Identifying which areas capture how many species is the first question in conservation planning. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aspires to formal protection of at least 17% of the terrestrial world and, through the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, 60% of plant species. Are these targets of protecting area and species compatible? We show that 67% of plant species live entirely within regions that comprise 17% of the land surface. Moreover, these regions include most terrestrial vertebrates with small geographical ranges. However, the connections between the CBD targets of protecting area and species are complex. Achieving both targets will be difficult because regions with the most plant species have only slightly more land protected than do those with fewer.