Suffolk: Summer’s wet weather has boosted rare plant life

IT may been one of the wettest summers on record – but the unseasonal weather has been cause for celebration for some.

The damp conditions have caused Suffolk’s wildlife to flourish.

RSPB nature reserves across the county have seen some of its rarest plants thrive – much to the delight of wardens and visitors alike.

At RSPB North Warren, near Aldeburgh, a rare species of campion, called the sand catchfly, has been rediscovered for the first time in 10 years.

Warden Annette Rayner said: “Sand catchfly is only found in a few areas in the UK, so it’s really exciting to find it here. It’s a pretty little flower, but easily missed. ”

A few miles north at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk’s only colony of round-leaved wintergreen continues to flower.

This plant was rediscovered in 2008, having been last recorded near Theberton in 1906.

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Robin Harvey, site manager of RSPB Minsmere, said: “We were very careful to avoid disturbing this plant when the island mere hide was rebuilt last year.

“It’s a very attractive flower, with white petals and a long pink ‘tongue’, making its resemblance similar to an orchid, although the two are not closely related.”

Another rare plant at Minsmere is the red-tipped cudweed, which grows in lightly disturbed soils in a few places around the Suffolk Sandlings and in the Brecks.

“We disturb the soil in a small area and the cudweed has responded brilliantly,” Mr Harvey said.

The Minsmere colony included 1,200 plants this summer – one of the highest ever totals.

“It really has been a wonderful year for many of our flowers which have obviously enjoyed the wet weather,” Mr Harvey continued.

“We’re enjoying some great displays of rare flowers, emphasising the importance of managing our habitats in order to benefit a wide variety of species.”

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