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Photo of the Week: Endangered Poppies

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Botanic Garden raises rarities at the Heritage Farm

Posted July 25, 2014. Image by Amy Landers/ABQ BioPark

On the western slope of the Sacramento Mountains in south-central New Mexico near Alamogordo, a thistle-like plant grows along stream beds and in canyon soils. In the summer, its prickly leaves bear flowers with elegant white petals and bright yellow stamens. When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Sacramento Mountain prickly poppy as Endangered in 1989, there were fewer than 1,300 plants left in the wild. Despite efforts to support the species, scientists say the number of wild plants has likely dropped since 1989.

Staff at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden are working with other local, state and federal partners to preserve this rare flower, raising the plant for seed harvest as part of its Ex Situ conservation program. You can see the Sacramento prickly poppy in bloom now at the Rio Grande Heritage Farm.

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