Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Plants Lost to History


5
Cry Violet
It definitely looks like a crier. Conservatoire Botanique National Du Bassin Parisien
It definitely looks like a crier. Conservatoire Botanique National Du Bassin Parisien

While you might want to cry knowing another plant has gone extinct, that's not how this small wild pansy got its name. It's actually named after the French community of Cry, where the flower was first discovered in 1860 along the Canal de Bourgogne. Standing just 1.5 to 5 inches (4 to 12 centimeters) tall, it featured thick, light green leaves and light violet flowers that bloomed from May to June. The Cry violet preferred the warm, sunny, south-facing sides of the area's limestone hills, where it was last spotted in 1927. After that, some people may have tried to raise them in their gardens, but even these efforts failed by 1950. Despite many attempts to locate a survivor, no one has seen one since [sources: Lombard and Bajon, Juillet].

Viola cryana was never a very common species, though as botanists will tell you, that alone doesn't necessarily doom it to extinction. What brought down this little plant was quarrying of the very limestone in which it liked to live and, ironically, over-collection by botanists [source: Juillet].