British Wildlife 28.4 April 2017

Lost and found: the resurrection of an ‘extinct’ British plant

The UK has very few endemic species, and therefore the apparent loss of the Interrupted Brome, a species whose entire global population is restricted to England, was particularly disappointing. Fortunately, after being declared extinct in the 1970s, a surprising turn of events led to the revival of the species. Peter Marren tells the story, and describes the current status and conservation of this endemic grass. 

Native plants tend not to go extinct. Out of a vascular flora of around 1,500 native or at least long-established species, only a handful have died out during the past few hundred years, and none of them is well known (the Summer Lady’s-tresses Spiranthes aestivalis is perhaps the most famous lost plant).

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