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A nice little initiative

One species that rather neatly sums up where we are conservation wise these days is the beautiful dyer's greenweed Genista tinctoria.  This small shrub is found on old lowland grassland on calcareous to slightly acidic clay soils.  The loss of these meadows since the 1940's has resulted in this species undergoing a significant decline in the south-east. 

I got used to seeing this plant whilst I was surveying for natterjack toads on parts of the Cumbrian coast in the 1980's where it grows in a different habitat, dune slacks, however in the south-east if I associate it with any habitat it has to be roadside verges.  And here it has been the beneficiary of a neat little scheme to conserve relict areas of grassland growing by the road side and protect them from damaging mowing regimes.

One example of this scheme can be viewed in shocking yellow just to the east of Windmill Hill at the turn-off to Ashburnham and Battle.  A stunning little sheet of vivid yellow blooms.

All of which contrasts markedly with the general absence of this plant in meadows, with the exception of a number of fields that are being managed as Sites of Special scientific Interest, and in the Hastings Country Park.  It would be good to use seed from such roadside nature reserves to get this species back into some of our meadows to restore such scenes onto a wider canvas.


Reader Comments (2)

Several clumps of Dyer's Greenweed on the verges along the A28 just west of Westfield in the same verge scheme. Also plenty on a private farm at Three Oaks managed under agri-environment schemes, where it has been deliberately allowed to seed. It has now spread over quite large areas of lightly grazed grassland in less than 20 years.
July 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalph Hobbs
Dyers Greenweed can also be seen on A28 verges between baldslow and westfield!
July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterT English

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