Many pitcher plant populations have been seriously depleted through mass collecting and a loss of their natural habitats. Development, agriculture, and tree farming are factors in habitat destruction. Depending on the taxonomy used, there are seven to nine species of the plants in the wild. In North Carolina, pitcher plants grow mostly in the coastal plain. Rob Gardner, curator of native plants at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, is interested in the conservation of native plants, which is one of the main missions of the garden. To help the wild plants survive, Gardner, along with Larry Mellichamp, director of the UNC-Charlotte Botanic Garden, is working to produce hybrids of the pitcher plant.