Pheasant's-eye

©Adrian Shepherd

Pheasant's-eye

Scientific name: Adonis annua
Once considered a weed of cornfields, the Pheasant's-eye was nearly wiped out by intensive agricultural practices. Today, it can be found in deliberately seeded areas, and on roadside verges and waste ground.

Species information

Statistics

Height: 10-40cm

Conservation status

Classified as Endangered on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

June to August

About

Once considered a weed of arable fields, the development of intensive agricultural practices nearly wiped out the Pheasant's-eye in the wild. This delicate, wine-red flower is now most likely to occur as a part of intentional wildflower seeding, or as the result of the disturbance of soil containing old seed banks. Its strongholds remain roadside verges, scrub, waste ground and farmland, but it is sensitive to herbicides and requires calcium-rich soils to thrive. It flowers from June to August, often alongside other 'arable weeds' (also called 'cornfield flowers') such as Corn Chamomile and Corncockle.

How to identify

The beautiful, wine-red flowers of Pheasant's-eye have black, poppy-like centres and delicate, feathered leaf segments.

Distribution

Very scarce, most likely found in the south of the UK.

Did you know?

The seeds of Pheasant's-eye, like many arable weeds, are able to remain dormant in the soil for a long time, until conditions become suitable again, for example, through the clearing of woodland or disturbance of soil during road construction.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.