Found on chalk and limestone grasslands and sand dunes, Yellow-wort is a low-growing annual that flowers between June and October. Like other members of the gentian family, its yellow flowers close during the afternoon. Its waxy, bluish-green leaves help the plant to retain water in the arid conditions in which it thrives.
How to identify
Yellow-wort is unmistakeable: look for yellow flowers with six to eight petals, and pointed, bluish-green leaves that appear in opposite pairs but are fused together around the stem.
Where to find it
Found mainly in central and southern England and Wales.
When to find it
How can people help
Areas of rare and unique wildlife, chalk grasslands have been likened to rainforest for the diversity of species they hold. But they are being lost at an alarming rate due to changes in land use causing the decline of grazing: it's estimated that we've lost 80% of our chalk grassland over the last 60 years. The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the rare wildlife they hold by using traditional management methods such as autumn grazing and scrub clearance. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from flower surveys to stockwatching.