Indexed on: 02 Oct '13Published on: 02 Oct '13Published in: PNAS
One in five of the world's plant species is threatened with extinction according to the 2010 first global analysis of extinction risk. Tilman et al. predicted a massive ecological change to terrestrial plants within the next 50-100 y, accompanied by an increase in the number of global plant species facing extinction [Tilman D, et al. (2001) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98(10):5433-5440]. Most of the drug-producing plant families contain endangered species never previously studied for their utility to human health, which strongly validates the need to prioritize protection and assessment of these fragile and endangered groups [Zhu F, et al. (2011) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(31):12943-12948]. With little prior attention given to endangered and rare plant species, this report provides strong justification for conservation of the rare plant Diplostephium rhododendroides Hieron., as well as other potential drug-producing endangered species in this and other groups.