Snowdonia Hawkweed Facts
- The small, rather lovely, and somewhat mysterious Snowdonia Hawkweed easily ranks as one of the rarest plants in the world.
- Scientists first described the plant in 1880. Then, despite numerous expeditions in the intervening decades, the attractive species seemed to disappear sometime prior to 1953. Had it become extinct?
- Then, in 2002, someone accidentally discovered a single plant growing on a remote hillside in a region which forms part of the Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve.
- Also, how the single plant could appear after so long is a mystery. To date, this lone individual plant is the only one that humans have spotted.
- Though the IUCN does not yet, for unknown reasons, list the species on its site, it certainly meets all the requirements for a status of Critically Endangered.
Snowdonia Hawkweed Physical Description
The Snowdonia Hawkweed is a rather small perennial plant species. In fact, the plant typically attains a height of only about 12 in (30 cm).
The flowers also display as a bright golden yellow in color and are produced at the ends of long, delicate stems, often growing in small clusters. Each stem also possesses a small rosette of elongated leaves growing at the base.
Further, numerous tiny black hair-like structures cover both the stems and the backs of the leaves of the Snowdonia Hawkweed.
This lovely plant produces fruit irregularly and also reproduces asexually. The fruit ripens after approximately one month and the wind acts as the principal pollinator.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Asyerales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Hieracium
- Species: H. snowdoniense
Snowdonia Hawkweed Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the lovely Snowdonia Hawkweed appears to never have had an extensive range of habitation. Furthermore, when it was first discovered, it only inhabited seven individual mountain ledges in Wales, in Europe.
Obviously, details about the previous habitat, if any, of the flower, remain unknown. It currently only inhabits a rather rocky, quite steep, and north-facing inaccessible mountain cliff.
In addition, many experts believe that long-term overgrazing by local sheep populations may have led to the current predicament the species faces.
Conservation efforts have been initiated. These include the collection of seeds, in an attempt to establish a new population at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.