Field fleawort Tephroseris integrifolia ssp. integrifolia

Status
Best Time to See
Colour
Habitat Grassland

Field fleawort is part of the daisy family.

A slender plant, with a single stem and a rosette of leaves about its base, it produces 1-10 orange-yellow flowers flowering in May and June.

Distribution

In England it is confined to the south, particularly the Chilterns, Dorset, the Cotswolds and the South Downs. Field fleawort of the nominate ssp. integrifolia is not present in Wales, Scotland or Ireland but the endemic ssp. maritima occurs on Anglesey.

Habitat

This native plant grows on shallow soils over chalk or more rarely on oolitic limestone. It occurs mainly on south-facing short grassland and downland in lowland areas and favours ancient earthworks and tracks which create a suitable micro-climate.

Status

Classified as ‘Endangered’ and is included as a species “of principal importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity” under Section 41 (England) of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

Key threats

These are not fully understood but include agricultural improvement of grasslands through application of artificial fertilisers, ploughing of grassland to create arable land and re-seeding with more vigorous grass varieties. Abandonment or discontinuity of livestock grazing has resulted in scrub encroachment or replacement of short extremely species-rich communities with coarse less diverse swards. It has declined on some sites that appear well managed and retain otherwise diverse calcareous grassland.

Best time to see

May and June when flowering.