UAS Ltd – Rare flowering plant found on London to Crewe railway lines

Rare flowering plant found on London to Crewe railway line during preliminary ecological appraisal.

Common name: Pale St John’s Wort
Botanical name: Hypericum montanum
Location: LEC2, 3, 4, 132 miles, 66 chains
OS Grid Reference: SJ 92508, 22064

A rare flowering plant, Pale St John’s Wort, Hypericum montanum, has been discovered during ecological surveys on the London to Crewe railway line, near Stafford.

The flower, depicted below, is listed as “Near-Threatened” in England. It grows in scrub, woodland and rough grassland habitats, especially where gravel or sandy soils lie on top of a chalk substrate. The plant recorded was situated by a disused railway siding, just south of Stafford.

The Utility Arb Solution (UAS) Ecologist who found and identified the plant sent the record to the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI). The society have thanked UAS Ltd and Network Rail for the information, and are delighted with only the third record of this species in Staffordshire since 1945.

Other unusual chalk-loving species found in the siding included Pale Toadflax Linaria repens, Burnet Saxifrage Pimpinella saxifraga, Blue Fleabane Erigeron acer and Fern Grass Catapodium rigidum.

Also found during the surveys was Common Cudweed Filago vulgaris, a plant which can occur in heathy grassland, embankments and disturbed ground. This is actually a misnomer; the plant is not so common and is also listed as a “Near-Threatened” species.

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