Corn Gromwell is now considered endangered in the UK. Abbey Farm was one of just 12 sites known in Norfolk in 1999 (‘A Flora of Norfolk’, Beckett and Bull, 1999). It was found on one 50m stretch of field edge where 20-30 years ago there were probably several hundred plants. For over 20 years the site has almost constantly been a conservation headland, a cultivated margin or now one of the areas cultivated annually specifically for rare arable weeds. Despite this, the population dwindled to such an extent that none were found from 2012-15.
In 2015 we grew corn gromwell as a commercial crop (read more…). In May 2016 we rediscovered Corn Gromwell at the traditional wild site. This was exciting, but immediately raised the question as to whether the plants were wild or escapees from the commercial crop. There’s been a lot of thinking and discussion since the rediscovery – more details here once the dust and pollen have settled. In the meantime, we’ve protected over 100 plants from grazing to help ensure they produce seed this year.
We would be very interested to hear from anyone managing a Corn Gromwell site, especially in East Anglia. We are interested to know how other populations are faring and what management is working best.