BritishFlora

Grow to Order and Seed Collection

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Courtesy of BritishFlora

Local provenance planting is important to help restore our natural habitats and retain the genetic integrity of plant populations and is strongly recommended for projects within or near environmentally sensitive areas. Forward planning is essential when undertaking local provenance seed collection as there are seasonal constraints such as seed maturation time, finding seed donor sites and gaining collection permissions. BritishFlora are experts in the field of rare and native species re-introduction, seed collection and propagation and a summary of some of our project experience is below:

Fleet Pond SSSI, Common Reed:

The Fleet Pond Society commisioned BritishFlora in 2011-2012 to propagate 10,000 common reed, Phragmites communis for creation of reedbed areas within the important environmentally sensitive area of Fleet Pond SSSI. Fleet Pond is the largest fresh water lake in Hampshire covering an area of 21 hectares. Seed was collected by BritishFlora staff in conjunction with the Fleet Pond Society. The reed plants are establishing well in our purpose built wetbeds and will be ready for volunteer planting in 2013.

Olympic Park, Black Poplar Trees and Wildflowers

BritishFlora grew over 800 native Black Poplar Populus nigra ssp. Betulifolia, one of Britain’s rarest trees, for planting along water courses and floodplains; 200 of which have been supplied to the Olympic Park. Propagation materials in the form of whips were collected from Native Black Poplar trees in Aylesbury, that were genetically tested and clones were identified. The trees were grown in 200 Litre geotextile bags, tagged and monthly inspections of tree growth and general health were undertaken. BritishFlora are a registered producer and supplier of Native Black Poplar with the Forestry Commission.

We also grew 10,000 herbaceous native British Provenance species for planting in the Olympic Park including woodland understorey plants and wildlfower species such as Bugle, Sweet Woodruff and Spiny Restharrow.

Legacy Planting Olympic Park

As a result of the sucessful grow to order for the Olympic Park BritishFlora have been commissioned to grow half a million British Provenance wildflower species for legacy planting on the Olympic Park for supply in 2013.

Hodnett By-pass:

The Hodnett by-pass project saw the creation of 4 ha of new wetlands in the Tern Valley. BritishFlora collected sufficient local provenance seed and plant material to supply over 40,000 wildflower, heathland and aquatic plants, with licences being obtained from Natural England to collect seed from Hodnet Heath Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI). This project is considered to be at the cutting edge of habitat enhancements and has provided a wildlife haven in the valley of Hodnet meaning ‘peaceful valley’.

Carex vulpina, True Fox sedge

As part of a nationally important restoration project BritishFlora provided horticultural expertise to Aylesbury Vale DC and Oxforshire Wildlife Trust to grow the nationally threatened sedge, Carex vulpina. This sedge only occurs along wet ditches and rivers in a few isolated sites in Southern England and to safeguard this population seed was collected from nine parent plants in different localities to maintain as much genetic diversity.

BritishFlora provided a total of 800 plants, which are thriving in situ in protected locations in the Upper River Ray. We are holding plants and seed in stock should any further restoration projects be planned in the future in this area or other southern counties.

Hog’s Fennel and Fisher’s Estuarine Moth

In 2008 BritishFlora helped Writtle College to re-establish the nationally rare plant sea hog’s fennel, Peucadanum officinale. Sea hog’s fennel is the sole larval foodplant of the European Protected Fisher’s estuarine moth restricted to a few suitable sites along the Essex coastline. This rare larval foodplant was re-introduced to 19 sites along the Essex coastline, which are showing very positive signs of establishment and colonisation.

BritishFlora currently hold wild flower crops for seed harvesting of this rare species and produce plugs each year for conservation re-introduction projects.

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