The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
Known only from S. Britain, although formerly also at one locality in SW. France (where it became extinct following construction of greenhouses: fide the late R.B. Pierrot, in litt .). Except for a single locality in Monmouthshire, all British records are from England, from Cheshire southwards. It has declined greatly, with all records since 2000 being from two sites in Cornwall.
Formerly very local, with scattered records on the coast and inland dating from the 1960s. Extant at two sites (S. of Portscatho; near Talland Bay); last recorded in 1999 at a third site (Pentire Point East).
Habitat & Ecology
Grows on moist, nearly bare, non-calcareous soil, often in small quantity, on earthy banks and beside tracks, on cliffs, on soil on Cornish hedges and on banks on the edge of fields inland. Capsules are plentiful, maturing from February to May.
Habitats of this species are typically unstable sites on loamy soils that are prone to erosion or shading by taller plants. The main threats to the two extant populations arise from shading as taller vegetation colonises. Annual management of the habitat has been carried out at the site S. of Portscatho by English Nature/Natural England. The former site at Pentire Point East has also been cleared of scrub by N.E. in the hope that the species will reappear from spores.
The site S. of Portscatho is protected as a SSSI; documentation has been prepared to facilitate SSSI notification of the site at Talland Bay. The species is listed as Endangered in the UK Red-list (Church et al. , 2001), as Endangered in Europe and covered by the UK BAP. It has been proposed as an addition to Schedule 8 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act. Material cultivated ex-situ is in cryopreservation at RBG Kew.
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.