Ice Age flower is still quite at home in balmy Headington

The Lye Valley Nature Reserve is hosting a rare flower – the Grass of Parnassus – which is in bloom at the moment. The Friends of Lye Valley are thrilled, and some of them are pictured with their chairwoman, front centre, Dr Judy Webb

The Lye Valley Nature Reserve is hosting a rare flower – the Grass of Parnassus – which is in bloom at the moment. The Friends of Lye Valley are thrilled, and some of them are pictured with their chairwoman, front centre, Dr Judy Webb

First published in News

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.

Send your Letter to the Editor

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

Council tax could go up more than was first thought

Oxford Mail: New Oxfordshire county council logo

9:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

COUNCIL tax in Oxfordshire may go up by more than originally planned after the Government laid out its plans for local authority income.

Oxford United look to spoil Hartlepool's party

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

Andy Whing says Oxford United should expect to beat Hartlepool United this afternoon despite the Football League’s bottom club appointing a new manager this week.

Hoodie robbers sought

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

Two men tried to rob a 22-year-old woman of her handbag in St Giles in Oxford.

27 drink-drive arrests

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

Twenty-seven people have been arrested on suspicion of drink-drving in Oxfordshire this month.

Motorcyclist hit car driver after collision

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

A pensioner was badly injured when he was attacked in his car by a motorcyclist in Cutteslowe, police said.

Dignified remembrance for victims of Gaza conflict

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

A VIGIL to remember those killed in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza this year was held in Carfax, Oxford.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree