Over the next 2 weeks 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.
This involves counting fritillary plants, both those in flower and vegetative plants which have between one and seven leaves. Although flowering fritillaries are easy to see, the vegetative plants can just look like blades of grass and greatly outnumber the flowering plants. Normally this work is carried out by around 40 volunteer recorders. Covid restrictions have reduced the number of recorders on site this year.
The fritillary plants are recorded in 320 1m by 1m quadrats which are positioned in the same location each year using a GPS accurate to 2cm. The position of the quadrats is shown on the map above.
This research is followed by a full botanical survey later in the year. The Floodplain Meadow Partnership have been carrying out research on North Meadow for over 20 years. You can find out more about their work from the latest Spring Newsletter .