The website below has some really great comprehensive lists of extinct plants and animals, as well as pictures. According to the site, the Hawaii Chaff Flower,the Woolly-stalked Begonia, St. Helena Olive, and Bennet’s Seaweed are a few examples of extinct plants. The last two are pictured below, respectively.
Extinct plant species that existed in ancient times can be studied using contemporary scientific methods coupled with records, such as fossil imprints or matter preserved in amber. One interesting piece of evidence is the Petrified Forest National Park. Woody material from over 200 million years ago was replaced with mineral content and thus preserved to study today; scientists have placed some species into the genus Araucarioxylon but are still investigating the variety of conifer species that may be present in these stone logs. Another extinct species is the Araucaria mirabilis; records of it have been preseved in cones. This species existed 135-180 million years ago.
In contemporary times, human-induced extinction of plants is a topic of concern. Some scientists and organizations may strive to conserve threatened species in a particular area. A list compiled through the Center for Plant Conservation in Hawaii indicated that 55 species had become extinct by 1999. These include the:
* `Akoko (Chamaesyce remyi vars. tomentella and hanaleiensis)
* Alani (Melicope neale, Melicope obovata and Melicope wailauensis)
* `Anunu (Sicyos hillebrandii)
As of 1999, Hawaii alone has 55 known extinct plant species and 42 possibly extinct. It can take a long time to definitively claim a species as extinct. Possibly extinct species include species that have not been sighted for a long period of time, but habitat still exists where these species could grow. Species that are listed as extinct no longer have habitat where the plant species could survive. (The first citation below contains a list of plants in Hawaii that have gone extinct).
It is estimated that at least 22% of all plant species globally are at risk of extinction, primarily due to habitat loss.
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