Wednesday 22 May
Fen ragwort (Senecio paludosus)
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Fen ragwort fact file
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Fen ragwort description
- Height: up to 200 cm (2)
Fen ragwort biologyTop
Fen ragwort range
This species was once known from Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire. It was first recorded in England in 1660 (6), and by 1857 it was believed to have become extinct in the UK, until in 1972 (6) a single plant was re-discovered in Cambridgeshire (5). It has since been reintroduced to five sites in its former range, including Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve (2) and Flag Fen in Peterborough (5).Top
Fen ragwort habitatTop
Fen ragwort statusTop
Fen ragwort threats
The cause of the decline of this species is due to the widespread drainage of fenland habitats and their conversion to arable land (5).Top
Fen ragwort conservation
Fen ragwort was one of the first plants to be included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme (5). This programme is funding the conservation of the species in collaboration with Anglian Water. Measures that have been taken to help the species escape extinction in the UK include reintroductions to former sites, and research into the ecological requirements of the plant, carried out by the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (2). A nursery has been established for rearing plantlets, grown from the seeds of the last remaining plant (5), and populations are carefully monitored (7). The fen ragwort is fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 (4).Top
Find out more
For more information on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:
Information authenticated by Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity:
- Plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
- Hilton-Taylor, C. (compiler) 2000. 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xviii + 61pp. Downloaded on 21 March 2002. http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=33728
- Wicken Fen (March 2002): www.demon.co.uk/ecoln/wicken_fen/sprecov.html#Senecio
- JNCC (March 2002): www.jncc.gov.uk/species/pstatus/p2_1.htm
- JNCC (March 2002): www.jncc.gov.uk/species/protect/plants.htm
- English Nature (March 2003): www.english-nature.org.uk/news/story.asp?ID=284
- Mabey, R. (1996). Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London
- English Nature (March 2003): www.english-nature.org.uk/science/srp/fen_ragwort.htm
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