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Endangered Pillwort Collected for our Botanic Garden

9 January 2012

During a recent trip to Anglesey the garden was able to help out in the conservation of one of our endangered native plants.

During a recent trip to Anglesey, Nick Wray and Andy Winfield met up with Nigel Brown, the Curator of Treborth Botanic Gardens in Bangor.

We met some members of STAG (The Support Treborth Action Group) founded by  students from Bangor University during a fascinating tour of the garden.  They, combined with the Friends of Treborth, are instrumental in the day to day running of Treborth.

On our visit, Nigel took us to exposed low farmland where we collected Pillwort (Pilularia globulifera) growing through water filled trenches running across a field.  This tiny plant is an aquatic creeping fern which is hard to spot because it has thin, grass-like fronds and often grows with water grasses or small rushes. The ‘pills’ are tiny round sporocarps at the bases of the stems. 

Pillwort is an internationally threatened plant and is declining across Europe due to use of fertilizers, the decline of cattle grazing and the resultant loss of trampling, drainage, the ploughing of old pastures and invasion by the vigorous non-native water plant New Zealand pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii). 

The specimens that we rescued are now in various aquatic locations such as the Evolutionary Dell at the Botanic Garden and appear to have taken well to their new homes. 

Pillwort Collection

Locating and collecting Pillwort in an Anglesey field