Spiked rampion Phyteuma spicatum

Status Red - Endangered & Critically Endangered
Best Time to See
Colour
Habitat Woodland

A member of the bellflower family with unusual creamy-white spikes.

According to the fairytale, spiked rampion was the plant Rapunzel stole and as a result was locked in her tower - in fact, on the continent, it is known as 'white Rapunzel'.

It is an erect plant with a basal rosette of leaves and flowering shoots less than a metre tall. Its leaves are often roundly toothed.

Distribution

Native to East Sussex in the UK. Currently it is only present at eight sites (garden escapes have occurred elsewhere in the UK).

Habitat

Grows along the shady edges of paths and rides in woodlands, and in the hedge banks of roadside verges.

Best time to see

Flowers from May to June, with seed heads present up to September.

Status

Classified as Endangered, and is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. Protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981). This makes it an offence to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy any plants. It is also listed as a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Key threats

The main threat to this species is lack of woodland management, leading to over-shading of sites. Other threats include competition from other plant species, consumption by deer, slugs and rabbits and trampling by human activity.

What Plantlife is doing

Plantlife has secured funds from SITA UK Ltd for a project which aims to save spiked rampion - for full details click here.