Shepherd’s-needle Scandix pecten-veneris

Status Red - Endangered & Critically Endangered
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This little plant is a member of the carrot family, with groups of small white flowers in umbels and feathery leaves on the stems. The seed pods are very long and thin, held in upright clusters, hence its common name.


It has declined a lot in the last 50 years, and is now restricted to the extreme south-east of England, with a particular stronghold in Suffolk.


Mainly heavy clay soils, and favours disturbed ground, as well as the margins of arable fields.


Classified as Critically Endangered and is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

Key threats

It is threatened mainly by modern agricultural practices, particularly the use of herbicides and fertilisers, the development of highly productive crop varieties, and the loss of field margins.