New champion for common poppy
Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, has become the latest politician to sign up as a "Species Champion", pledging to stand up for the striking symbol of Remembrance.
I’m delighted that Tracey is championing this iconic wild flower and supporting the brilliant work of all the staff and volunteers at Ranscombe Farm, Plantlife's largest nature reserve in England, where spectacular displays of poppies occur every year.
Despite its name, the Common Poppy (Paperva rhoeas) is now mostly confined to field margins and gateways, roadsides and wasteland, as it is sensitive to the herbicides used on many farms. Poppies belong to UK’s most threatened group of plants – arable flowers – for which Ranscombe is internationally important. Four other types of poppy are also found at Ranscombe Farm (long-headed poppy, opium poppy, rough poppy and prickly poppy).
Tracey joined fellow MPs at an evening reception in Parliament on Monday 3 July to mark the first anniversary of the Species Champions project. Richard Benyon MP, a Plantlife Trustee, hosted the gathering of politicians and species conservation groups, stressing the vital role of Species Champion MPs in championing strong protection for wildlife as the UK prepares to exit the EU.
In total, more than 160 politicians have become Species Champions, pledging to support our native wildlife by speaking up for species conservation in their constituencies and in Cardiff, Holyrood and Westminster.
A huge diversity of bees, butterflies, birds and other animals depend on our wild plants, creating a vibrant and colourful ecosystem. We need the support of our politicians as well as local councils, farmers and communities to really make a difference for nature.