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New pools are being created at Greena Moor, a secluded Cornish nature reserve, for the endangered Three-lobed Water Crowfoot Ranunculus tripartitus.

The work was funded by Natural England through their Species Recovery Programme and charitable trusts including the Stuart Heath Charitable Settlement. Nature Reserves Manager Jonathan Stone  have been working to protect the ‘star’ of Greena Moor.

Three-lobed Water Crowfoot is an aquatic member of the buttercup family, the plant has small, white, starry flowers. Like most crowfoots, it has two kinds of leaves; the surface leaves are three-lobed and broad, but the underwater leaves – rarely seen with this species but seen here in this photo – are finely divided and feathery.

The plant was in only two pools

In March 2020, Three-lobed Crowfoot occupied only two small pools near the ford, covering an area of just 7m2, and it was clear that a lack of suitable shallow water bodies was preventing further spread of the species at Greena.

Cows in a field of grass by a gate in Greena Moor

Importance of Grazing

Grazing also plays an important role, helping to control competing vegetation and distributing seed. The cattle grazing at Greena appears ideal, and on the Cornish Lizard heaths Three-lobed Crowfoot has become far more common under similar management conditions.

White flowers with green leaves in a pool of water

10 New Natural Pools

The nature reserves management team have created 10 new pools to encourage more Three-lobed Crowfoot plant. We are very hopeful to seeing similar increases of this beautiful endangered plant over the coming years.

 

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