Flow­ers on the verge

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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