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Updated Dec 19, 2013 - 6:55 am

Federal agency denies protection for Arizona orchid

PHOENIX -- A purple orchid found in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico won't be added to the federal endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its decision on the Coleman's coralroot Wednesday. It found that while mining, off-road vehicles, livestock grazing, disease and drought threaten the flower, the continued existence of the species isn't threatened.

The Center for Biological Diversity had petitioned the agency in 2010 to list the coralroot as threatened or endangered. It later sued, saying federal protection is the only way to ensure the orchid doesn't disappear completely.

In Arizona, the coralroot is found in the Santa Rita and Dragoon mountains. It grows in moderate shade in oak woodland canyons, hills and drainages.

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