Rescue of the Sticky Catchfly

IMGP0007 smallerPenn Associates Ecology Ltd helped with conservation efforts to protect the sticky catchfly (Lychnis viscaria) a rare and attractive wild plant. Restricted to dry rocky outcrops, this plant is classified internationally as ‘Near Threatened’ in the UK, being found at only two sites in Wales and about a dozen in Scotland, mainly in the Cairngorms and Ochil Hills.

The sticky catchfly is the County Wildflower for the City of Edinburgh where it has grown on rocks in Holyrood Park for at least 400 years.  However the small size of the population and its limited distribution makes it vulnerable to extinction.  The species is identified as a priority species in the Edinburgh Local Biodiversity Action Plan. As part of a range of  measures to conserve the existing population and establish new ones, the City of Edinburgh Council worked with Historic Scotland to collect seed from the Holyrood  Park population and propagate the plants in the Council’s Inch Nursery.

Penn Associates identified Tarmac’s Ravelrig Quarry as one of only three locations in Edinburgh City where the propagated plants have been planted out in a process called assisted introduction.  Ravelrig Quarry, on the western edge of Edinburgh City, is located on volcanic rocks similar to those found in Holyrood Park.