Plantlife is a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wild plants and fungi. Our team of dedicated conservation experts work with landowners, businesses, conservation organisations, community groups and governments, pushing boundaries to protect the familiar and save our rarest in the plant and fungi kingdoms. Plantlife was instrumental in the creation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
Our nature reserves are home to 3,439 species from all taxon groups. This includes 795 vascular plants, of particular interest to bees. There are also 327 bryophytes, 386 fungi, 147 lichens, 1,511 insects and much more.
Joan’s Hill Farm nature reserve, Herefordshire
On Joan’s Hill Farm nature reserve in Herefordshire, the number of green-winged orchid flowers (a Red List species) increased from zero in 1999 to over 500 spikes in 2015. We protect dark-red helleborine and lily-of-the-valley at Deep Dale in the Peak District; lesser butterfly-orchid and moonwort at Cae Blaen-dyffryn in Carmarthenshire; Dyer’s greenweed and saw-wort at Ryewater Farm in Dorset; and the internationally-rare marsh saxifrage at Munsary in Caithness.
Plantlife’s most bio-diverse reserve, Ranscombe in Kent, our largest in England, has an astonishing 402 vascular plants. We manage our reserves to protect what is there and create the conditions for populations to increase. Plants in need of conservation at Ranscombe include UK Red Data List species: man orchid, ground-pine, broad-leaved cudweed, lady orchid, stinking chamomile, white helleborine, fly orchid, prickly poppy, common cudweed and meadow clary.
Species like narrow-fruited cornsalad, do not receive a great deal of
publicity but do need help. Our assessment of the population at
Ranscombe last year found an estimated 30,000 plants, which must
surely be one of the biggest UK populations. Our management helps
increase the diversity and resilience of plants. The ancient woodland
species, goldilocks buttercup, and the fern, adder’s-tongue, was
recently noted for the first time, while endangered field gromwell has
been identified in our arable fields. And it helps other taxa too. We have recorded some 295 moth species to date, including specialists such as the liquorice piercer, the larvae of which feed on wild liquorice. Other rare and threatened invertebrates seen regularly at Ranscombe include the hornet robber-fly, the brown-banded carder bee, the bryony mining bee and the five-banded weevil-wasp.
meadow clary at Ranscombe
We also work much more widely across Important Plant Areas (IPAs), landscapes we have identified as being of the highest botanical importance – 166 of them, right across the UK. From familiar landscapes such as The Broads, Snowdon and the Cairngorms, to lesser known places with intriguing flora, such as Mwnt in West Wales, Chudleigh Rocks in Dartmoor or the exceptional Mid Cornwall Moors, Plantlife partners communities and land managers work to protect the wild plants which grow in these special habitats and to promote enjoyment and understanding of these extraordinary landscapes.
One of Plantlife’s experts, Tim Pankhurst, works with landowners in the East of England to reverse species declines. The fen orchid occurs on just a few sites and numbers were low enough for this to be on the government list of species most likely to disappear from England forever. Tim has tested different ways of managing fens and helped landowners change to better techniques. This year there were several thousand flower spikes, a huge increase, driven by expertise and hard work. He is now trialling ways to propagate them so they can be reintroduced to sites where they flourished in the past.
We’re on the road to saving the fen orchid but we need to continue this work until the species becomes self sustaining. Tim also has plans for helping many other species in East Anglia, such as fen violet and Spanish catchfly. All this depends on securing funding.
Our expertise has helped landowners plan how to get lowland grassland and heathland back into the favourable condition and provided management advice on rare and declining species, such as basil-thyme, yellow century and purple milk vetch.
fen orchid In 1989, the year Plantlife formed, we made the decision that we wanted to be a membership charity.
That is because members give plant conservation three vital things – a voice, funds and dedication. The more members we have the more decision-makers listen; 23,000 signatures for our road verge campaign have proved this.
Plantlife wants more members. There are only about 7,500 of us. Many county wildlife trusts have four-times as many. The more of us there are, the more conservation we can do. Please will you consider joining us?
We know you love the natural world and want it to be protected for future generations. So we’d like to offer you a 50% discount on your first year of Plantlife membership (usually £36 per year). You will receive our magazine three times a year, invitations to events such as Members’ Day, but most of all you will be contributing to protecting wild plants and fungi and the ecosystems which depend on them.
Joining is easy, just visit our website. When you get to the checkout, just enter ORCHID in the discount code box. If you would like more information to circulate, there are contact details below.
We need as much help as we can get to protect our essential ecosystems and we would love you to be part of Plantlife.
For more information visit www.plantlife.org.uk https://shop.plantlife.org.uk/collections/membership or email email@example.com