Common rock-rose

Common Rock-rose

©Philip Precey

Common rock-rose

Scientific name: Helianthemum nummularium
Golden banks of common rock-rose make a spectacular sight on our chalk and limestone grasslands in summer. A creeping shrub, it is good for bees, moths and butterflies.

Species information


Height: up to 40cm

Conservation status

Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

January to December


Common rock-rose is a low-growing, creeping, evergreen shrub that likes sunny chalk grassland, cliffs and rocks. It flowers from June to September and can grow in dense clusters, colouring the grey-green landscape bright yellow. Common rock-rose provides plenty of nectar for various bees and is also the foodplant of several species of butterfly such as the brown argus, green hairstreak and rare silver-studded blue.

How to identify

Common rock-rose flowers are large, with five bright yellow, crinkly petals. The underneath of its lanceolate leaves is white and woolly.


Found throughout the UK, but especially common in Scotland and Southern England.

Did you know?

The Latin name, Helianthemum, means 'sunflower'; indeed, the bright yellow flowers of the common rock-rose only open in the sunshine and close at night.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways grasslands are kept in good condition - supporting plants and invertebrates and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.