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Spring gentian (Gentian verna) arguably the most iconic of the rare plants of Teesdale, emblem of County Durham

Spring Gentian: M Rogers

Plants under threat

Found nowhere else in mainland Britain, the Spring Gentian, along with the other rare flowers and sedges of Upper Teesdale, faces an uncertain future. Recent surveys show the shocking result that, on average, the special plants have gone from over half of the areas they grew in forty years ago. This includes Spring Gentian, Yellow Saxifrage and Alpine Cinquefoil.

Climate Change - Will the Tiny Giants Survive?


Botanists Dr. Margaret Bradshaw and John O'Reilly talk about the challenges faced by Teesdale Special Flora Trust to conserve the rare plants of Upper Teesdale

Spring Sandwort (Sabulina verna) widely scattered on mining spoil in Teesdale

The ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ of rare plants is considered to have survived continuously since shortly after the last Ice Age. 

Spring Sandwort: G Chaytor

Birds-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa) on Widdybank Fell M Rogers

The latest surveys show that many of the rare species are declining fast!   

Bird's-eye Primrose: M Rogers

Iconic meadow plants of Upper Teesdale

Upper Teesdale is one of the top 5 ‘botanical hotspots’ in Britain and Ireland.

Teesdale Meadow: M Rogers

Dwarf Milkwort (Polygala amarella) in flower on Widdybank Fell. On Widdybank Fell flowers are blue whilst Cronkley Fell has both pink and blue flowered plants.

Upper Teesdale has attracted plant hunters since the 17th century and new species continue to be discovered today.

Dwarf Milkwood: ME Bradshaw

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