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Friday, August 2, 2013 - 11:39am

Group Aims To Save Rare Plants

The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to list a Georgia sunflower as endangered.

The whorled sunflower is a yellow-flowering perennial.

It was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994 in Cherokee County and three other places in the South.

The plant is one of many in the state that conservationists are actively trying to save.

The 31 members of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance try to save it and 69 other rare plants.

They do that by growing plants to reintroduce them into protected land.

The alliance's Martha Joiner keeps an eye on a pitcher plant near Statesboro.

"Plants belong to our world just as much as animals or people," Joiner says. "And we have effectively annihilated so many species and we feel that this is just morally wrong."

The pitcher plant grows in bogs under electric lines.

The sunflower grows along roadsides.

"There are some plants that, no matter what we did, we weren't going to be able to save," Joiner says. "So we tried to focus our energy on those plants that were not only worth saving but we thought we could save."

The agency's proposed listing is aimed at resolving lawsuits over endangered species.


Larissa Allen contributed to this report.

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