Pasqueflower

Pulsatilla vulgaris

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  2. Wildflowers
  3. Pasqueflower

About

The pretty-in-purple Pasqueflower is now a very rare plant in the UK, restricted to just a few chalk and limestone grasslands and found on only a handful of nature reserves. It flowers in the spring, usually around April, its petals sitting cushioned on feathery leaves. Cloaked in myth, one legend has it that Pasqueflowers sprang up in places that had been soaked by the blood of Romans or Danes because they often appear on old barrows and boundary banks. However, it's more likely that these sites are favoured because they tend to be undisturbed chalk grassland.

How to identify

A beautiful upward bell-shaped flower, the Pasqueflower is easily recognised if found: look for deep purple petals covered in long, silky hairs; a bright yellow, stamen-filled centre; and feathery, grey-green leaves.

Where to find it

A rare plant, found in a few places in the Chilterns, Cotswolds, East Anglia and Lincolnshire.

Habitats

When to find it

  • April

How can people help

The Pasqueflower is characteristic of chalk and limestone grasslands. Areas of rare and unique wildlife, chalk grasslands have been likened to rainforest for the diversity of species they hold. But they are being lost at an alarming rate due to changes in land use causing the decline of grazing: it's estimated that we've lost 80% of our chalk grassland over the last 60 years. The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the rare wildlife they hold. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from scrub-cutting to stockwatching.

Species information

Common name
Pasqueflower
Latin name
Pulsatilla vulgaris
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 25cm
Conservation status
Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and as Vulnerable in Britain on the Red Data List.