Garden of the Great Plains
Lauritzen Gardens is a participating institution in the Center
for Plant Conservation, a coalition of the nation's leading
botanical institutions working to prevent the extinction of America's
endangered plants. Our conservation work is focused on the Great Plains region
where more than 100 plants are in danger of becoming extinct in their native
The work of conserving endangered plants involves research, seed
banking, and restoration projects.
Lauritzen Gardens is engaged in a multi-year research project to
document the ecology and conservation needs of sandsage prairie-clover (Dalea cylindriceps), a native wildflower
that appears to be in serious decline. Sandsage prairie-clover is rare
throughout its range in the western Great Plains and is ranked as a Tier I
At-risk Species in Nebraska.
director of conservation at Lauritzen Gardens, has carried out three
conservation assessments of sandsage prairie-clover for the Nebraska Game and
Parks Commission. In 2013, he surveyed 22 sites in Nebraska where this species
has been observed or collected in the past and found only five small occurrences
in four northwest Nebraska counties. In 2014, he conducted a more focused
survey in the sandsage prairie region of southwestern Nebraska. While he did not locate any occurrences in
the study region he did discover two large and previously-unknown occurrences
in Garden and Keith counties in 2014. Jim will continue research on this rare
species in 2015, resulting in the location of four new populations.
reports on sandsage prairie-clover can be viewed at:
2015 Prairie-Clover Research
Prairie-Clover Taxonomy & History
The Kimball Grasslands
(pictured above) is recognized as a Biologically Unique Landscape by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project . Located in
the southwest part of the Nebraska Panhandle, the Kimball Grasslands hosts a
significant number of Nebraska plants of conservation concern. Most of these are associated with
escarpments, bluffs and other rocky habitat.
Director of conservation Jim Locklear conducted a reconnaissance survey
of this region during the spring and summer of 2014 to gain a better
understanding of the ecology of rock outcrop communities in the Kimball
Grasslands and of the associated rare species.
targeted ten plant species of conservation concern in Nebraska. He visited localities where these species
have been observed in the past, as well as other areas of potential habitat,
surveying about 40 different sites in all. Jim made observations on the habitat
and ecological associations of these plants, as well as their relative
abundance and conservation needs. He
also identified different vegetation types associated with rock outcrop habitat
and documented the uniqueness of these communities and their importance to the
conservation of biological diversity in Nebraska and the Great Plains. Jim's
research report has been circulated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
to conservation biologists, university botanists, and ecologists in Nebraska
and the region.
report on the Kimball Grasslands can be viewed at:
2014 Kimball Grasslands Research