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Dorset's Plants

Erica ciliaris - Dorset Heath

Erica ciliaris Dorset Heath

Photo: Bryan Edwards

Dorset is a small lowland county but supports one of the richest floras’ in Britain; in fact the 10 km square around Wareham, SY98, supports more native plant species than any other in the UK. The richness of the flora is due to a number of factors including climate, geology, land-use and the network of protected sites such as Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The flora is made up of 942 species (excluding hybrids) that are thought to be native plus a further 142 species that are classed as archaeophytes. These are species that are believed to have been fully naturalised before AD 1500, and include many species associated with early agriculture and are collectively known as ‘arable weeds’. Around 870 species recorded in the county are regarded as aliens (neophytes) that have been introduced since AD 1500 and have become naturalised outside of gardens.

Rare Plants

Limonium recurvum subsp. recurvum

Limonium recurvum subsp. recurvum
Portland Sea-lavender
A Red Data Book species endemic to the
Isle of Portland.

Photo: Bryan Edwards

In conjunction with the Botanical Society of the British Isles, DERC have published a Rare Plant Register for the county. This brings together all recent records for species are rare nationally, or that are rare or declining within Dorset, and covers 263 species.

The Dorset Rare Plant Register can be purchased from DERC
Price £8.00 + £2.00 p & p.

Who To Contact

If you would like to send in your plant records, particularly those included in the Rare Plant Register, or for further information on how you can become involved, please contact:


Bryan Edwards



01305 228520