Red-tipped cudweed Filago lutescens

Status Red - Endangered & Critically Endangered
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A small plant resembling a tiny thistle but with hidden flowers clustered at its top. Its overall appearance varies from grey to grey-green although sometimes has a characteristic yellowish hue. The plant's name comes from tiny awn-like projections of the flowers which are claret red are their tips. It is often confused with common cudweed (F. vulgaris).


Its numbers have declined dramatically in the last 60 years and it is now found at only about 15 sites in south-east England. There are a number of sites in Surrey, and it is increasing at its site in Essex owing to habitat restoration work.


It grows in disturbed ground such as field margins and tracks, as well as in sandy open places.


Classified as Endangered, it is considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. In addition it is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Key threats

It is mainly threatened by agricultural changes such as the use of herbicides, loss of field margins, loss of crop rotations and the development of highly productive crop varieties.