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Dorset's Loneliest Plant Finds A Mate

081 Wild Asparagus

9:05am 12th June 2013

A rare plant found growing on Portland has produced a small colony of offspring after botanists found her a mate.

The Wild Asparagus was teamed up with a healthy Cornish male plant in 2008.

Experts have been back to check on their progress and they now have a large family.

Wild Asparagus is rare in the UK and is only found at 20 coastal sites in Cornwall and a few in South Wales.

Natural England Botanist, Simon Leach, says: "We were delighted to find the plants in flower which means we have been able to tell which are male and which are female. Obviously if we can get a good balance of both sexes, we have a good chance of establishing a viable colony back in Dorset of this endangered plant.

Janet Lister, National Trust Wildlife & Countryside Adviser, says: "It is a very rare plant in Britain, found on just a handful of sites, although more common in France and Spain. The places it likes to grow can be threatened by overgrazing or sometimes even through lack of grazing where dense mats of other plants prevent it from regenerating. The National Trust plays a vital role in the conservation of wild asparagus as it owns and manages much of the coast where they grow."

It is hoped that the work done over the past seven years will have ensured the survival of wild Asparagus in Dorset.

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