Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Golden camellia (Camellia nitidissima)

Nominated by: Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)

Camellia nitidisimma in Guilin Botanical Garden

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? With stunning yellow flowers, this Camellia has long been considered a valuable horticultural plant. Endemic to southern Guangxi in China, this plant is threatened with extinction.

What are the threats to the Camellia nitidissima? Golden camellias are used to make health teas, with one kilogram of dried flowers worth more than 10,000 yuan (1,519 USD). This makes the golden camellia a target for illegal collection from forests. Many are removed as seedlings and planted in private gardens, hindering natural regeneration in the forests. In addition to this, the golden camellia is also threatened by habitat loss, even within the protection of national parks.

What are you doing to save it? In collaboration with Guilin Botanical Garden, the Guangxi Institute of Botany and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), BGCI is aiming to improve the conservation status of the golden camellia. This project has so far successfully propagated thousands of plants in nurseries, with many planted in a reintroduction research site. Ex situ collections in Guilin Botanic Garden and Nanning Arboretum are now extensive, harbouring and protecting the genetic diversity of the wild populations. To address the problem of illegal collection of these plants, BGCI is engaging 250 local households in planting golden camellias and creating livelihood opportunities by establishing camellia nurseries, reducing the strain on the wild populations.

Find out more about the work of BGCI

Find out about other endangered plants on Arkive’s ‘plants in peril’ topic page

Discover more dicot species on Arkive