Flowers on the verge
SOME of Britain’s rarest flowers are now found only on our embattled road verges, reports Plantlife, which has named 10 plants at risk of extinction. They include spiked rampion (above), sulphur clover, crested cow-wheat and wood bittervetch. Since the 1930s, we’ve lost more than 97% of our ancient wildflower meadows and, now, almost 90% of wild plants found on road verges are a refuge for dwindling bee, butterfly, bird, bat and bug species.
‘We must not become complacent,’ says Trevor Dines, the charity’s botanical specialist. ‘Only genuine management for nature will safeguard these and other plants from extinction. Vibrant verges are an oasis of colour in an increasingly grey landscape and they can contribute to our health and wellbeing. For the 23 million people who commute to work by road, the verge is their only daily contact with nature. The procession of colour from bluebells to knapweed through the year brightens our days, keeps us in touch with the changing seasons and provides us with a real sense of place.’
Road verges provide a necessary refuge for many endangered plants