Small cow-wheat is a hemiparasitic plant, this means that it can obtain nutrients from other plants, but can also live independently due to the presence of a root system and the green pigment chlorophyll. It is an annual species, and flowers from June to August (4).
A locally occurring species in northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with historic records from Wales. It has become extinct in 70% of the former UK range (3). This species is endemic to Europe, with strongholds in Scandinavia, the Alps and the Balkans (3).
Current threats to the species include agricultural intensification, with fertiliser application at woodland edges, over grazing in woodlands or the abandonment of grazing, and the planting of non-native tree species (4).
Small cow-wheat is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species, the Species Action Plan aims to halt the decline before the year 2005 and return the species to five sites from which it has been lost by 2010 (3). It occurs in three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), which are managed as reserves (3).
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
A group of green pigments found in photosynthetic organisms (photosynthesis is a metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is reduced, using energy absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product).
Plant that obtains some nutrition from a host plant, but is able to survive independently as it possesses the pigment chlorophyll and a root system.
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