NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three Southeast flowers are now protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Short's bladderpod, fleshy-fruit gladecress and whorled sunflowers are found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it's protecting the flowers.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the agency to protect the plants in 2004.
They have been on a waiting list of species known to be in need of federal protection since 1999.
In 2011, the center and the agency reached a landmark agreement that will ensure all the species that were on the federal waiting list for protection as of 2010 will get protection decisions by 2018.