton)
  • Dalea cahaba (Cahaba Prairie clover)
  • Delphinium alabamicum (Alabama larkspur)
  • Erigeron strigosus var. dolomitica (prairie fleabane)
  • Hexastylis speciosa (Harper's heartleaf)
  • Leavenworthia alabamica (Alabama gladecress)
  • Leavenworthia crassa (fleshy-fruit glade cress)
  • Liatris oligocephala (Cahaba torch)
  • Onosmodium decipiens (deceptive marbleseed)
  • Paysonia lyrata (lyre-leaf eared bladderpod)
  • Phlox pulchra (Alabama phlox)
  • Quercus boyntonii (Boynton's sand post oak)
  • Sarracenia rubra subsp. alabamensis (Alabama canebreak pitcher plant)
  • Scutellaria alabamensis (Alabama skullcap)
  • Silphium glutinosum (sticky rosinweed)
  • Silphium perplexum (Old Cahaba rosinweed)
  • Spigelia gentianoides var. alabamensis (gentian pinkroot)
  • Thelypteris burksiorum (Alabama streak sorus fern)
  • Xyris spathifolia (Ketona Glades yellow-eyed grass)
    Nomenclature based on:
    Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States
    Working Draft of 30 November 2012
    Alan S. Weakley
    University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU)
    North Carolina Botanical Garden
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Last Updated: 08/25/2016