Botanical riches

The Lizard is one of the most botanically biodiverse regions in the UK. Why? Well, to a large part because The Lizard has a unique geology. Large areas comprise a serpentine base rock – which is metamorphic and basic (alkaline) – overlain by neutral to acid heathland, while elsewhere igneous rocks lie beneath more fertile pasture. What has this to do with the plants that grow there? Like animals, many plants have special and differing habitat requirements – acid or alkaline soil, exposed or sheltered positions, shaded or open, to name but a few. The Lizard’s habitats are influenced by the underlying geology, so you will find, for example, plants you’d usually expect to find in alkaline soils growing in neutral/acidic heathland because of the serpentine beneath. Bloody Crane’s-bill is one example.

Bloody Crane’s-bill (📷 © Natural England/Peter Wakely)

The large numbers of temporary ponds, for which The Lizard is internationally recognised – brimming in autumn and winter before drying out in spring – also provide a home for rare annuals, including Yellow Centaury and Three-lobed Crowfoot. Come and find these and the many other rare plants, including some found only on The Lizard, such as Cornish Heath, Western Clover, Pigmy Rush, and Land Quillwort.

Why not explore the wide range of plant species you can see on The Lizard. (Select Lizard Wildlife in the main menu at the top of the page)

Field Gentian 📷 Steve Townsend
Yellow Centaury 📷 Amanda Scott

Find out more

If you want to find out more, then you may like to read these articles on our website: