‘Alien’ species are generally held in low regard by conservationists, but, in the case of plants, the line between native and non-native is increasingly blurred. Recent analyses have indicated that a great many of our most cherished wild flowers are actually old introductions, rather than natives, which could potentially devalue them in the eyes of conservation bodies, and therefore put their survival in the UK at risk. Peter Marren questions our treatment of culturally-important alien plants, and argues for a more pragmatic approach to their conservation.
Not far from where I live there is a large field full of wild crocuses, perhaps the best of its kind in Britain. Inkpen Crocus Field (in fact it is two fields separated by a stream) is the classic site for the Spring Crocus Crocus vernus.