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Great Plains


The Conservation Garden of the Great Plains  

Lauritzen Gardens is a participating institution in the Center for Plant Conservation, a coalition of the nation’s leading botanical institutions working to prevent the extinction of America’s endangered plants. Our conservation work is focused on the Great Plains region where more than 100 plants are in danger of becoming extinct in their native habitat.  

The work of conserving endangered plants involves research, seed banking, and restoration projects. 


Research Project: Sandsage Prairie  

Sandsage prairie is a blend of shrubland and grassland in which sand sagebrush (Artemesia filifolia) is the dominant plant. This community type is found in sandy habitat throughout a large part of the western Great Plains, including southwestern Nebraska. Sandsage prairie is important for many species of grassland birds but is declining in both quality and quantity and has been identified as a conservation priority in the state wildlife action plans of Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. Research by Lauritzen Gardens staff has increased understanding and appreciation of this unique Great Plains plant community.   





Research Project: Endemic Plants of the Central Grassland of North America 

Knowledge of the endemic plants of a region is an important element in understanding the biological diversity of that region and in prioritizing areas for conservation action. Research by Lauritzen Gardens has identified 382 plants with geographic distributions that are mostly limited to the Central Grassland of North America. Of these “endemic” and uniquely grassland plants, 124 or 33% are at risk of extinction. A publication documenting the distribution, ecology, and conservation status of these plants can be viewed at:  



Research Project: Sandsage Prairie-Clover  

Lauritzen Gardens is engaged in a multi-year research project to document the ecology and conservation needs of sandsage prairie-clover (Dalea cylindriceps), a native wildflower that appears to be in serious decline. Sandsage prairie-clover is rare throughout its range in the western Great Plains and is ranked as a Tier I At-risk Species in Nebraska. Publications resulting from this research can be viewed at:  


Š         2015 Dalea Cylindriceps Report  

Š         2013 Dalea Cylindriceps Report  

Š         Prairie-Clover Taxonomy & History  


Research Project: Kimball Grasslands 

The Kimball Grasslands is recognized as a Biologically Unique Landscape by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project . Located in the southwest part of the Nebraska Panhandle, the Kimball Grasslands hosts a significant number of Nebraska plants of conservation concern.  Most of these are associated with escarpments, bluffs and other rocky habitat.  Director of conservation Jim Locklear conducted a reconnaissance survey of this region during the spring and summer of 2014 to gain a better understanding of the ecology of rock outcrop communities in the Kimball Grasslands and of the associated rare species.    


The report on the Kimball Grasslands can be viewed at:  


Š         2014 Kimball Grasslands Research  



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