I’m limiting this list to northern North America for two reasons:
- Restricting this list geographically is in keeping with my specialization in plants native to northeastern North America.
- There are many more tropical plants, and plant extinctions, than I can manage; for example, Cuba alone has lost more plant species than I’ve listed on this blog post.
- Astilbe crenatiloba, Roan Mountain false goat’s beard, Roan Mountain, Tennessee, 1885
- Narthecium montanum, Appalachian Yellow Asphodel, East Flat Rock Bog, Henderson County, North Carolina, before 2004?
- Neomacounia nitida, Macoun’s shining moss, Belleville, Ontario, 1864
- Orbexilum macrophyllum, bigleaf scurfpea, Polk County, North Carolina, 1899
- Orbexilum stipulatum, large-stipule leather-root, Falls-of-the-Ohio scurfpea, Rock Island, Falls of the Ohio, KY, 1881
- Thismia americana, banded trinity, Lake Calumet, IL, 1916
Extinct in the wild (IUCN Red List code EW)
Extinct versus Extirpated
I often come across misuse of the word “extinct,” as in: native plant extinct in New York City.
- “Extinct” means globally extinct. No living specimens exist anywhere in the world, not even in cultivation.
- “Extirpated” means locally extinct, while the species persists in other populations outside of the study area. To correct the above example: extirpated in New York City. Any regional Flora lists many extirpated species.
When a species is known only from one original or remaining population, as those listed above were, loss of that population means extinction for the species. In this case, extirpation and extinction are the same thing.
Another category is “extinct in the wild,” when the species still exists under cultivation, like an animal in a zoo. A famous example of this is Franklinia alatamaha.