Conservation status

Two sources of conservation status are provided in this section.

1. The conservation status information provided by PLANTATT

The conservation status of plants is coded according to the system proposed by Hodgetts, Palmer & Wigginton (1996); see also Palmer et al. (1997). This status is an assessment of threat rather than rarity, although closely related to rarity in that only species known at the time of the assessment in less than 101 10-km squares have been allocated to one of the categories listed. The status listed is that given by Cheffings (2004). This replaces the statuses provided in the Red Data Book (Wigginton, 1999) and Scarce plants in Britain (Stewart, Pearman & Preston, 1994). Cheffings assigns a conservation status to native species and archaeophytes, with only a few exceptions. PLANTATT cannot be used to provide a complete list of threatened taxa as many subspecies listed by Cheffings are not treated separately.

2. A collation of conservation designations, provided by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Over the past thirty years, numerous lists of conservation status have been produced - Red Lists, Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Lists, species listed on European Directives, species listed on the Schedules of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, together with lists of rare and scarce species. There is considerable overlap between these and some species appear on several of them - for example the marsh saxifrage Saxifraga hirculus has as many as six “badges".  The Joint Nature Conservation Committee collates many of the current lists into one place and make this available via the NBN Gateway.  The conservation designation information provided here is derived from the NBN Gateway via a webservice.  


Hodgetts, N., Palmer, M. & Wigginton, M. (1996) The Pink Book of Plants: lists of vascular and nonvascular plant species which are nationally threatened, localised or protected in Great Britain. JNCC, Peterborough.

Palmer, M.A., Hodgetts, N.G.,Wigginton, M.J., Ing, B. & Stewart, N.F. (1997) The application to the British flora of the World Conservation Union’s revised red list criteria and the significance of red lists for species conservation. Biological Conservation, 82, 219-226.

Stewart, A., Pearman, D.A. & Preston, C.D., eds. (1994) Scarce plants in Britain. JNCC, Peterborough.

For technical details, please refer to relevant pages on the JNCC ( and NBN website (