Bog Asphodel

Narthecium ossifragum

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Bog Asphodel

About

The sulphur yellow, star-like flowers of Bog Asphodel brighten up our browny-green peat bogs, damp heaths and moors in early summer. Borne on spikes, the flowers appear from June to August; as they fruit in autumn, the plants turn deep orange, continuing to colour the bogs. Bog Asphodel produces creeping rhizomes (underground stems) from which it can reproduce; however, it also produces seeds and its flowers attract a range of pollinating insects.

How to identify

Bog Asphodel is unmistakeable on the damp, peaty soils it prefers. Look for the pyramidal flower spikes which carry a dense cluster of yellow, open flowers with protruding, woolly, orange-tipped stamens. The leaves are narrow and set in a flattened fan around the stem. After it flowers, most of the plant turns orange in colour and reddish, egg-shaped fruits remain visible into the autumn.

Where to find it

Locally common in the north and west of the UK, but much rarer in central and eastern England.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Windswept heaths and boggy moors are an iconic feature of the UK's landscape and are the result of hundreds of years of low-impact human activities such as livestock-grazing and scrub clearance. Yet drainage, development and the decline of traditional farming methods have caused many of these precious habitats to be lost, and the species associated with them, such as Bog Asphodel, are now declining. The Wildlife Trusts manage many heathland habitats for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Bog Asphodel
Latin name
Narthecium ossifragum
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: 10-40cm
Conservation status
Declining.