Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 24, 2023


Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017,

Wetland-Dependent Desert Flower Protected Under Endangered Species Act

Wright’s Marsh Thistle Clinging to Existence in New Mexico, Texas, Mexico

SILVER CITY, N.M.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected the Wright’s marsh thistle as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The agency also designated 159 acres in seven areas as protected critical habitat for the imperiled wetlands plant.

“Saving the Wright’s marsh thistle from extinction in a hotter, drier world would also help us protect humanity,” said Michael Robinson at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m so glad this pretty plant and its desert springs are finally getting badly needed protections. As the climate crisis builds, many of the steps we take to preserve species like this one will also help people cope with our rapidly changing planet.”

The thistle is threatened by water diversion, livestock grazing, invasive plants, oil and gas drilling, and climate change-driven drought.

The Service first found the marsh thistle warranted protection in 2010. But instead of providing safeguards, the agency put the species on a waiting list for protection, where it sat for the last 13 years.

The Wright’s marsh thistle requires water-saturated and alkaline soils, full sunlight, and a nearby diversity of other plants to also attract pollinators. It occurs in just eight widely separated locales in southern New Mexico, one locality in Texas and one locality in Chihuahua, Mexico. It used to be found in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

The marsh thistle is a member of the sunflower family with white to vibrant pink flowers. The plants can reach eight feet in height.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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