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This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
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A evergreen woody climbing wild plant, commonly seen on old walls and tree trunks.
Ivy is often found carpeting the ground or growing up walls and trees.
Its flowers bloom in an umbrella-like spread. In fact the term for such a bloom – an ‘umbel’ – derives from the same source as umbrella – umbra, the Latin word for shade.
It’s leaves are dark green glossy above, paler below. On flowering shoots leaves are pointed oval.
Widespread throughout the UK.
Woods, hedgerows, rocks and walls. Very commonly found on tree trunks.
Flowers September to November.
The Fibrous Waxcap (Hygrocybe intermedia) is an uncommon to occasional find in most of Britain and Ireland except in some parts of Wales, where it is more frequently recorded. Most often seen in unimproved grassland and, occasionally, in sand-dune systems.
The bright right orange (with hints of yellow) cap, fades and sometimes blackening with age.
The Blackening Waxcap
This autumn, help Plantlife find Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
‘O perilous fyr, that in the bedstraw bredeth’ – Chaucer, “The Merchant’s Tale”
Also known as ‘yellow bedstraw’, a frothy blossom with a wonderful honey scent.
A very distinctive plant with soft clusters of bright yellow flowers that smell of hay. The leaves are narrow, dark green and in whorls. It often creeps amongst grasses, sending up tall flowering stems in summer.
It is related to the plant cleavers, or ‘Sticky Willy’ Galium aparine.
Lady’s bedstraw can be found growing across the UK.
Meadows, road verges, cliff tops, hedges, dunes and other grassy places.
In the summer months, when in bloom and producing its scent.
One of our rarer plants, its pretty pale yellow flowers liven up our dunes.
This wild flower is difficult to spot as it is small (around 8cm tall) and inconspicuous. The leaves wrap around the bottom of the single stem which supports several flowers towards the top of the plant.
The orchid is dependent on the unique, open conditions of fenland, a naturally marshy area. Fen orchid needs wet areas with bare sand, short grasses and a lot of calcium in the soil.
The species has declined due to habitat loss as a result of wetland being reclaimed for agricultural use or fens being allowed to “scrub over” and slowly revert to woodland. Plantlife has worked with Suffolk Wildlife Trust to translocate Fen Orchid to restored habitats.
The majority of the Fen Orchid populations were lost through drainage and in the late 20th Century through peat digging and mowing. Other threats include climate change, inappropriate water and habitat management.
After a decade of research and partnership work, the orchid has been re-discovered at former sites and the total population has risen through proper management.
Become a grassland guardian and help restore 10,000 hectares of species-rich grassland by 2030. Donate today.
A prickly, sprawling evergreen shrub in the Cypress family with short spiky leaves.
Juniper blooms with small yellow flowers, followed by ‘berries’ – actually fleshy cones, that start green but ripen to blue-black.
These are famously used to flavour gin and certain meat dishes particularly game and venison. Used whole they impart a bitter, crunchy bite to savoury dishes. In fact, the word “Gin” derives from either genièvre or jenever – the French and Dutch words for “juniper”
Juniper is dioecious, which means that it is either male or female, unlike most tree species. The form of individual bushes varies from being low and prostrate at the one extreme to cylindrical and conical at the other.
In the Saving England’s Lowland Juniper project, Plantlife joined forces with landowners, supported by Natural England, to revitalise Juniper across southern England. 48 patches of land at nine sites in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire were scraped back to create a grassland habitat suitable for Juniper to regenerate.
Tephroseris integrifolia subsp. maritima
The South Stack Fleawort is found along a small section of the North Wales Coastal Path on Ynys Gybi (Holy Island).
Found only between Parth Dafarch and RSPB South Stack Nature Reserve
Grassy cliff tops and vegetated gullies
May and early June
Plantlife supports a project to understand why this subspecies of Fleawort is only found in this small area of Ynys Gybi and the ecological requirements of the plants.
The Tufted Saxifrage population in Wales grows on just a couple of boulders where it is extremely threatened by spring droughts and lack of winter snow cover.
Just 2 small boulders at one site in Wales and a number of sites in Scotland.
Cliff ledges and boulders on calcium rich rocks in Eryri and the Scottish Highlands
This species flowers from May through to early June however the inaccessibility of its sites makes it a very difficult species to see in the wild.
Tufted Saxifrage was first discovered in the wild in Wales in 1796 but wasn’t seen between the late 1800’s and the 1950’s when it was rediscovered by Evan Roberts (the first warden of Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve).
In the 1970’s its population was bolstered by a conservation reintroduction and it saw a population high in the 1980’s. Since then it has seen a steady decline and the Welsh population of Tufted Saxifrage now (2023) numbers just seven plants in the wild.
Through the Tlysau Mynydd Eryri Project (part of Natur am Byth!) we are successfully cultivating Welsh Tufted Saxifrage plants with a plan to enable them to move higher up the mountains of Eryri to sites where they will see snow for longer in the winter.
Read about Natur am Byth! A Green Recovery project to save vulnerable species from extinction in Wales, including the Tufted Saxifrage
Saxifraga rosacea subsp. rosacea
The Irish Saxifrage was once found in Wales too. Its upright buds and bright white flowers distinguish it clearly from the other ‘mossy’ saxifrages found in the British Isles.
Several localities in Ireland and once known from just one locality in Eryri, Wales.
Calcium rich rock ledges and crevices.
You can see this species flowering in cultivation at the National Botanic Garden of Wales during May and June
Rosy Saxifrage is extinct in the wild in Wales. It was last seen in the wild in Wales in the 1960’s.
Richard Roberts discovered a piece of a plant that had been washed down from a cliff whilst he was leading a group on a geology walk. Noticing it was something different he took the piece of plant home and grew it. All the Welsh Rosy Saxifrage material now kept in cultivation came from that small piece of plant. Through the Tlysau Mynydd Eryri Project (part of Natur am Byth!) we plan to reintroduce Rosie Saxifrage to the wild again in Wales.
A flower of the west coast, the largest colonies of Spotted Rock-rose lie on Anglesey’s Holy Island, where it is also the county flower.
Its distinct crimson-spotted flowers are matched by red-flushed leaves.
A handful of colonies on Ynys Mon (Anglesey), Ynys Gybi (Holy Island) and the Llyn Peninsula in Wales. The only location it can be found on the British mainland is at the very end of the Llyn Peninsula
Dry, rocky places.
Flowers from June to August
To see the spotted rock-rose in full bloom you have to catch it at just the right time. It flowers only once during its lifetime and sheds its vivid petals within hours of doing so.
The county flower of Anglesey (Cor-rosyn rhuddfannog) in Welsh is one of the priority species for the partnership project Natur am Byth!. Plantlife are working with the RSPB, Natural Resources Wales and a range of other organisations and individuals to ensure this species is protected and more fully understood. Through working with the RSPB to undertake a full review and baseline survey of the species in 2022 we now have the data at our fingertips to enable this species’ future conservation.
Each plant has a small rosette of hairy ragged leaves that are dark green above but whitish and hairy underneath. They’re rounded at the tips and not toothed. The flowers are carried on long stems from the centre of these rosettes, up to 30cm tall. Each narrow and tightly packed bloom – one per stem – is like a dandelion but a paler lemon yellow in colour. They are followed by fluffy seed heads.
Found throughout the UK, but rarer in north-west Scotland.
Grows in dry grassy places like meadows, pastures, verges, lawns, heaths and dunes as well as waste ground.
When in flower, from May to August.
Mouse-ear Hawkweed at Brockles Field
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