Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Under threat: Scotland's flowers

Lesser butterfly orchid :pic courtesy of plantlife scotland
Wild flower populations are declining across Scotland

One in four species of wild flower in Scotland is under threat according to the campaign group Plantlife Scotland.

Among those flowers most at risk are the corn marigold, heath cudweed, and the lesser butterfly orchid.

The group said the most significant declines are taking place in uplands and farmlands.

Campaigners have called on the government and environmental agencies to protect land where threatened flowers grow.

A report from the conservation charity, entitled 'The Ghost Orchid Declaration', looked at the key issues currently affecting wild plant conservation.

The Ghost Orchid is one of nine wild flowers which have now been declared extinct in Britain.

There is no time to lose and I hope and pray that the loss of the Ghost Orchid will be the wake-up call that we so urgently need
HRH The Prince of Wales
Patron of Plantlife

The Chairman of Plantlife Scotland, Prof Roger Crofts, CBE, said: "We need urgent action by government and its agencies to ensure the survival of plants, the most basic and vital ingredient of life.

"We are not calling for more money, but for better use of existing resources by ensuring that plant restoration and plant conservation are given a higher priority in biodiversity and land management programmes.''

Plantlife Scotland said the places where Scotland's legally protected animals live are protected by law, but the places where legally-protected plants grow are not.

Of the 1,806 priority species on the government's Scottish Biodiversity List, 77% are plants and fungi.

But the campaign group said experts in fungi and lichens had not been replaced upon retirement.

Greater investment

The charity said none of the £4m given in biodiversity research contracts by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee from 2007-2009 had gone towards plant and fungi projects.

The patron of Plantlife, HRH The Prince of Wales, said: "There is no time to lose and I hope and pray that the loss of the Ghost Orchid will be the wake-up call that we so urgently need."

Alasdair Morgan, MSP said: "Scotland's landscapes and our iconic and specialist plants, including heather, twinflower and Scottish primrose, provide key environmental services, underpin our economy and lend us and our visitors a sense of wonder and pride. "

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