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Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Ellington Agricultural Center
440 Hogan Road
Nashville, TN 37220
(615) 781-6500
The Tennessee Purple Coneflower: Poster Child for Endangered Species and a Recovery Success Story

The Tennessee purple coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis) is found in only three counties in Tennessee: Davidson, Rutherford and Wilson. The species is endemic to the Cedar Glades and Barrens in the Central Basin and was first found in the 1870s and described as a species in 1898.

In 1979, Tennessee purple coneflower was one of the first plant species listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) began to receive federal grant funding from USFWS under Section Six of the Endangered Species Act in the mid-1980s for the recovery of this very rare plant species. By 1990, five populations had been found in Tennessee.

In 2011, after 30 years of conservation efforts, Echinacea tennessensis was successfully removed from the Endangered Species List. At age 101 Dr. Quarterman, the original discoverer of the "extinct" coneflower in 1968, attended the delisting celebration on August 4, 2011 at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Also attending the celebration were representatives from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and other State departments, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, non-government organizations, private landowners and companies, and academic institutions including Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) staff and students and the Tennessee Naturalist Program. All of the partners greatly helped in research and protection efforts for this species.

Read or download a pdf (with beautiful photographs) of the full success story of Tennessee Purple Coneflower Conservation.

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