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: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
- Our top stories
- Oxford United v Swindon Town - UPDATES
- CLARIFICATION: Hygiene report of Delight 2 in Didcot
- Man 'obsessed' with BBC journalist goes on trial after allegedly breaching restraining order against her
- Families urged to consider signing up for organ donation
- Oxford United send match tickets to fans caught up in season ticket delay
- Five things you need to know in Oxfordshire today