Rare Century Plant Waits|for Species Protection

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Agave eggersiana, a plant so rare it does not even have a common name, is threatened or endangered, and its protection under the Endangered Species Act is warranted but precluded by higher order listing actions, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

     No one is sure if there are any wild examples of Agave eggersiana, and almost all suitable habitat for the species is on private land slated for residential development on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
     Agave plants are often called “century plants,” given the relatively long time it takes for the plants to flower. When the eggersiana flowers it sends a stalk up to 21 feet into the air ending in bulbous yellow flowers.
     Because the agency has spent its full budget allocation for writing final listing plans, it has placed the Agave eggersiana on a candidate list until funding becomes available. According to the Center for Biodiversity, which has fought several court battles over listing the Agave eggersiana, there are more than 249 species on the candidate list, some of which have been on the waiting list since 1975.

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