Essex Scarce:                                                                                         RED DATA LISTS



 This list includes those species not on the National Red Data or BSBI Scarce lists that have nevertheless either become extinct; are only present in a handful of sites in Essex; or are declining so rapidly that they are likely to fall into this category within a couple of decades.  

GREEN - extinct


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Agrimonia procera

Eight localized sites recorded, only three confirmed post 2000

Achillea ptarmica

declining due to drainage/overgrazing of damp acid grassland

Agrostis canina

now getting increasingly scarce through loss of damp grassland

Agrostis vinealis

only a handful of sites recorded

Aira caryophyllea

now very scarce due to habitat loss

Alchemilla filicaulis subsp. vestita

formerly at Aubrey Buxton N.R. now believed to be extinct.

Alisma lanceolatum

only a handful of records, doubtfully native in most cases

Ammophila arenaria

very local, sand dunes, but now extensively colonizing sand new sand bars off Jaywick

Anacamptis pyramidalis

abundant in a handful of sites on the chalk, otherwise sporadic but widespread and often abundant on verges

Anagallis minima

only now known from Tiptree Heath

Anagallis tenella

only now known from Old Woman's Weaver Marsh, Hatfield Forest - not seen in resent years

Anisantha tectorum

two known sites

Anthemis arvenis

a rapidly declining cornfield weed

Anthemis cotula

formerly widespread cornfield weed, now absent from much of the county, but still scattered in the NW

Anthyllis vulneraria subsp. vulneraria

confined to the chalk and calcareous gravel pits, declining due to destruction of habitat

Apium inundatum

on verge of extinction due to Crassula helmsii blankets, only one site, on Epping Forest

Arabis hirsuta

only occasional casual plants in Essex

Asperula cynanchica subsp. cynanchica

extinct, last seen 1965 (frequenly confused with Sherardia arvensis)

Asplenium adiatum-nigrum

declining due to `do-gooder’ cleanups of churchyard and railway bridge brickwork

Asplenium ruta-muraria

still widely distributed but declining rapidly due to cleaning up of brick/stone walls

Asplenium trichomanes 

still widely distributed but declining rapidly due to cleaning up of brick/stone walls

Astragalus glycyphyllos

scattered on the chalk and chalky boulder clay, declining

Athyrium felix-femina

decreasing due to closing in of woodland sites and light loss, but still widespread

Atriplex glabriuscula

currently still widespread but endangered by coastal development

Atriplex laciniata

very local, coastal sands in the NE

Atriplex longipes

only one record, may be overlooked

Atropa bella-dona

formerly scattered on the chalk, now largely urban and coastal casual

Baldelia ranunculoides


Berberis vulgaris

only a few scattered bushes left, declining due to grubbing of hedges

Berula erecta

declining due to drainage of swampy sites

Bidens cernua

declining due to deterioration/infilling of ponds

Bletchnum spicant

now rare, sporadic in no more than 3-4 sites at any one time

Blysmus compressus   

two locations in Hatfield Forest only

Botrychium lunaria

possibly extinct, curious unlocalised Atlas 1962 records for TM and TR

Brachypodium pinnatum

very rare, only a handful of records

Bromus arvensis

probably extinct, as elsewhere in Britain, last seen c.1970.

Bromus lepidus

drastic decline, few recent records

Bromus racemosus

a rare but dubiously distinct grass of damp meadows, declining rapidly

Bromus secalinus

persists at several sites in Upminster and Basildon areas and in NW

Callitriche brutia ssp. brutia

only known from Dagenham Chase, possibly overlooked

Campanula glomerata

rapidly declining, only one site now on the chalky boulder clay, scattered on the chalk

Campanula rotundifolia

spectacular decline in the last 20 yrs, now very rare

Cardamine amara

declining rapidly through drainage of Dunmow soil seepages

Carex acuta

rapidly declining due to drainage of valley marshes

Carex binervis           

abundant in Epping Forest but declining elsewhere in the county

Carex caryophyllea

probably under recorded, but declining due to loss of short damp grassland

Carex dioica

extinct, old record from Galleywood Common

Carex distans

only a handful of scattered records, declining due to loss of habitat

Carex disticha

declining due to loss of damp meadows/fens

Carex divulsa susbsp. leersii

scattered on calcareous soils in the north-west and along the coast

Carex echinata

opened up acid bogs, only seen recently in Epping Forest, Galleywood Common and in Pheasanthouse Wood Bog.

Carex laevigata

down to a handfulof sites, declining due to loss of habitat

Carex nigra

formerly widespread in wet heath/marshy sites, now rapidly declining

Carex pallescens

a scarce plant of woodland rides, declining due to lack of coppicing

Carex panicea

only a few scattered extant sites

Carex paniculata

now very rare, due to destruction of sedge beds

Carex pulicaris

now extinct

Carex rostrata

last but 1 native site ploughed up, the other excavated for a pond despite SINC status! New introduction Shenfield Common pond.

Carex strigosa

declining due to overgrowth of woodland streams, ditches and damp woodland rides

Carex x subgracilis

one known site, Walthamstow marshes

Carex vesicaria

the only recent records were from the Backwarden, Danbury, from which it has now disappeared.

Carex viridula subsp. oedocarpa

a sedge of acid heath, rapidly declining due to loss of habitat, but seed can persist and reappears sporadically

Carlina vulgaris

a drastic decline except on the chalk, status needs reassessing

Catabrosa aquatica

24 records, a grass of cattle trampled river and pond margins, overlooked but also decreasing.

Catapodium marinum

very local on the coast, but now spreading inland along salted verges

Centaureum pulchellum

formerly in chalk and gravel pits (still in 2 sites) around Grays and 3 woods in north central Essex, Matching Airfield, declining

Cephalanthera damasonium

probably now extinct as native, one recent casual record on lime patch in Vc18.

Cerastium arvense

declining rapidly, only two recent records

Cerastium diffusum

declining, due to trampling/loss of short coastal turf

Cerastium semidecandrum

declining and sporadic, but somewhat overlooked

Ceratophyllum submersum declining, c.55 monads scattered along coast line

Ceterach officinarum

only two colonies now known

Chaenorhinum minus

formerly common in cornfields, now mainly along railway tracks

Chenopodium bonus-henricus

sporadic, around dairy farmyards, less common than formerly

Chenopodium murale

one recent record

Chenopodium urbicum

very rare, only one recent record

Chrysanthemum segetum

not seen in the wild recently, quite frequently ephemerally established in wild flower mixtures on verges

Chrysosplenium alternifolium

rare, only a handful of sites all of which need checking, extinct in Vc18

Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

still widespread, but has been lost from several sites recently

Cirsium acaule

virtually extinct on the chalky boulder clay, a few scattered sites on the chalk of the N W and around Grays.

Cirsium dissectum


Cirsium eriophorum

in a few remaining meadows on the chalk of the N W

Clinopodium acinos

virtually extinct, due to scrubbing over of chalk rock outcrops in the Saffron Walden area

Clinopodium ascendens

inexplicably rare in Essex, only known from c.5 verges on the chalk around Chesterford

Cochlearea anglica

scattered, coastal marshes, particularly along the Thames

Cochlearea officinalis

distribution uncertain due to confusion with forms of C. danica

Coeloglossum viride


Convallaria majalis

declining as a native due to neglect of ancient woods, often in wood margins as garden throwout

Crepis biennis

one permanent site near Littlebury, occasional as a casual elsewhere

Crithmum maritimum

somewhat sporadic on shingle and cliffs, Colne Point round to Walton, recent expansion on concrete sea walls at Jaywick

Cruciata laevipes

a few scattered sites on the chalk of the NW and in Grays Chalk Pit (introduced?)

Cuscuta epithymum

probably extinct

Cynoglossum officinale

dramatic decline, only a few scattered extant sites, but expanding its range in Hatfield Forest

Dactylorhiza incarnata

now very rare and impermanent

Dactylorhiza maculata subs. ericetorum

a small colony in Epping Forest, large one in Mill Meadows, Billericay and in South Weald Park.

Dactylorhiza praetermissa

only a few scattered sites, often ephemeral in gravel workings or on fly ash

Dipsacus pilosus

a small number of scattered records along our main river valleys, & in damp woods

Drosera intermedia

single site in Epping Forest, declining with cessation of grazing

Drosera rotundifolia

now down to one site in Epping Forest.

Dryopteris affinis subsp. affinis

several scattered plants now known

Dryopteris affinis subsp. borreri

very local, often hybridised out

Dryopteris carthusiana

still well scattered in boggy sites across the county but declining through loss of habitat

Eleocharis uniglumis

one newly discovered site in Dagnam Park (now gone|), one unconfirmed site Holland Brook

Eleogiton fluitans

still present in a few ponds in Epping Forest and Danbury Backwarden.

Epilobium obscurum

declining due to drainage/drying out/overgrowth of boggy streams

Epilobium palustre

a scattering of sites, but rapidly declining due to drainage or overgrowing of boggy sites and hybridization with E. obscurum.

Epipactis helleborine

declining due to grazing by deer

Epipactis palustris

Grays Chalk pit and settling ponds at Grays

Epipactis purpurata

a small scattering of woods in north central Essex, grazed off by deer

Equisetum fluviatile

very local, declining due to neglect of ponds

Equisteum sylvaticum

c.6 sites across the county, several others destroyed in recent years

Erica cinerea

confined to Tiptree Heath & Roman River Valley, introd. Galleywood Common and Fingringhoe Wick

Erica tetralix

Epping Forest, Tiptree Heath, Totham Pits, Thundersley

Eriophorum angustifolium

confined to Sunshine Plain and Lodge Road Bog North in Epping Forest

Eryngium maritimum

scarce, Canvey, Shoebury, Mersea, Colne Point-St Osyth, Jaywick-Clacton, Walton-Dovercourt. Colonizing new sand bars off Jaywick.

Euphrasia anglica

probably overlooked, one record from Harlow

Euphrasia nemorosa

catastrophic decline due to neglect of woodland clearings/rides & suitable pastures

Falcaria vulgaris

c.4 persistent colonies in the county

Filipendula vulgaris

very rare, one recent record from Boreham, and one from Thornwood (introduced), otherwise possibly now extinct

Frangula alnus

a rare tree, only a few scattered sites, declining due to habitat loss

Fritillaria meleagris

probably now extinct, the numerous plants at Warley have all? been stolen

Galeopsis speciosa

not seen recently

Galium palustre subsp. elongatum

very rare, boggy fens

Galium ordoratum

very local, a few ancient woods and churchyards

Galium uliginosum

rare, declining with loss of habitat

Genista anglica

declining, now confined to a few patches  Hainault Forest, now gone from Epping Forest

Genista tinctoria

catastrophic decline due to loss of permanent grassland and over-grazing of sea walls

Gentianella amarella                                                

now extinct in north Essex, only now known from Grays Chalk pit NR (3 plants)

Geranium columbinum

not seen recently

Geranium pratense

now virtually confined to road verges, vulnerable to flailing

Geranium rotundifolium

scattered along the Thames foothills plus a few sites inland, appears to be increasing

Geranium sanguineum

thought to be native on chalk at Wendens Ambo, otherwise occasional as garden throwout, and as 'memorial' plant in Epping Forest

Geum rivale

pond on Fairmead, Epping Forest, and Crowney Wood

Geum x intermedium

confined to Crowney Wood

Glaucium flavum

scarce, on a few sandy/gravelly beaches, seldom in quantity

Groenlandia densa

almost extinct, recorded from c. 4 sites in recent decades

Gymnodenia conopsea

a few ephemeral records Grays area, and one recent single plant on East Tilbury marshes

Helianthemum nummularium

declining rapidly on the Chalky Boulder Clay due to verge flailing, plus a few sites on chalk

Helictotrichon pratense

declining through loss of calcareous grassland, only a scattering of recent records

Helictotrichon pubescens

probably extinct

Helleborus viridis

only two sites now known

Hieracium acuminatum

rapidly declining due to flailing of heathland

Hieracium calcaricola

only a handful of sites, declining due to heathland flailing

Hieracium argillaceum

only two sites known, Buckhurst Hill verge, and Woodredon Hill verge

Hieracium eboracense

rapidly declining due to heathland flailing, only now known from Danbury Common

Hieracium lepidulum

declining due to scrubbing over of chalk pit and woodland sites

Hieracium salticola

declining due to flailing of heathland

Hieracium scotostictum

garden escape, three sites known

Hieracium trichocaulon

handful of sites, declining due to heathland flailing

Hieracium umbellatum

drastic decline due to heathland flailing, handful of sites

Hippocrepis comosa


Hottonia palustris

rapidly decling due to infilling of ponds

Hydrocotyle vulgaris

very local, acid pond margins, has to compete with Crassula helmsii in many sites

Hyoscyamus niger

very rare and declining, arable on calcareous soils and on coastal sands

Hypericum x desetangsii

probably overlooked, only a few records

Hypericum elodes

now confined to one site, Wake Valley Pond, Epping Forest

Hypericum maculatum subsp. obtusiusculum

not yet confirmed for the county (mostly x desetangsii|)

Hypericum pulchrum

scattering of records on acid soils, declining, particularly in Epping Forest

Inula conyzae

frequent locally on the chalk around Grays, virtually absent elsewhere

Jasione montana

massive decline since the Gibson era, single extant site at Shoebury

Juncus ambiguous

single sites on Foulness, Fobbing Marshes, Wennington Marshes and at Jaywick

Juncus bulbosus

declining rapidly due to drainage, except in Epping forest

Juncus compressus

about half a dozen sites, most of which need reconfirming

Juncus squarrous

Epping Forest (declining), Tiptree Heath & Roman River valley

Juncus subnodulosus

on the verge of extinction due to drainage/pollution of fen type habitats

Koeleria macrantha

only a scattering of records

Lathyraea clandestina

has spread out from the original introduction at Warley Place

Lathyraea squamaria

along Bourne Brook, Greensted Green/Marks Hall area

Lathyrus hirsutus

supposedly introduced to Hadleigh Downs, but possibly native along the Thames Valley

Lathyrus linifolius

only a scattering of recent records

Lathyrus sylvestris

very rare, but locally plentiful as in Dagnam Park and on the N W Chalk

Legousia hybrida

formerly common as a cornfield archeophyte on calcareous soils, now declining rapidly

Lepidium perfoliatum

substantial colony established and conserved for many years on Northey Island

Leymus arenarius

very rare, and in small quantity, Walton, Dovercourt-Lt Oakley and Hullbridge

Linum bienne scattered, but locally abundant on sea walls and cliffs, formerly several sites inland

Lithospermum officinale

very rare, only recent records are from Hatfield Forest

Lithospermum arvense

drastic decline as cornfield weed, likely to become extinct over the next 2-3 decades

Luzula forsteri

very rare, Hospital Wood (Hainault), Bedfords Park, Cranham, Thundersley Glen

Luzula sylvatica

rare, woodland banks

Lysimachia vulgaris

drastic decline due to loss of marsh/fen sites

Lythrum portula

declining to due drying out of poached woodland rides and pond margin drawdown

Melampyrum pratense

being lost from some woodland sites due to dense growth and shading out

Misopates orontium

drastic decline, only two recent records

Menyanthes trifoliata

now gone from Epping Forest, recently planted in a few ponds elsewhere

Monotropa hypopitys

several populations on damp ledges above Grays Chalk Pit

Mycelis muralis

inexplicably rare in Essex, Epping Forest, South Weald, Hatfield Broad Oak, Audley End and Upminster

Myosotis discolor

still widespread, but scattered and declining rapidly due to loss of sandy grassland

Myosotis ramosissima

rare, declining rapidly

Myosurus minimus

sporadic in waterlogged arable fields by the coast

Myriophyllum alterniflorum


Neottia nidus-avis

drastic decline, only 2-3 recent records, but large popluation in Grays Chalk Quarry

Nepeta cataria

apparently overlooked, sporadic around Grays and in the NW

Oenanthe fistulosa

drastic decline, only a handful of recent records

Oenanthe fluviatilis (Bab.) Coleman               

very rare, declining, formerly on Nationally Scarce list but demoted       


Ophioglossum vulgatum

suffering from drought in recent years and loss of permanent grassland but still widespread

Ophyrs insectifera

extinct, the only recent site destroyed by installation of new bridleway at Peppers Green

Orchis morio

still a scattering of sites, very plentiful in a few NRs, vulnerable to ploughing up of old pastures

Oreopteris limbosperma

one recent record from Thorndon Park

Origanum vulgare

being lost on the chalky boulder clay verges due to flailing/scrub encroachment

Orobanche crenata

recent neophyte, established in Cranham area since at least 1975, well established seed bank in Cranham area, appears in thousands on pea crops.

Orobanche elatior

declining, on verges and field margins on the chalk of the N W

Osmunda regalis

two established (planted colonies) plus numerous sporadic casual plants

Parietaria officinalis

established at Warley Place (only 2 sites in UK)

Paris quadrifolia

status uncertain, thought to be declining

Pedicularis sylvatica subsp. sylvatica

now confined to a single patch in Epping Forest, and occasional appearances in Hainault Forest, lost recently from Danbury Common and Danbury Backwarden

Persicaria bistorta

drastic decline due to ploughing of damp grassland, current status uncertain, two sites only confirmed recently

Petasites hybridus

plentiful locally, but suffering from river corridor clearance

Phleum arenarium

declining, Mersea, Colne Point- St Osyth, Dovercourt, Shoebury

Pimpinella major

confined to the chalk of the NW, with outlier at Blackmore

Platanthera bifolia

extinct, formerly in several places including Epping Forest

Platanthera chlorantha

drastic decline due to lack of coppicing, resurvey needed

Poa bulbosa

rare but overlooked, short turf areas Grays, Shoebury, St Osyth

Poa compressa

now very rare and sporadic on cracked concrete aprons and a few old walls

Polygala serpyllifolia

drastic decline due to loss of permanent grazed grassland

Polygala vulgaris

drastic decline due to loss of permanent grazed grassland

Polypodium vulgare s.s

virtually confined to old walls, decreasing rapidly with loss of wall sites/drought

Polystichum aculeatum

drastic decline due to hedgerow clearance and woodland neglect

Polystichum setiferum

still widespread, but thinly scattered and declining rapidly

Populus nigra var. betulifolia

about 207 veterans, several being lost each year

Potamogeton alpinus

extinct, due to sewage pollution

Potamogeton berchtoldii

rare, sporadic, declining due to loss of small clean ponds

Potamogeton lucens

drastic decline due to increasing motor-boat traffic on the main rivers and canals

Potamogeton obtusifolius

only one recent record, Whipps Cross pond

Potamogeton perfoliatus

drastic decline due to increasing motor-boat traffic on the main rivers and canals

Potamogeton polygonifolius

several sites in Epping Forest, but sporadic, pond on Tiptree Heath, pond in Dagnam Park

Potamogeton pusillus

declining due to loss of clean ponds and lakes

Potentilla anglica

drastic decline due to loss of acid grasslands and hybridization

Potentilla palustris

confined to Cuckoo Pits, Epping Forest,  introduced originally

Prunella laciniata


Radiola linoides

single extant site, Tiptree Heath

Ranunculus circinatus

scarce, ponds and rivers, declining

Ranunculus fluitans

only now found in the Cam, lost recently from the Stort due to boat pollution

Ranunculus hederaceus

sporadic in marshy flushes, handful of records

Ranunculus penicillatus subsp. pseudofluitans

only 6 recent records, drastic decline due to river pollution

Rhinanthus minor

now virtually extinct on road verges, still in a few pastures where it is often introduced

Ribes nigrum

thought to be native in Alder carr by R. Brain at Braintree, otherwise garden escapes

Rorippa austriaca

3 sites in Chigwell/Loughton area, one old record from Abberton Reservoir

Rorippa amphibia

rare, scattered records, except along the Roding and Lee where it is plentiful

Rosa micrantha

very local, scattering of records, not seen in Vc18 recently

Rosa scherardii a few records from the north west and one from Stone Point

Rumex hydrolapathum

declining rapidly, ponds river banks and brackish dykes

Rumex pulcher

scattered records, overlooked short grassland

Ruppia cirrhosa

very rare, in a few coastal borrow-dykes

Sagina maritima

very rare, coastal sands 2-3 records only

Sagina nodosa


Salix aurita

very rare, being hybridised out of existence, Epping Forest, Tiptree Heath

Salix repens

rare, declining due to loss of open heath, present in Grays Chalk Pit

Salix pentandra

very rare, not recorded recently, needs reasssessing

Salix purpurea

only a few scattered sites, doubtfully native, all apparently male

Salvia verbenaca

very local, declining rapidly due to flailing during flowering season

Samolus valerandi

3-4 sites near the coast, and Walthamstow Marshes

Saxifraga granulata

drastic decline due to loss of permanent grassland

Saxifraga tridactylites

fluctuating in abundance, mainly on walls, handful of sites

Scabiosa columbaria

very rare, on N W Chalk, two sites (introduced?) Grays

Scirpus sylvaticus

only a handful of sites, declining due to drainage/scrubbing of woodland flushes

Scutellaria minor

very rare, only seen recently at Galleywood Common, the Backwarden Danbury and Pheasanthouse Wood Bog.

Senecio aquaticus

very rare, declining, only recent records from Stort valley, Dagenham Chase and Curtismill Green

Silaum silaus

declining rapidly due to loss of old grassland, mowing in June-July eliminates it

Solidago virgaurea

inexplicably rare in Essex, Little Baddow Heath, Mill Green Common, Starvelarks Wood and Shenfield Common.

Sparganium emersum

declining due to river dredging, pollution, drawdown

Spartina alterniflora

introduced to the Blackwater estuary, persisting

Spiranthes spiralis

some decline, churchyards and private lawns

Spirodela polyrhiza

rapid decline over the last five years, spreads vegetatively only

Stachys arvensis

scattering of sporadic records as arable weed

Stachys officinalis

drastic decline, likely to be on the verge of extinction within the next few decades

Stellaria neglecta

very rare, only 2-3 records

Stellaria pallida

rare, coastal and salted verges, but probably overlooked as flowers so early

Succisa pratensis

drastic decline due to loss of damp permanent grassland, and late mowing

Thalictrum flavum

declining through loss of fen sites, status needs reassessing

Thalictrum minus subsp. minus

classic site on verge and field margins, Strethall Field, garden escape elsewhere

Thalaspi alliaceum

one well established site at Beeleigh, one recent record on A127 road verge

Thymus polytrichum subsp. britannicus

drastic decline, only handful of sites, needs reassessing

Thymus pulegioides

only two recent records

Trifolium resupinatum

two recent casual records

Trifolium scabrum

single site

Trifolium subterraneum

declining, only a scattering of sites, mainly coastal

Triglochin palustre

on verge of extinction, only recent record Hatfield Forest

Utricularia australis

in several ponds on Epping Forest, spreading, one recent record for garden pond at Wimbish

Utricularia vulgaris

unconfirmed record from Rainham Marshes (Grazing Marshes Survey)

Vaccinium mytillus

single record from Sunshine Plain Epping Forest, not seen recently

Valeriana dioica

drastic decline, only two recent records

Valeriana officinalis

declining due to loss of marshland sites

Valerianella locusta

now only casual on waste ground and gravel pits

Verbena officinalis

scattered sites, many along canals

Veronica scutellata

always very rare, only 3 recent records (21 monad records in total)

Vicia lathyroides

drastic decline, only a handful of extant sites

Viola canina

declining due to loss of acid grassland

Viola palustris

single site, Epping Forest, not seen for at least five years

Viscum album

scattered sites, apparently increasing rapidly, possibly due to increased rainfall less thus less water stress or a decline in air pollution

Wahlenbergia hederifolia

extinct, formerly in several places in Epping Forest