Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

If ninety seven percent of our woodland had been destroyed there would be a national outcry

But, without the roar of chainsaws, meadows can be ploughed up, unnoticed in a matter of hours. After re-seeding, fertiliser encourages vigorous plants that overwhelm more delicate wildflowers. In places where once 150 species of plants could be found, there are now usually fewer than ten. The effect of this has been profound.

Wet wildflower meadow
Wet wildflower meadow (copyright Chris Chapman)

When we ask “where have all the bees and butterflies gone?” the answer is simple: where are all the flowers that support them?

And it’s not just about pollination. The common meadow plant Birds Foot Trefoil, for example, is a food plant for more than 130 different invertebrates. The beetles, grasshoppers, ladybirds, snails, aphids, weevils and shield bugs are just as important. As they disappear, so do the birds and mammals that feed on them.

Our challenge is to conserve what we’ve got left and bring back some of what we’ve lost.

Trevor Dines, Plantlife Botanical Specialist

Trevor Dines
Trevor Dines

Read Ten Key Facts About Meadows