SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With a slight clarification in the state’s endangered plants rules, New Mexico has expanded legal protections of rare plants. Now, even harming a protected plant could result in jail time.

“We always welcome the chance to provide increased protections to at-risk species,” State Botanist Erika Rowe said in a press release. “All plants and animals fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. If you start losing one or two pieces, the puzzle won’t function like it used to.”

The newly amended rule went into effect in April. It applies to state, federal, and tribal lands, with an exception for tribal members who use a protected plant for religious purposes. The latest amendment clarifies that to “destroy,” “harm,” or “remove” a protected plant can result in penalties.

The rule applies to the state’s endangered plants. There are dozens on the list – and a new one was recently added.

The American Hart’s-tongue fern, a bumpy-leafed rock clinger, was discovered in New Mexico in 2020 at the El Malpais National Monument. Before that, experts thought the plant didn’t live in New Mexico.

Here’s the list of endangered plants in New Mexico:

  • Agalinis calycina (Leoncita false-foxglove)
  • Aliciella formosa (Aztec gilia)
  • Allium gooddingii (Goodding’s onion)
  • Amsonia tharpii (Tharp’s bluestar)
  • Argemone pinnatisecta (Sacramento prickly-poppy)
  • Asplenium scolopendrium var. americanum (American Hart’s-tongue
    fern) Astragalus humillimus (Mancos milkvetch)
  • Peniocereus greggii (night-blooming cereus)
  • Castilleja ornata (Swale paintbrush)
  • Castilleja tomentosa (Tomentose paintbrush)
  • Cirsium vinaceum (Sacramento Mountains thistle)
  • Cirsium wrightii (Wright’s marsh thistle)
  • Cleome multicaulis (slender spiderflower)
  • Coryphantha robustispina ssp. scheeri (Scheer’s pincushion cactus)
  • Cylindropuntia viridiflora (Santa Fe cholla)
  • Cymopterus spellenbergii (Spellenberg’s springparsley) Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (golden lady’s slipper)
  • Echinocereus fendleri var. kuenzleri (Kuenzler’s hedgehog cactus)
  • Erigeron hessii (Hess’ fleabane)
  • Erigeron rhizomatus (Zuni fleabane)
  • Eriogonum gypsophilum (gypsum wild buckwheat)
  • Escobaria duncanii (Duncan’s pincushion cactus)
  • Escobaria organensis (Organ Mountain pincushion cactus) Escobaria sneedii var. leei (Lee’s pincushion cactus)
  • Escobaria sneedii var. sneedii (Sneed’s pincushion cactus) Escobaria villardii (Villard’s pincushion cactus)
  • Hedeoma todsenii (Todsen’s pennyroyal)
  • Helianthus paradoxus (Pecos sunflower)
  • Hexalectris colemanii (Coleman’s coralroot)
  • Hexalectris nitida (shining coralroot)
  • Hexalectris arizonica (crested coralroot)
  • Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus (Holy Ghost ipomopsis) Lepidospartum burgessii (gypsum scalebroom)
  • Lilium philadelphicum (wood lily)
  • Linum allredii (Allred’s flax)
  • Opuntia arenaria (sand prickly pear)
  • Pediocactus knowltonii (Knowlton’s cactus)
  • Pediomelum pentaphyllum (Chihuahua scurfpea)
  • Penstemon metcalfei (Metcalfe’s beardtongue)
  • Polygala rimulicola var. mescalerorum (San Andres milkwort) Puccinellia parishii (Parish’s alkali grass)
  • Sclerocactus cloverae (Clover’s cactus)
  • Sclerocactus mesae-verdae (Mesa Verde cactus)
  • Scrophularia macrantha (Mimbres figwort)
  • Spiranthes magnicamporum (lady tresses orchid)
  • Townsendia gypsophila (gypsum Townsend’s aster)