Saturday 16 December 2017

Can you help the North West Rare Plant Initiative?

One of the few remaining plants of Genista anglica
at Highfield Moss, 2017
Image: J. Styles
Back in August, we brought you a report on the new North West Rare Plant Initiative (NWRPI) which had just been set up by botanist Josh Styles, known to News & Views readers as a BSBI Plant Study Grant recipient and one of our keenest next generation botanists.

The idea behind the initiative is to earmark species on the cusp of regional extinction, with the intention of reintroducing them into areas where suitable situations exist. 

So the NWRPI has a lot in common with a similar project in Leicestershire called Genebank55.

Joshua exhibited a poster about the initiative at the recent BSBI Exhibition Meeting - if you missed the meeting, you can download Josh's poster from this page.

Gnaphalium sylvaticum
Image: K. Walker
I asked Josh how he was getting on with the initiative and if there was anything BSBI botanists could do to help support him. 

Josh said: "Most species that are considered to be a priority (see a full list of species and their conservation status on my websitehave been obtained and are now in cultivation including species such as Utricularia minor (Lesser Bladderwort), Wahlenbergia hederacea (Ivy-Leaved Bellflower) and Trollius europaeus (Globeflower). 

"I am currently discussing collaboration with Chester Zoo. 

"Though many species have been obtained and are now in cultivation, others cannot be obtained as they are either extinct, or very near extinction regionally. 

"These include: Gnaphalium sylvaticum (Heath Cudweed), Genista anglica (Petty Whin) and Gentiana pneumonanthe (Marsh Gentian). Without intervention, these species are or will soon be extinct in the entire north-west region.

3 of the 5 plants of Gentiana pneumonanthe
left in the region, Highfield Moss, 2017
Image: J. Styles
"Therefore, anyone who could source seed from any of these species would be very much appreciated (any postage and packing charges can be covered by myself). Please email me at to discuss. 

"Find out more on the North West Rare Plant Initiative on my website or download my poster from the BSBI Exhibition Meeting webpage." 

Many thanks to Josh for this update on the North West Rare Plant Initiative - fingers crossed that some of you can help him source seed for some of his target species. We're obviously talking here about seed that has been legally collected and sustainably harvested. If you're in any doubt about what this means, the BSBI Code of Conduct will prove helpful - you can download it from the BSBI Resources page here

If you'd like to find out a bit more about Heath Cudweed and Globeflower, you can download BSBI Species Accounts from this page

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