Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Small Flowered Catchfly – Guest Blog

Small Flowered Catchfly

Primarily focused on attracting dog walkers to enjoy acres of space where dogs can run free, Dawlish Countryside Park has begun its mission to combat increasing pressure from visitors at nearby sensitive wildlife sites.  Some may think of it as a sacrificial site, but look closer and you will discover there is a Park bursting with character with some wildlife success stories too!

We have been delighted to host the reintroduction of Small-flowered Catchfly at the Park with very encouraging results already. Sown within our existing barley plots in the summer, this attractive little plant has embraced living within our sandy soils and has begun to flourish. A total of 100,000 seeds were spread and we look forward to carrying out a full survey to confirm numbers of successfully established plants in due course.

Our management regime of organically sown spring barley as a spacious sward is key to its survival allowing enough light and lack of competition for it to thrive. The barley is harvested in late September providing winter stubbles for our existing Cirl Bunting’s, and the plant will benefit from the soil disturbance in spring.

A small member of the Campion family, it grows to around 30cm in height with  distinctive white hairs covering the whole plant. The upper part of the plant has sticky white hairs giving it it’s name ‘catchfly’. With pinky-white flowers apparent in the summer months it also displays the familiar bladder below the flower head.  Happily living amongst Barley, Corn Marigold, Charlock and other arable plants, the Small-flowered Catchfly is a welcome sight within a brand new Countryside Park.

Following on from the success of the Small-flowered Catchfly population near Salcombe we are extremely pleased to host this very rare little plant and encourage it to prosper further along the South Devon coastline.

 

Jon Steward

Countryside Ranger

Dawlish Countryside Park

 

 

Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.

 

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