Questions for ‘Rare-plant hunters race against time to save at-risk species


Steve Perlman rappels down a cliff in the Wailau Valley on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. He is a botanist who has spent the last 45 years searching for, and protecting, rare plants

Hank Oppenheimer

To accompany feature “Rare-plant hunters race against time to save at-risk species”


Before Reading: 

1.  How many kinds of plants can you name? Which ones seem most common where you live?      

2.  Do you know of any plants or animals that have gone extinct? Which ones? What caused their extinction?     

During Reading:

1.  What is the alula plant and what makes it special?    

2.  According to the story, what was Steve Perlman’s role in saving the alula from likely extinction?    

3.  What is the major threat facing the alula plant?   

4.  What fraction of the world’s plants is at risk of extinction, according to a report from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew?   

5.  What are the major threats to the Brewer spruce, and how is Michael Way working to protect the species?

6.  According to the story, what are two reasons why it’s important to save endangered plant species?   

7.  What is a genus?   

8.  Where did Aaron Floden find the species of trillium that he identified in 2012?

9.  What was the first thing Floden noticed when he found Trillium tennesseense

10. Why was Floden excited to identify Trillium tennesseense?

After Reading: 

1.  Think of a plant that you particularly like. Maybe it’s a kind of flower, or a kind of tree. What might threaten that plant, and how might people work to protect it?

2.  Why might scientists want to save seeds from certain plants while there are still a lot of the plants left, instead of waiting until the plant is close to extinction?