Conservation plans are being drawn up to save a critically endangered plant which is only at one site in Hertfordshire within the whole of the UK.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working with the owners of the undisclosed privately-owned site where the Scarce Tufted-sedge Carex Cespitosa is growing, to help save it from extinction in the UK.

Through a programme of surveying, habitat preparation, and then assisted colonisation, taking place through to March 2025, the trust will deliver four distinct populations of Scarce Tufted-sedge across Hertfordshire.

The project is being funded by Natural England’s Species Recovery Programme, which aims to halt and reverse declines on populations of our most threatened species.


Work on saving the Scarce Tufted-sedge has already begun. Cool spring weather conditions gave the plant a respite from detrimental drying conditions and a huge abundance of seeds were produced. These are now with a specialist nursery for wetland plants, where they have germinated.

"Over time, the muddy hollows where plants such as Scarce Tufted-sedge would once have thrived amongst pools of water have dried out and are now much firmer underfoot," a spokesperson for the wildlife trust explained.

"The change in habitat means that other plants move in and the space the plants would have had diminishes.

"This example highlights that wetlands are now our most vulnerable habitats, having faced degradation across Hertfordshire for over a century, and now proving to be an early victim of climate change."


Astrid Biddle, an ecologist at the wildlife trust, said: "With our care of the special and rare plants supported in habitats like these, we seek to bring an appreciation of their value, not only as the green backdrop for our other endangered species, or as keystones upon which these species depend, but as the extraordinary and complex marvels in their own right.

"Using this to build on our experience, we will be able to assist, and where we can, continue to strengthen and connect habitats. Our aim is to leave the land in a better state than before. To that end, it is our ambition to introduce, reintroduce, and reinforce more species in the future."