Thursday, 7 September 2017

Leek-coloured Hawkweed, thought extinct, now refound in Derbyshire

Rhodri Thomas, Natural Environment & Rural
Economy Team Manager, Peak District National
Park, examines the Leek-coloured Hawkweed
Image: Alex Hyde
Image reproduced courtesy of
Peak District National Park Authority
Many thanks to Alison Riley, Comms Officer at the Peak District National Park Authority, for getting in touch with the exciting news that BSBI member Tim Rich has refound Leek-coloured Hawkweed, thought to be extinct, in the National Park. 

Alison said "Two small populations of the Leek-coloured Hawkweed Hieracium subprasinifolium, 62 plants in total, have been found flowering on the banks of the Monsal Trail, in Chee Dale.

"The discovery was made by Dr Tim Rich while collecting seeds for Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank".

Alison also points out that Leek-coloured hawkweed was first discovered in Great Rocks Dale in the Peak District Dales in 1898 by Rev. E. F. Linton whose brother William Linton wrote the first Flora of Derbyshire. E.F. Linton recorded it at the original site in 1903 and also discovered it at Chee Dale, which is now the only known location in the world where the plant is found. 


Close-up of the Leek-coloured Hawkweed
Image: Alex Hyde
Image reproduced courtesy of
Peak District National Park Authority
Both sites (Chee Dale and Great Rocks Dale) are owned by the Peak District National Park and managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Hieracium subprasinifolium was not described as a species new to science until 1942.

Tim Rich said: “Leek-coloured Hawkweed has not been seen in Derbyshire for over 60 years and is thought to have died out at its only other known world site in Staffordshire a few years ago, so I was very, very pleased to find these two small but healthy populations growing near the Monsal Trail. 

"Hawkweeds are fascinating and unusual plants, we know of more than 400 species of hawkweed in Britain. Many are very uncommon or rare, and include British hawkweed, Dales hawkweed and Derby hawkweed, which are unique to the Peak District.”