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

Update: Pensioner killed in crash with Ford Focus on A4183 near Abingdon

Oxford Mail:

5:32pm Wednesday 26th November 2014

A PENSIONER died last night after a crash in Abingdon.

Oxford-born author PD James dies aged 94

Oxford Mail:

1:46pm Thursday 27th November 2014

PD James, the acclaimed author famous for her series of detective novels, has died aged 94.

What's in our interactive back page today?

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Thursday 27th November 2014

Have a look around our interactive back page today...

What is in our interactive front page for today

Oxford Mail:

11:10am Thursday 27th November 2014

Here's today's interactive front page for you to explore... what stories will grab your interest?

Man arrested after train manager attacked on Banbury train

Oxford Mail: British Transport police badge

10:44am Thursday 27th November 2014

A TRAIN manager was assaulted and passengers came to his aid on a train to Banbury.

Oxford United buoyed by Roberts news

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Wednesday 26th November 2014

MICKEY Lewis backed James Roberts to come back stronger than ever after Oxford United were boosted by the news the striker’s hamstring injury was not serious.

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