Where have all the cornflowers gone?
Many of the cornfield flowers that gave brilliance to the summer landscape are now endangered or possibly extinct. The corncockle, pheasant’s eye and even the cornflower are classified as endangered and lamb’s succory and small bur-parsley may be extinct. Farmers are asked to help locate remaining colonies through the Rare Arable Flowers app developed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). Records will be reviewed by an expert before being added to the national database. Markus Wagner of the CEH explains: ‘Wherever crops are planted you find unsown arable flower species, but many species are declining because they aren’t adapted to modern agriculture. We are particularly keen to find corn cleavers, corn buttercup and shepherd’s-needle, which are all critically endangered, but we are also interested in species that are still comparatively widespread, as their monitoring will provide indication as to how well measures for their preservation work.’ Charlotte Cooper