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Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 11:54 UK
East Yorkshire nature reserve preserves at risk plant
The Greater Water Parsnip
The Greater Water Parsnip: Once common across the region.

A nature reserve in East Yorkshire is claiming success in preventing an endangered species from disappearing from northern England.

Tophill Low Nature Reserve, near Driffield, has been cultivating the Greater Water Parsnip in ponds across its property.

The plant resembles Cow Parsley, and can grow up to two metres in height.

Once a common sight on the edge of farm fields, the plant is now considered at risk due an increase in agriculture.

The draining of wetlands over the last 200 years has seen a massive decline in its numbers, leaving only small surviving pockets of plants across the country.

A patch of the parsnips were discovered at Hornsea Mere and cuttings were cultivated by volunteers. Over 200 specimens were planted at Tophill Low in the spring.

The plant has thrived at the reserve according to warden Richard Hampshire:

"From what we've discovered we now know where it will grow best. Last year was a bit of an experiment. Whereas now, we've got some strongholds to the point we can actually use them as a nursery to help the plant to colonise new areas."

The Yorkshire Water owned reserve is planning to expand its wetland habitat with the Greater Water Parsnip taking centre stage.


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