The endangered Purple Milk-vetch, 27 May 2020

Purple Milk-vetch is listed as 'endangered' in the British Vascular Plant Red Data List and is a plant I'd never seen before. It is easily overlooked being small and very low-growing, this combined with its scarcity is probably why!

Its main habitats are species-rich short, dry and infertile calcareous grassland, on both limestone and chalk. Locally the Brecks is its stronghold and it was at Cranwich Camp near Mundford where I caught up with it today. I found it in 3 places including on Cranwich Heath a mile or so away. Also there I saw Small Heath and Common Blue butterflies, Field Mouse-ear, Wild Mignonette, Bladder Campion, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Nipplewort and Colour-changing Forget-me-not. Birds included Willow Warbler, Yellowhammer, Mistle Thrush and Common Whitethroat.  

At a nearby 'Roadside Nature Reserve' I found a very strange pure white Greater Knapweed amongst many of the more normal coloured ones plus aromatic Wild Marjoram

On the way home, a species-rich roadside near Goose Green caught my attention while driving past and closer inspection revealed some lovely Sainfoin and Cut-leaved Cranes-bill amongst the commoner species.

Purple Milk-vetch

Field Mouse-ear

Bladder Campion

Colour-changing Forget-me-not

Greater Knapweed

Greater Knapweed 'var. alba'

Cut-leaved Cranes-bill


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