Ten Extremely Rare Seeds on the Brink of Extinction

The Millennium Seed Bank has set out to collect 25 percent of the world’s plant species by 2020—before it is too late

(Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

Erica verticillata

Erica verticillata

Name: Erica verticillata
Status: The shrub, with tubular pink flowers that blossom in the summer, was considered extinct for much of the 20th century. The last wild plant was recorded in 1908, in its native habitat in South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. However, using seeds collected from a single plant discovered in Pretoria, South Africa, in the 1980s, and a few other specimens identified in botanical gardens, the species has been reintroduced to a few sites near Cape Town.
Threats: As the city of Cape Town expands, over 90 percent of the plant’s damp, sandy habitat (called sand fynbos) has been destroyed. The Millennium Seed Bank and its partners are working to restore the remnants of the habitat that are left and to reclaim others.

Learn more about Erica verticillata at the Encyclopedia of Life.


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