Desert Botanical Garden works continuously to conserve imperiled native plants that live in the Southwest region.
This year, members of the research staff worked with the Nature Conservancy to reintroduce the federally endangered Huachuca water umbel (Lilaeopsis schaffneriana var. recurva) back into restored wetlands in southern Arizona.
This plant only lives in these rare desert marches called cienagas, but due to the decline in this habitat over the years, it was officially placed on the endangered species list in 1997.
Although it may look like a grass, the Huachuca water umbel is actually a member of the carrot family.
The Garden has been maintaining a large collection of these plants since the early 1990s as an insurance policy in case anything were to happen to these populations in the wild — but also for use in restoration projects just like these.
By putting these plants back into the restored cienegas, the Garden is not only helping conserve this species but also helping restore these unique wetland habitats that play a vital role in supporting Arizona wildlife.