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: 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

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

Mayfair Road man charged with murder in connection with Barton death

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:04am Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAN has been charged with murder after a man was found with chest injuries in Barton late on Tuesday night.

Defibrillator campaign smashes its 200 target - now let's go for 500

Oxford Mail:

9:04am Saturday 25th April 2015

ONE man’s mission to get 200 more public defibrillators across Oxfordshire has smashed its target thanks to the Oxford Mail.

Randolph Hotel: Historically important parts largely unscathed by fire

Oxford Mail:

8:57am Saturday 25th April 2015

A CONSERVATION group has said historically important sections of The Randolph Hotel were left largely unscathed by last week’s major fire.

Thefts fall, only to be replaced by big increase in cyber crime

Oxford Mail:

8:53am Saturday 25th April 2015

CYBER crime in Oxford is becoming so prevalent it is replacing traditional thefts, a police chief has said.

Residents back post mistress after changes threaten shop

Oxford Mail:

8:47am Saturday 25th April 2015

HUNDREDS of experienced postmasters will be lost as part of changes to our post offices, a union secretary has warned.

Gloucester Green bus station getting a wash and brush up

Oxford Mail:

8:41am Saturday 25th April 2015

A MAJOR clean-up is under way to smarten up Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station.

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