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Plant Inventory

wild orchid

Vermont is home to over 2,800 plant species. Most of these are flowering plants, but this also includes conifers, ferns, grapeferns, clubmosses, horsetails, quillworts, spikemosses, and bryophytes—mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.

Vermont’s Wildlife Diversity Program staff work with professional botanists, Plant Conservation Volunteers of the New England Wild Flower Society and the public to document, monitor, and conserve the state’s plant diversity. The program’s extensive Natural Heritage Database includes thousands of rare plant records used to inform conservation planning, land management, and development review decisions. Included in the database are:

  • 1,585 species of native vascular plants —including about 137 that are adventive (i.e introduced to Vermont from elsewhere in North America, but uncertain whether they will persist here)
  • 600+ rare and uncommon native plant species including 163 threatened and endangered native plant species
  • 624 bryophytes, including 426 mosses, 168 liverworts and hornworts

The department’s botanists and members of the Scientific Advisory Group on Flora of the VT Endangered Species Committee collaborate to assign the rarity status of the plant species and make recommendations to list or de-list plants as Threatened or Endangered.

The department's botanist also reviews development-related (Act 250) and energy-related (Section 248) projects to assure protection for rare or endangered plants. The staff works closely with the New England Wildflower Society and other organizations to monitor and inventory rare native plants, collect seeds from rare plants, and protect existing populations of rare or endangered plants.

Plant Conservation Highlights

Additional Resources

Endangered and Threatened Plants of Vermont - The following species are protected by Vermont’s Endangered Species Law (10 V.S.A. Chap. 123). There are 69 state-endangered and 94 state-threatened plants in Vermont.

Rare and Uncommon Native Vascular Plants of Vermont - A listing of the rare and uncommon, native, vascular plants of Vermont. These species may be rare because they have very particular habitat requirements, are subject to habitat loss, are at the edge of their range, are vulnerable to disturbance or collection, or have difficulty reproducing for unknown reasons.

Rare and Uncommon Bryophytes of Vermont - This list of rare and uncommon bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) is the result of work of botanists, natural resource professionals and interested amateurs. The list represents early efforts to assess the status of nonvascular plants in Vermont and is primarily the result of the contributions of Dr. Dorothy Allard. Additional species may be added to or removed from the list as further information is obtained on their presence in Vermont.

GoBotany – Want to know what that plant is? Use this simple online tool to identify over 1,200 common native and naturalized New England plants!

Northern Forest Atlas - The Northern Forest Atlas documents the current biology of the forests. The website contains approximately 5,000 photos of woody plants, mosses, sedges and videos of landscapes. It also includes charts and digital atlases.

Ferns and Lycophytes of Vermont – This website features images and distribution information of ferns and lycophytes found in Vermont.

Native Plant Trust – Learn about the conservation efforts of the Native Plant Trust to save imperiled species, control invasives and restore habitat.

NatureServe Explorer - An authoritative source for information on more than 70,000 plants, animals, and ecosystems of the United States and Canada.

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