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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 01:50 GMT 02:50 UK
UK counties choose floral emblems
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent

Bluebells   A Kirby
Bluebells are the nation's favourite
The conservation charity Plantlife International has announced the results of a UK-wide vote held to choose each British county's favourite wild flower.

It says tens of thousands of people took part in the voting, with several counties opting for the same flower.

A round of voting several years ago showed the native bluebell was the nation's outright favourite flower.

Plantlife launched its County Flowers campaign in order to highlight growing threats to the UK's flower species.

Fritillaries   Bob Gibbons/Natural Image
Fritillaries were chosen by Oxfordshire
On average, it says, every county in the UK loses one species of wild plant each year through habitat loss, pollution and intensive farming.

But wild flowers are evocative cultural markers, with poppies (chosen by Essex as its county emblem) signifying remembrance for those who have died in war, and roses used as familiar heraldic devices for more than a thousand years.

Many British place names derive from plants: the Kentish town of Bromley owes its name to the broom, and Ramsey in Cambridgeshire is named for ramson, or wild garlic.

Temporary fame

Plantlife, based in Salisbury, launched the County Flowers campaign in 2002 to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee, asking people to vote for any wild flower that they felt best represented their county.

This time it asked them to choose one of the top two plants chosen in the first round in each of the UK's 109 counties.

Poppies   Bob Gibbons/Natural Image
Poppies are a symbol of remembrance
The foxglove proves the favourite in four counties or cities: Birmingham, Leicestershire, Argyll and Monmouthshire.

Another popular candidate was the cowslip, voted top in Northamptonshire, Surrey and Worcestershire.

Herefordshire voted for mistletoe, which often grows on fruit trees. Many English orchards face destruction as European Union rules on farm subsidies are changing.

Kent made the perhaps predictable choice of the hop: the county was for decades home to many of the hop fields on which British brewers depended.

The favourite flower of Londoners, rosebay willowherb, established itself on many World War II bomb sites, but was virtually unknown before 1890.

ENGLAND Bedfordshire: Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera); Berkshire: Summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum); Birmingham: Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea); Bristol: Maltese-cross (Lychnis chalcedonica); Buckinghamshire: Chiltern gentian (Gentianella germanica); Cambridgeshire: Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris); Cheshire: Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis); Cornwall/Kernow: Cornish heath (Erica vagans); Cumberland: Grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia palustris); Derbyshire: Jacob's ladder (Polemonium caeruleum); Devon: Primrose (Primula vulgaris); Dorset: Dorset heath (Erica ciliaris); County Durham: Spring gentian (Gentiana verna); Essex: Poppy (Papaver rhoeas); Gloucestershire: Wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus); Hampshire: Dog-rose (Rosa canina); Herefordshire: Mistletoe (Viscum album); Hertfordshire: Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris); Huntingdonshire: Water-violet (Hottonia palustris); Isles of Scilly: Thrift (Armeria maritima); Isle of Wight: Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis); Kent: Hop (Humulus lupulus); Lancashire: Red rose (Rosa species); Leeds: Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus); Leicestershire: Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea); Lincolnshire: Common dog-violet (Viola riviniana); Liverpool: Sea-holly (Eryngium maritimum); London: Rosebay willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium); Manchester: Common cotton-grass (Eriophorum angustifolium); Middlesex: Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa); Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus); Norfolk: Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum); Northamptonshire: Cowslip (Primula veris); Northumberland: Bloody crane's-bill (Geranium sanguineum); Nottingham: Nottingham catchfly (Silene nutans); Nottinghamshire: Autumn crocus (Crocus nudiflorus); Oxfordshire: Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris); Rutland: Clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata); Sheffield: Wood crane's-bill (Geranium sylvaticum); Shropshire: Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia); Somerset: Cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus); Staffordshire: Heather (Calluna vulgaris); Suffolk: Oxlip (Primula elatior); Surrey: Cowslip (Primula veris); Sussex: Round-headed rampion (Phyteuma orbiculare); Warwickshire: Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum); Westmoreland: Alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris); Wiltshire Burnt orchid (Orchis ustulata); Worcestershire: Cowslip (Primula veris); Yorkshire: Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia); Isle of Man: Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica);

NORTHERN IRELAND Antrim: Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia); Armagh: Cowbane (Cicuta virosa); Belfast: Gorse (Ulex europaeus); Derry: Purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia); Down: Spring squill (Scilla verna); Fermanagh: Globeflower (Trollius europaeus); Tyrone: Bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia);

SCOTLAND Aberdeenshire: Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi); Angus/Forfarshire: Alpine catchfly (Lychnis alpina); Argyllshire: Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea); Ayrshire: Green-winged orchid (Orchis morio); Banffshire: Dark-red helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens); Berwickshire: Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium); Buteshire: Thrift (Armeria maritima); Caithness: Scots primrose (Primula scotica); Clackmannanshire: Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium); Cromartyshire: Spring cinquefoil (Potentilla tabernaemontani); Dumfriesshire: Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia); Dunbartonshire: Lesser water-plantain (Baldellia ranunculoides); East Lothian/Haddingtonshire: Viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare); Edinburgh: Sticky catchfly (Lychnis viscaria); Fife: Coralroot orchid (Corallorrhiza trifida); Glasgow: Broom (Cytisus scoparius); Inverness-shire: Twinflower (Linnaea borealis); Kinross-shire: Holy-grass (Hierochloe odorata); Kirkcudbrightshire: Bog-rosemary (Andromeda polifolia); Lanarkshire: Dune helleborine (Epipactis leptochila); Morayshire: One-flowered wintergreen (Moneses uniflora); Nairnshire: Chickweed wintergreen (Trientalis europaea); Orkney: Alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpinus); Peebles-shire: Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus); Perthshire: Alpine gentian (Gentiana nivalis); Renfrewshire: Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata); Ross-shire: Bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum); Roxburghshire: Maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides); Selkirkshire: Mountain pansy (Viola lutea); Shetland: Shetland mouse-ear (Cerastium nigrescens); Stirlingshire: Scottish dock (Rumex aquaticus); Sutherland: Grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia palustris); West Lothian/Linlithgowshire: Common spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii); Western Isles: Hebridean spotted-orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii subspecies hebridensis); Wigtownshire: Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus);

WALES Anglesey/Sir Fon: Spotted rock-rose (Tuberaria guttata); Brecknockshire/Sir Frycheiniog: Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis); Caernarvonshire/Sir Gaernarfon: Snowdon lily (Lloydia serotina); Cardiff/Caerdydd: Wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum); Cardiganshire/Ceredigion: Bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia); Carmarthenshire/Sir Gaerfyddin: Whorled caraway (Carum verticillatum); Denbighshire/Sir Ddinbych: Limestone woundwort (Stachys alpina); Flintshire/Sir Fflint: Bell Heather (Erica cinerea); Glamorgan/Morgannwg: Yellow Whitlow-grass (Draba aizoides); Merioneth/Merionnydd: Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica); Monmouthshire/Sir Fynwy: Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea); Montgomeryshire/Sir Drefaldwyn: Spiked speedwell (Veronica spicata); Pembrokeshire/Sir Benfro: Thrift (Armeria maritima); Radnorshire/Sir Faesyfed: Radnor lily (Gagea bohemica).

Fritillary and poppy images courtesy and copyright of Bob Gibbons/Natural Image.

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