Perfoliate penny-cress Microthlaspi perfoliatum

Status Amber - Vulnerable and Near-Threatened
Best Time to See

A small greyish plant with a cluster of white flowers at the top of the stem. The bottom of its distinctively pointed leaves completely encircle the flower stem so that the stem is, in fact, perforating the leaf, hence “perfoliate” penny-cress.


It grows mainly in the Cotswolds, and has probably always been rare in Britain. It is sometimes seen in other places in southern England, but only on a casual basis.


Bare places on limestone soils, or on old walls.


It is classified as Vulnerable and protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Key threats

It is mainly threatened by the removal of old hedges, walls, and banks, the ploughing and levelling of rough land, the increased use of fertilisers and herbicides, and the neglect of marginal land leading to the growth of tough, coarse, smothering plants.