All plants

This chart shows the proportion of plant species that are under threat of extinction around the world.



Globally, one in five plant species is under threat of extinction and many more are near threatened.

For the first time, it is possible to say which groups of plants are more threatened, where and why.

The sample of plant species assessed in this project are representative of the world’s plants as a whole. Find out more about how it was done

New species discoveries
A collection of newly discovered plant species by scientists at Kew in 2009, Kew’s 250th year.

By combining the results for each of the major plant groups together, a robust picture of the threats facing plant diversity emerges.

On top of the proportion of plant species under threat of extinction, many more are classified as Near Threatened (NT), which means they are not threatened yet, but will become so if action is not taken to protect them.

35% of species remain insufficiently known to be able to carry out a conservation assessment; of these, 5% have been classified as Data Deficient and the rest are awaiting further investigation.


Monocots

This chart shows the proportion of monocots that are under threat of extinction around the world. Orchids, daffodils, lilies, irises, palms, grasses and sedges are all examples of monocots. Overall, there are around 70,000 different plant species known to science in this group.



Globally, the proportion of monocots under threat of extinction is around 22%.

Examples of monocots
Examples of monocots - Left: Color plate from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur | Right: Ophrys apifera (WikiMedia Commons)

Monocotyledons, also known as monocots, are the other major group of flowering plants. The seedlings usually have a single cotyledon (or seed-leaf) and the leaves are usually parallel-veined. Monocots include plants such as orchids, daffodils, lilies, irises, palms, grasses and sedges.

Examples of monocots reviewed in this project include:


Bryophytes

This chart shows the proportion of bryophytes that are under threat of extinction around the world. Mosses, liverworts and hornworts are all examples of bryophyte. There are around 13,000 different plant species known to science in this group.

Bryophytes



Globally, the proportion of bryophytes under threat of extinction is 15%

New species discoveries
Examples of bryophytes - Mosses are one group of bryophytes (WikiMedia Commons)

Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) are small, non-vascular plants. They play a vital role in regulating ecosystems because they provide an important buffer system for other plants, which live alongside and benefit from the water and nutrients that bryophytes collect.

Bryophytes are very good indicators of habitat quality as many plant species in this group are sensitive to ambient moisture levels, which are lower in disturbed habitats as there is often less shade so plant life receives stronger sunlight down to the ground.

We only have preliminary results so far for the sample of 1,500 bryophytes, with a large contribution from the Missouri Botanical Garden. This group is not currently included in the Sampled Red List Index for Plants but is the next to be assessed.


Pteridophytes

This chart shows the proportion of pteridophytes that are under threat of extinction around the world. Ferns, horsetails and club-mosses are all examples of Pteridophyte. There are around 13,000 different plant species known to science in this group. The plants were assessed by the Natural History Museum.



Globally, the proportion of pteridophytes under threat of extinction is around 14%

New species discoveries
Examples of pteridophytes - Left: Nature print from The Ferns of Great Britain and | Right: Athyrium filix-femina unrolling young frond (WikiMedia Commons)

Pteridophytes (ferns, horsetails and club-mosses), are vascular plants and have leaves (known as fronds), roots and sometimes true stems, and tree ferns have full trunks.

Fronds in the largest species of ferns can reach some six metres in length! Many ferns from tropical rain forests are epiphytes, which means they only grow on other plant species; their water comes from the damp air or from rainfall running down branches and tree trunks.

There are also some purely aquatic ferns such as water fern or water velvet (Salvinia molesta) and mosquito ferns (Azolla species). Pteridophytes do not have seeds or flowers either, instead they also reproduce via spores.

Globally, the proportion of pteridophytes under threat of extinction is 14%.


Gymnosperms

This chart shows the proportion of gymnosperms that are under threat of extinction around the world. Cycads, ginkgo, yews and conifers are all examples of gymnosperms. There are around 1,000 different plant species known to science in this group.



Globally, the proportion of gymnosperms under threat of extinction is around 36%.

New species discoveries
Examples of gymnosperms - Left: Encephalartos sclavoi cone | Right: white spruce (Picea glauca) needles (WikiMedia Commons)

Gymnosperms are seed-bearing plants such as cycads, ginkgo, yews and conifers, in which the ovules or seeds are not enclosed in an ovary,. The word "gymnosperm" comes from the Greek word gymnospermos, meaning "naked seeds". Gymnosperm seeds develop either on the surface of scale or leaf-like appendages of cones, or at the end of short stalks.

The largest group of living gymnosperms are the conifers (pines, cypresses, and relatives) and the smallest is Ginkgo, a single living species.

Examples of gymnosperms reviewed in this project include:


Legumes

This chart shows the proportion of legumes that are under threat of extinction around the world. Common names used to describe this group include the legume family, pea family, bean family and pulse family. There are around 19,000 different plant species known to science in this group.



Globally, the proportion of legumes under threat of extinction is around 12%.

New species discoveries
Examples of legumes - Left: varieties of soybean seeds, a popular legume | Right: pea pods (WikiMedia Commons)

Legumes are a large and economically important family of flowering plants. Common names used to describe this group include the legume family, pea family, bean family and pulse family.

A common characteristic of plant species in the legume family is the presence of a simple dry fruit that usually dehisces (opens along a seam on two sides). A name often used to describe this type of fruit is a "pod".

Plant species in the legume family grow in many environments and climates and are found throughout the world. Examples of plant species that are important to agricultural trade include: Glycine max (soybean), Phaseolus (beans), Pisum sativum (pea), Cicer arietinum (chickpeas), Arachis hypogaea (peanut) and Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice).

Globally, the proportion of legumes under threat of extinction is 14%. Examples of legumes reviewed in this project include: