Friday, July 9th 2021
One of the most spectacular sights at Foxglove during the early summer is the wildflower meadow. This has been carefully manged over several years as a haymeadow. The good news is that due to the hard work of staff and volunteers this area has spread.
Yesterday, Martin Hammond, an Ecologist, surveyed this area on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. He explained that the special mix of Purple Moor Grass with other wildflowers made this an internationally rare habitat and one of European significance in terms of biodiversity
One of the flowers that flourishes here is Meadowsweet. This pretty flower is a member of the rose family that favours wet habitats, such as ditches and damp meadows. It is the food plant for lots of species of moth caterpillars, and the flowers are visited by many other invertebrates including bees, hoverflies and ladybirds. Once pollinated, each flower develops into a globular fruit with spiral grooves.
The bad news is that hundreds of invertebrates will be deprived of this vital food source this year at Foxglove as sadly many of the flower heads have been deliberately removed by a thief! They haven't just snipped off a few flower heads but they have 'harvested' large swathes of the flowers leaving behind only the stems which are of little value to the wildlife that relies on them.
This is the second year that this crime has taken place and it has happened in more than one place on the reserve. What a great shame it is that notices have had to be put up in the reserve to remind people that it is an offence to pick wildflowers!
You should not pick any plant on a site designated for its conservation interest, such as Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) in Britain and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI's) in Northern Ireland. Permission for picking from these sites requires prior consent from the appropriate statutory conservation agencies (English Nature, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage or the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland).
It is illegal to pick, uproot or remove plants if by-laws are in operation which forbid these activities, for example on Nature Reserves, Ministry of Defence property or National Trust land. Foxglove Covert LNR falls into two of these categories!
Extra measures are in now in place to protect the flora from further damage. If you have any information about this crime then please get in touch with the Reserve Managers.
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