The Badgeworth buttercup - the rarest of the rare

The Badgeworth buttercup - the rarest of the rare


Posted 11th August


Lead image courtesy of © Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Otherwise known as adder's-tongue spearwort (Ranunculus ophioglossifolius), the Badgeworth buttercup is amongst the rarest of the rare, and is fully protected by Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981

It's actually only found in two spots in the UK, both of which are in Gloucestershire, one of which is a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

Badgeworth became Gloucestershire's very first nature reserve after the owner, Mr Hedley, presented it to the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves in 1933. It was then handed over to the newly formed Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in 1962, becoming its first nature reserve, and was once in the Guinness World of Records for being the smallest nature reserve in the world in 1964. Only growing in wet conditions, the reserve is carefully managed in a way that will benefit the buttercup the most. Bare patches are made each year to allow the species to germinate, and livestock will only graze in certain areas to keep competing species at bay.

How to do it

The reserve is only open to the public once a year for a special event in mid-June, to coincide with the Badgeworth buttercup at its best. People will travel from across the country to see this special plant. You can check on Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust's website to join the pilgrimage.

If you can't get to the special places listed below, Badgeworth nature reserve may be small, but it's not the smallest Wildlife Trust reserve. That honour goes to Hethel Old Thorn in Norfolk, which will only consist of just a single hawthorn bush.

Special spot

Gloucestershire, Badgeworth Nature Reserve

Information and text courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts





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