BSBI scarce:


BSBI Scarce Plants Recorded From Essex.



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N.B. some of these taxa (list based on BSBI Scarce Plants, 1994) have now been given RDB status (see above),                                                                      others however have been demoted from the RDB3 list to this list. 

BLUE – detailed account       RED – being compiled             GREEN - Extinct

Aceras anthropophorum (L.) Aiton.f

Man Orchid

rare native, 3 extant sites, 2 sites have single plants, 1 has around eight hundred

Aconitum napellus L


garden escape only in Essex

[Ajuga chamaepitys (L.) Schreber]

Ground Pine

extinct [see RDB list].  

Allium oleraceum L

Field Garlic

very local, only one recent record, Hadleigh Downs.

Allium schoenoprasum L


garden escape                                            

Alopecurus aequalis  Sobol

Orange Foxtail

local and sporadic, but Essex probably has more sites than any other county

Alopecurus bulbosus Gouan

Bulbous Foxtail

two old records, one recent – Roman River Valley

Althaea officinalis L.

Marsh Mallow

formerly widespread in our estuaries, now confined to Stour estuary , and declining

[Apera interrupta (L.) P.Beauv ]         

Dense silky-bent

extinct ?  [see RDB list].

Apera spica-venti (L.) P.Beauv

Loose silky-bent

archaeophyte, widespread, increasing, serious crop pest.

[Arabis glabra (L.) Bernh.]                          

Tower Mustard

native, extinct ? [see |RDB list].

Arum italicum Mill

Italian lords-and-ladies  


ssp. neglectum F.Towns


planted neophyte

ssp. italicum


planted neophyte

Brassica oleracea var. oleracea

Wild Cabbage 

reverted escape from Cabbage crops only

Bupleurum tenuissimum L.

Slender hare's-ear

native, coastal, locally abundant. Difficult to spot until flowers in September.

Callitriche truncata  ssp. occidentalis Guss              

Short-leaved water-starwort

native, new to Essex and increasing, 5 recent records

Campanula patula L.             

Spreading bellflower

native ? extinct 

Carex divisa Hudson 

Divided sedge  

native, coastal, locally abundant

Carex elata All


2 recent records, but now gone from one.

[Carex elongata L.]

Elongated sedge

former native in two sites, now extinct

Centaurea cyanus L.                                       


sporadic archaeophyte [see also RDB list].

Chenopodium chenopodioides (L.) Aellen

Saltmarsh goosefoot

rare, but locally abundant, coastal [see also RDB list].

Clinopodium calamintha (L.) Stace

Lesser Calamint

local, largest U.K. population is in Essex.

Crambe maritima L.


rare, coastal shingle, increasing but sporadic

Crassula tillaea Lester-Garl  

Mossy Stonecrop

1 recently discovered  site

Cuscuta europaea L.

Greater Dodder

upper Stour valley only

Cyperus longus L.     


planted/escaped, spreading rapidly

Dianthus armeria L

Deptford Pink

rare native [see also RDB list].

Dianthus deltoides L.

Maiden Pink

native? & casual

[Eleocharis acicularis  (L.) Roemer & Schultes ]

Needle-spike rush


Epilobium lanceolatum Seba  st. & Mauri 

Spear-leaved willowherb

rare, sporadic

Epipactis phyllanthes  G.E./Sm.

Green-flowered helleborine

rare, sporadic, one persistent colony of c.12 plants in Grays Chalk Quarry

Erodium moschatum (L.) L’Her.

Musk stork’s-bill

spreading, alien?

Euphorbia paralais L.          

Sea spurge

rare, coastal, but abundant on new artificial sand bars off |Jaywick.

Euphorbia platyphyllos L.

Broad-leaved spurge

widespread/chalk/boulder clay

Euphrasia pseudokerneri Pugsley           

Eyebright 8.

extinct? not seen recently.

Fallopia dumatorum (L.) Holub


extinct? single old record.

Festuca arenaria

Rush-leaved fescue

coastal, rare

Frankenia laevis L.


2 former Essex sites, now believed to be extinct.

Fritillaria meleagris


formerly widespread, probably introduced, extinct?

Fumaria bastardii Boreau

Tall, ramping-fumitory


Fumaria capreolata L.

White ramping-fumitory

local, N E  Essex

Fumaria densiflora  DC.??? 

Dense-flowered fumitory     

local, on the chalk of N W Essex

Fumaria parviflora

Fine-leaved fumitory

local on the chalk of N W Essex

[Fumaria purpurea Pugsley]

Purple ramping-fumitory

one old record, extinct

Fumaria vaillantii Lois.

Few-flowered fumitory

very local on chalk of north west Essex.

Galeopsis angustifolia Ehrh,. Ex Hoffm.    

Red hemp-nettle

arable archaeophyte, not seen recently.

Galium parisiense L

Wall bedstraw

two sites now known at Saffron Walden

Geranium purpureum           

Little Robin

recently established, railway lines Walthamstow and in Upminster

Gnaphalium sylvaticum L.   

Heath Cudweed

last seen, Chalkney Wood, extinct?

Helleborus foetidus L.

Stinking Hellibore

only as garden escape in Essex

[Herminium monorchis (L.) R.Br.]

Musk orchid


Hippophe rhamnoides L.


coastal, probably introduced at its Essex sites

Hordelymus europaeus (L.) Jessen

Wood barley

3 extant sites known, probably overlooked in N W  Essex

Hordeum marimum Hudson

Sea barley

common, coastal

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae L. 


very local, sporadic

Hyoscyamus niger L


local, on the chalk and coastal sands, sporadic casual on manure heaps.

Hypochaeris glabra L.         

Smooth Cat’s-ear

now known fron sand quarry Orsett and from Alresford quarry

Iberis amara L.

Wild candytuft 

introduced only in Essex

Inula crithmoides L


native, local, coastal

Lathyrus aphaca L.

Yellow vetchling

probably native, local

Lathyrus japonicus Willd.

Sea pea

very rare, 2 former sites, may be extinct.

Lavateria arborea L.

Tree mallow

introduced, coastal

Lepidium latifolium L.


coastal and salted road verges, increasing

Limonium binervosum (G E Smith) Salmon

Rock sea-lavender

rare, coastal  [see RDB list].

Limonium humile                                           

Lax-flowered sea-lavender

local, coastal, tends to hybridize, decreasing

[Limosella aquatica L.]


former native, now extinct

Linum perenne L.

Perennial flax

extinct endemic native, single reintroduction site,  nr. Stump Cross.

[Lycopodiella inundata (L.) Holub]


extinct native

Marrubium vulgare L.

White horehound

scattered along Thames valley, where possibly native

Mecanopsis cambrica (L. Viguier

Welsh poppy   

garden escape only in Essex

Medicago minima (L.) L.

Bur medick

rare native, coastal, declining

Medicago polymorpha L.

Toothed medick

rare native/casual, coastal, declining

Medicago sativa L. subsp. falcatum

Sickle medick

possibly native on chalk along Thames valley, casual elsewhere

Melampyrum cristatum L.

Crested cow-wheat

woods/verges in N.W. Essex, declining, now extinct in S.Essex.

Mentha pulegium  L.


Walthamstow Marshes, apparently native, extinct elsewhere except as casual [see RDB list].

Minuartia hybrida (Villars) Schischkin

Fine-leaved sandwort

former native, now probably extinct

Moenchia erecta (L.) Gaertner, Meyer & Scherb .

Upright chickweed

rare native, declining.

Myosurus minimus L


frequent, coastal

Myriophyllum verticillatum L.                        


very local, Epping Forest ponds, and formerly in upper R Stort

Nymphoides peltata Kuntze             

Fringed water-lily

introduced, increasing and invasive forming smothering blankets

Oenanthe pimpinelloides L.                                       

Corky-fruited water-dropwort

local, increasing rapidly, being spread by cutting  machinery and green hay spreading

Oenanthe sialifolia  M. Bieb

Narrow-lvd water-dropwort


Orchis morio L.

Green-winged orchid

local, declining, but very abundant on a few EWT reserves

Orchis purpurea  Hudson                                 

Lady orchid

one erroneous record see Orchis militaris

[Orchis ustulata L. ]                                            

Burnt orchid


Orobanche rapum-genistae  Thuill                  

Greater broomrape


Papaver argemone L.

Prickly poppy

locally frequent on chalk of N W Essex

Papaver hybridum  L.                                      

Rough poppy

locally frequent on chalk of N W Essex

Parapholis incurva (L.)C.E.Hubb

Curved hard-grass

rare, scattered, coastal habitats

Parentucellia viscosa (L.) Caruel                        

Yellow bartsia                    

1 new, and 1 old record

[Persicaria laxifolia (Weihe) Opiz ]           

Tasteless water-pepper


Persicaria minor (Hudson) Opiz

Small water-pepper

sporadic, two recent reords

[Peucedanum palustre (L.) Moench ]        


extinct, one old record

[Pilularia globulifera L.]  


extinct, one old record, probably planted

Poa bulbosa L.

Bulbous meadow-grass

coastal, overlooked

Poa infirma Kunth

Early meadow-grass

Southend area, widespread, 2001, rapidly spreading elsewhere (see also RDB3).

Poa palustris L.                                         

Swamp meadow-grass

rare casual, not seen recently

Polygonatum odoratum (Miller) Druce    

Angular Solomon’s-seal


Polygonum oxyspermum  C.Meyer & Bunge et Ledeb 

Ray’s knotgrass

very rare, coastal, but increasing on new sand bars at Jaywick

Polygonum rurivagum Jordan ex Boreau 

Cornfield knotgrass      

very local arable fields, doubtfully distinct

Polypogon monspeliensis (L.) Desf.         

Annual beard-grass

very local coastal marshes, increasing ?

[Potamogeton compressus L. ]                    

Grass-wrack pondweed

extinct, 2 former sites

Potamogeton friesii Rupr

Flat-stalked pondweed

declining, 1 site only

[Potamogeton praelongus  Wulfen ]           

Long-stalked pondweed


Potamogeton trichoides Cham & Schldl  

Hair-like pondweed

scattered, increasing

Potentilla argentea L

Hoary cinquefoil

scattered, declining

Primula elatior (L.) Hill                           


widespread in NW Essex, but declining

Puccinellia fasciculata (Torrey) E.Bickn.

Borrer’s saltmarsh-grass

widespread coastal in Essex

Puccinellia rupestris (With.) Fern. & Weath.

Stiff saltmarsh-grass

very scattered, coastal in Essex, only a small number of sites but can be abundant

[Pulsatilla vulgaris Miller]



Pyrrola rotundifolia L. subsp. rotundifolia

Round-leaved wintergreen

local chalk/gravel pits in Essex, spreading rapidly

Ranunculus arvensis L.

Corn buttercup

archaeophyte, once common, now only as deep buried seed

Ranunculus baudotii Godron

Brackish water-crowfoot

coastal borrow dykes, over recorded for hybrids

Ranunculus parviflorus L.

Small-flowered buttercup  

thermophile, decreasing, very local

Rumex maritimus L.

Golden dock

plentiful, coastal strip.

Rumex palustris Smith

Marsh dock

local, mainly coastal     

Ruppia cirrhosa (Pentagna) Grande

Spiral tassleweed

local, coastal borrow dykes

Salicornia pusilla J.Woods

One-flowered glasswort

local, upper saltmarsh

Sarcocornia perennis (Miller) A.J.Scott

Perennial glasswort

widespread, coastal, appears to be increasing

Scandix pectin- veneris L.


archaeophyte, sporadic, but not infrequent

Scilla autumnalis L.

Autumn squill

native, 2 Essex sites

[Scophularia umbrosa Dumort]

Green figwort

1 former site, now extinct

Sedum forsterianum Smith

Rock stonecrop

as introduction only

Silene conica  L.

Sand catchfly

casual/one possible native site now gone?

Silene gallica L

Small-flowered catchfly

one last site

Silene noctiflora L.   

Night-flowering catchfly

decreasing, scattered remnants, formerly widespread, arable.

Silene nutans L.

Nottingham catchfly

rare casual only

Sium latifolium L.

Greater water-parsnip  

recorded by Gibson (1862), probably in error

Sonchus palustris L.

Marsh sow-thistle

rare casual plus 1 introduced site

Spartina maritima (Curtis) Fern.

Small cord-grass

rare, but locally abundant

Stratiotes aloides L.


introduced aquatic, invasive

Sueda vera Forsskal ex J.Gmelin

Shrubby sea-blight

widespread shoreline & sea walls in NE of the county

[Teesdalia nudicaulis (L.) ex Br.]

Shepherd’s cress


[Tephroseris integrefolia (L.) Holub                                 subsp. integrifolia]                     

Field fleawort


Thelypteris palustris Schott

Marsh fern

rare, native & introduced

[Thesium humifusum DC.]



Tilia platyphyllos Scop.

Large-leaved lime

planted only, but widespread

Torilis arvensis (Hudson) Link           

Spreading hedge-parsley

very rare, sporadic, arable land

Trifolium glomeratum L.

Clustered clover

c. 6 remaining sites

Trifolium ochroleucon Hudson

Sulphur clover

widespread on chalky boulder clay, declining

Trifolium ornithopioides L.

Bird’s-foot clover

scattered, coastal

Trifolium squamosum L.

Sea clover

coastal, locally very abundant, disappears by the end of June

Trifolium suffocatum L.

Suffocated clover

single site, Shoebury ranges

Ulex minor Roth

Dwarf gorse    

declining, only 3 extant sites

Ulmus plotti Druce

Plot’s elm

1 record from Terling (Rackham)

Valerianella dentata (L.) Pollich

Narrow-fruited cornsalad

very rare, north-west chalk, on verge of extinction

Verbascum lychnitis L.

White mullein

introduced, Warley Place, one other recent record

Verbascum pulverulentum Villars

Hoary mullein

casual at a few sites nr Colchester

Virbascum virgatum Stokes

Twiggy mullein

casual, 1 recent verge record

Vicia bithynica (L.)

Bithynian vetch

Thames foothills (declining), & Frinton-Walton cliffs (increasing)

Vicia lutea L.


native (coast) & casual (inland)

Vicia parviflora Cav.            

Slender tare

rare native/casual

Vulpia ciliata Dumort.                                                          subsp. ambigua (Le Gall)  Stace & Auq.

Bearded fescue

locally abundant Shoebury.

Vulpia fasciculata (Forsskal) Fritsch 

Dune fescue

very rare, scattered, coastal sands

[Wolffia arrhiza (L.) Horkel ex Wimmer]

Rootless duckweed

currently absent

Zostera angustifolia [Hornem.] Reichb.

Narrow-leaved eelgrass

very local, declining

Zostera marina L.


rare, declining

Zostera noltei Hornem.

Drawf eel-grass

very local