Plants of Concern

Citizen Science Rare Plant Monitoring Program

Our Impact

Our impact

The Race to Save Rare Plants

Plants of Concern (POC) volunteers help monitor the rarest native plants in the Midwest, including wildflowers, grasses, trees, and ferns —species that are in danger of disappearing from the landscape forever.

Teams of citizen scientists visit hundreds of populations each year, counting plants, measuring population sizes, and evaluating threats. Then what?

Where Does POC’s Data Go?

The data is assessed and then shared with approved partners, including landowners, state agencies, and researchers. (Because rare plant location data is highly sensitive, POC and its partners must approve all data sharing). After further analysis, the results are communicated to our partners and the public.

Long-term monitoring data for plant populations provides critically needed baseline information to answer questions about why populations are rare and what drives population changes over time. In collaboration with researchers, we continue to delve more deeply into the complex dynamics of rare plant populations. See our Research page for more information about these important partners.

What Does POC Data Tell Us?

Since 2000, more than 280 species have been monitored by POC citizen scientists, partners, and staff. What does this data tell us? Find out more about the background and ecology of select rare species and how POC volunteers have helped them.

A new video, produced by the Chicago Botanic Garden, showcases native Illinois orchids and Plants of Concern's role in monitoring them.