Pasqueflower

©Anne Tanne

Pasqueflower

Scientific name: Pulsatilla vulgaris
The pretty-in-purple Pasqueflower is now a rare plant in the UK, restricted to just a few chalk and limestone grasslands. Steeped in legend, it flowers at Easter, so is known as the 'anemone of Passiontide'.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status

Classified as Vulnerable on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Listed as Near Threatened on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

When to see

April to April

About

The striking, purple Pasqueflower is now a very rare plant in the UK, restricted to just a few chalk and limestone grasslands and found on only a handful of nature reserves. It flowers in the spring, usually around April, its petals sitting cushioned on feathery leaves. Legend has it that Pasqueflowers sprang up in places that had been soaked by the blood of Romans or Danes because they often appeared on old barrows and boundary banks. However, it's more likely that these sites are favoured because they tend to be undisturbed chalk grassland.

How to identify

A beautiful, upward bell-shaped flower, the Pasqueflower is easily recognised if found: look for deep purple petals covered in long, silky hairs; a bright yellow, stamen-filled centre; and feathery, grey-green leaves.

Distribution

Very rare and found in just a few places in the Chilterns, Cotswolds, East Anglia and Lincolnshire.

Did you know?

The Pasqueflower blooms in April, around Eastertime; for this reason, it is known as the 'anemone of Passiontide' and its common name 'pasque' derives from the word 'paschal' which means 'of Easter'.

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.