With mounds of snow everywhere we look these days, it’s sometimes hard to remember that underneath all of that white stuff are a plethora of plants and flowers that flourish when our weather improves.

But the outlook is good for all of our local flora and fauna.

To show which particular plants and flowers are threatened or near extinction, NetCredit has generated a map, based on the latest numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture, which estimates that the number of plants that have disappeared since 1750 is double than that of all birds, mammals, and amphibians combined.

In South Dakota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, it is the white-fringed orchid, which is also known as platanthera praeclara. It’s found mainly in tallgrass prairies west of the Mississippi River and grows to nearly fifty inches long, sprouting up to 40 ghost-like fringed flowers. It emerges in May and blooms in June or in July further north.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service attributes the decline in numbers to an increased conversion native prairie to cropland.

The plant has been listed as a threatened species in the United States since 1989, and in 2008 it was listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It was also listed as endangered in Canada in 2003, but since then the Nature Conservancy of Canada has stepped in to protect nearly 25 percent of the plants.

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