If you're not busy saving something endangered these days, you run the danger of looking like a stinker. Not to be actively worried about the survival, in this cruel, modern world, of seals and whales and cabbages and kings, is to miss out on a lot of $50 a head cocktail parties.

Take the matter of kings, for example. A kind-hearted person could go berserk with anxiety, waiting to see how many more traffic tickets the House of Windsor, including in-laws, can collect before collapsing completely, or at least having its royal prerogatives suspended.

Cabbages are much easier on the nerves. You don't have to get nearly so upset when their heads roll. Therefore, it comes as something of a relief to the tender and overwrought that the Department of the Interior is beginning an endangered species lift for the vegetable kingdom. To fur coat-bearing liberal, it could be a godsend.

Plants have been working at improving their status for several years, and have succeeded remarkable. Convincing human beings totalk to them was a public relations triumph, and the way they have taken over homes and office buildings is a marvel. Once you had to be long-stemmed rose or a Christmas tree to make it socially, but now just about anything can get a twig in the door.

The question is whether they have shot up too fast. The people who stand ready to save endangered plants must be tended carefully if the project is to take root.

There is no question that there are image problems. Some of the plants high in the list are;

The Furbish Lousewort.

The Hairy rattleweed.

The Peryberg Milkvetch.

That is not what you would call super bumper sticker material, is it? "Save the - " Oh, never mind. Honk if you want to pass.

The milkvetch sounds like something that will get you in nursery at night if you sneak junk foods, the hairy rettleweed sounds as if it would inspire a scream if you found it in your bath tub, and the less said about thethe lousewort, the better.

Then there are the Liveforever and the Contracostal Wallflower. Don't you have the feeling that if you were nice to either one of them, you'd never be able to get rid of them?

However, these things will probably be worked out, given the advantages to the cause-ist going in for plant life. Saving a rose by any other name still smells better than trying save Larry Flynt.