Fritillary Count on North Meadow

Research on North Meadow

The fritillaries are still looking spectacular, most are now in flower and some have stared to form seed heads.

Over the next few days you may see Natural England and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership carrying out research on North Meadow, recording the  Snakes Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris). North Meadow is home to 80% of  the UK population of this nationally scarce plant. Continue reading “Fritillary Count on North Meadow”

Spectacular Fritillary Display

Now is a great time to see this year’s spectacular fritillary display. The picture above was taken last Saturday and shows huge numbers of fritillaries in flower.

On a sunny day the meadow will have a purple bloom as the majority of fritillary flowers are purple. There are also white flowers which are the same species and these are less common, about 7% of the total.

Only about 20% of the fritillary plants flower each year. The majority of mainly young plants are non-flowering, some with only a single leaf which resembles a blade of grass. The Floodplain Meadows Partnership who carry out research on North Meadow have produced a leaflet explaining the life cycle of Snakes Head Fritillaries.

Bring your binoculars to get the best view of the display which is even better from a low viewpoint. Please remember to stay on the path. Continue reading “Spectacular Fritillary Display”

Lots of Fritillaries but only a few in flower

There are large numbers of fritillaries and a few have started to flower. They are still very difficult to see as the picture above taken on Friday 29th March shows. Only a about 20% of the fritillary plants in the meadow flower each year.

Vegetative Fritillary Plants
Vegetative Fritillary Plants

The younger plants stay in a vegetative state for several years, even the older plants only flower if the environmental conditions are favourable. The Floodplain Meadows Partnership have produced a leaflet describing the life cycle of the fritillaries . The vegetative plants can easily be mistaken for grass as the adjacent picture shows. They are very easily trampled and damaged at this stage. Continue reading “Lots of Fritillaries but only a few in flower”