Endangered Plants of the Philippines

By Joshua Suico
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The Philippines is a country with a high amount of biodiversity. The many islands of the country, coupled with its tropical location and the presence of extensive rainforests, give rise to high species diversity not just in wild animals, but also in plants. However, some of these plant species are already in danger. According to the IUCN Red List, there are 97 endangered plant species, of which 57 are critically endangered ones.

Plant Biodiversity in the Philippines

Plants are an important part of the biodiversity of the world. They are a vital part of the ecosystem as well as an essential resource for the world. The Philippines possesses incredible plant diversity, with between 10,000 and 14,000 species of plants. Of these, more than half are endemic to the country, meaning that they are only found in the Philippines and nowhere else. The Philippines is home to around 5 percent of the world’s species of plants and ranks fifth in the world in the number of plant species it contains.

Endangered Plant Species

Plants that are endangered but not critically endangered are those species or subspecies whose survival in the wild is in danger while the threats to their survival continue to exist. Some of the non-critically endangered plant species in the Philippines include Mangifera odorata, also known as the huani or Kuwini mango, which can also be found in other Southeast Asian countries. Also endangered is Kibatalia puberula, a small evergreen tree found only on Samar Island in the Philippines, and Phalaenopsis lindenii, a white-petaled orchid tinged with pale pink or lavender.

Critically Endangered Plant Species

Critically endangered plant species are those that face a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. Dendrobium schuetzei is a critically endangered orchid species with white flowers; it is found only in Mindanao Island in the Philippines. Other critically endangered plant species endemic to the Philippines include Alocasia atropurpurea, a small plant with large leaves, Hopea philippinensis, a small rainforest tree, and Cycas wadei, a small palm-like tree.

Threats to Species Survival

The survival of these plant species, many of which are endemic to the Philippines, is threatened mainly because of the activities of people. One of the major threats is habitat destruction. This is mostly due to conversion of grasslands or rainforest into residential areas, construction of industrial hubs, or road and highway construction.

About the Author

Joshua Suico is a university teacher specializing in chemistry and the life sciences. He holds a Master of Science degree in chemistry. During his college days, he once intentionally dropped sodium pellets into a sink for fun and for science.