Showy stickseed (Hackelia venusta) is an endangered species that grows where most hikers fear to tread— loose, sandy, mountain slopes at some of the steepest angles.
High above the central Washington town of Leavenworth, one patch of a mountainside is currently the only site in the world where showy stickseed is found naturally. The prospects of any plant can be precarious if the entire species is found in just one place, and showy stickseed is no different. With only one population of the plant, catastrophic events like landslides or wildfire can pose an outsized danger, possibly jeopardizing the very existence of the species itself.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its partners at the University of Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program and the U.S. Forest Service are accordingly collaborating to establish new populations of the plant through outplantings to better protect this rare gem of the Cascades.