Saxifraga hirculus   Marsh Saxifrage RRR DD N

Saxifraga hirculus habitat Saxifraga hirculus flower close Saxifraga hirculus whole

We were shown this in bud on special trip into the western Teesdale moors in June but it didn't look anything special. A month later I revisited the site which is a boggy slope on bleak limestone hills and the flowering plants were everywhere and looked magnificent.

This is a very a species whose habitat is disappearing and which is under threat but here it looks as though it thrives. Local botanists have noticed that sheep are often to be found grazing at exactly the boggy sites where Saxifraga hirculus grows which means that they eat some of these very rare plants. On the other hand they keep down the vegetation which might begin to compete and swamp these quite small plants. Nearby there is a fenced off bit of land managed by English Nature who don't recognise the advantages of sheep grazing. The Saxifraga hirculus seems to be growing as well inside the fence as outside but time will tell whether the sheep are on the whole an advantage or a disadvantage.

There are only two strongholds for this rare plant: the north west of Ireland and this area of the western pennines. elsewhere there is the occasional record in Scotland and Ireland but none in southern England and Wales.

Saxifraga hirculus

Saxifraga hirculus Marsh Saxifrage

Knock Ore Gill, Western Teesdale Pennines 24th July 2008

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Saxifraga hirculus Marsh Saxifrage

Moor Reserve near Knock Ore Gill, Western Teesdale Pennines 24th July 2008

Added on 1st August 2008, updated 29th January 2012

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