UK: Rare buttercup found in Shropshire field


photograph of rare plant in field

Ranunculus arvensis (Corn buttercup) was once a common sight in the UK. The spiky seed heads (shown in the image) lend the plant its other vernacular names of Devil's claws, Devil-on-all-sides, and Hellweed. Image © Shropshire Wildlife Trust


Botanists in Shropshire were delighted last week when they discovered Ranunculus arvensis growing at Pimhill Farm. The plant hadn't been recorded for 50 years and was believed to be extinct in the county.

The rarity was found during an arable weeds training course run by Shropshire Wildlife Trust's conservation officer, Fiona Gomersall, who said: "This is very exciting find. It's wonderful that this plant is still alive in Shropshire. Penhill Farm has been organic for 61 years so it has had the best chance of survival here."

The buttercup used to be a common agricultural plant but is now found in only a few scattered locations. A victim, like so many, of intensive agricultural techniques.

Related links:

Find out more about Field Studies Council training courses

Ranunculus arvensis on ARKive

Ranunculus arvensis on UK Biodiversity Action Plan (link to JNCC pdf)

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