AN 8,000-year-old flower is blossoming in an Oxford meadow.
The fragile and rare Grass of Parnassus thrives in the peat bog of the Lye Valley, Headington, where it has flowered since the last Ice Age.
Experts believe it probably arrived there on the feet of mammoths or other prehistoric animals whose bones have been found in the adjacent Boundary Brook.
The Lye Valley is the most southerly place the grass is found in England.
Dr Judy Webb, chair of the Friends of Lye Valley, said: “The Lye Valley is without doubt the most ancient habitat in all Oxford.
“We are very good at caring for old buildings and inviting new research organisations to establish themselves in Oxford – but the Lye Valley tops them all for age, rarity and uniqueness.
“Grass of Parnassus should be Headington’s icon, for my research has revealed that the first ever records of the plant were made in Oxford in 1570 by a Belgian Botanist, Matthias de L’Obel. It was noted in Headington in this very wetland as long ago as 1640 and it is remarkable that is has survived to this day.”
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
- Our top stories
6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.
What have our brilliant columnists said this week - choose your favourite in our interactive collage
4:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
Just what have our thought-provoking columnists been writing about this week? Catch up with our interactive collage giving you a choice from 9 of the best
3:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014
We've had some wonderful pictures this week - here's our interactive spread with links to the stories behind the photos
11:19am Saturday 22nd November 2014
Callers to the police's non-emergency 101 number are being urged to stay on the line despite problems.
9:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014
Michael Appleton says Oxford United will need to be intelligent if they are to keep heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet for AFC Wimbledon today.
11:34am Friday 21st November 2014
Six things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend.