County flowers

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County flowers are wildflowers representative of counties. A county flower was chosen for each county in the United Kingdom after competitions run by PlantLife, a charity, beginning in 2002.

The PlantLife campaign

Plantlife wanted to commemorate the Queen's Jubilee in 2002 by putting wild flowers on the map, and launched a campaign to ask every county to choose its own wild flower emblem. The nation was asked to choose a wild flower emblem to represent their county or city.

The competitions

In its first year, people were asked to vote for any wild flower that they felt best represented their county. The following year, the competition was whittled down to the top two for each of the 92 counties in the United Kingdom, for the Isle of Man and for the largest cities; 109 in all. The results were announced on 5th May 2004 and are published on PlantLife’s website.

Norfolk was the one example of a change after a flower had been chosen. The initial vote chose alexanders (smyrnium olusatrum), but vocal local feeling against the choice forced a change, and so the common poppy (papaver rhoeas) was chosen instead.

UK's favourite flower

The first round of voting for County Flowers yielded the native bluebell as a clear favourite across the country, topping the list in many of the counties. The bluebell was crowned the wild flower emblem for the whole of the United Kingdom, and was endorsed by the PlantLife's patron, HRH The Prince of Wales.

Why a wildflower emblem?

Flowers are a powerful means of expression - everyone recognises the poppy, iconic image of remembrance for those who fell in battle. The simple dog-rose has appeared on heraldic banners for over a thousand years and many towns and villages are named after plants – Bromley is named after the broom, Ramsey after ramson, otherwise known as wild garlic.

Reasons for the campaign

Plantlife launched the County Flowers campaign in order to highlight the threat that wildflowers are facing in Britain. A recent report from the charity shows that, on average, every county in the United Kingdom is losing one species of wild plant every two years due to habitat loss, pollution and intensive farming.

The flowers chosen

Many of the wildflowers chosen as county flowers are rare. Some are found only in the county or in narrow ranges. Some counties share a flower, for example the pasqueflower is the county flower for Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, the harebell for County Antrim, Dumfriesshire and Yorkshire.

The following are the flowers selected for the counties of the United Kingdom in Plantlife's 2002 "County Flowers" campaign.

County Common name Scientific name Status
Aberdeenshire Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Native Bearberry
Anglesey Spotted Rock-rose Tuberaria guttata Native Spotted rock-rose
Angus Alpine Catchfly Lychnis alpina Native Alpine catchfly
County Antrim Harebell Campanula rotundifolia Native Harebell
Argyllshire Foxglove Digitalis purpurea Native Foxglove
County Armagh Cowbane Cicuta virosa Native Cowbane
Ayrshire Green-winged Orchid Anacamptis morio Native Green-winged orchid
Banffshire Dark-red Helleborine Epipactis atrorubens Native Dark red helleborine
Bedfordshire Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera Native Bee orchid
Berkshire Summer Snowflake Leucojum aestivum Native Summer snowflake
Berwickshire Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium Native Rock-rose
Brecknockshire Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis Native Cuckooflower
Buckinghamshire Chiltern Gentian Gentianella germanica Native Chiltern gentian
Buteshire Thrift Armeria maritima Native Thrift
Caernarfonshire Snowdon Lily Lloydia serotina Native Snowdon lily
Caithness Scots Primrose Primula scotica Native Scottish primrose
Cambridgeshire Pasqueflower Pulsatilla vulgaris Native Pasqueflower
Cardiganshire Bog-rosemary Andromeda polifolia Native Bog-rosemary
Carmarthenshire Whorled Caraway Carum verticillatum Native Whorled caraway
Cheshire Cuckooflower Cardamine pratensis Native Cuckooflower
Clackmannanshire Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Native Opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage
Cornwall Cornish Heath Erica vagans Native Cornish Heath
Cromartyshire Spring Cinquefoil Potentilla neumanniana Native Spring cinquefoil
Cumberland Grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris Native Grass-of-Parnassus
Denbighshire Limestone Woundwort Stachys alpina Native Limestone woundwort
Derbyshire Jacob's-ladder Polemonium caeruleum Native Jacob's-ladder
Devon Primrose Primula vulgaris Native Primrose
Dorset Dorset Heath Erica ciliaris Native Dorset heath
County Down Spring Squill Scilla verna Native Spring squill
Dumfriesshire Harebell Campanula rotundifolia Native Harebell
Dunbartonshire Lesser Water-plantain Baldellia ranunculoides Native Water-plantain
County Durham Spring Gentian Gentiana verna Native Spring gentian
East Lothian Viper's-bugloss Echium vulgare Native Viper's-bugloss
Essex Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas Native Poppy
Fermanagh Globeflower Trollius europaeus Native Globeflower
Fife Coralroot Orchid Corallorrhiza trifida Native Coralroot orchid
Flintshire Bell Heather Erica cinerea Native Bell heather
Glamorgan Yellow Whitlowgrass Draba aizoides Native Yellow whitlowgrass
Gloucestershire Wild Daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus Native Wild daffodil
Hampshire Dog-rose Rosa canina Native Dog-rose
Herefordshire Mistletoe Viscum album Native Mistletoe
Hertfordshire Pasqueflower Pulsatilla vulgaris Native Pasqueflower
Huntingdonshire Water-violet Hottonia palustris Native Water-violet
Inverness-shire Twinflower Linnaea borealis Native Twinflower
Kent Hop Humulus lupulus Native Hop
Kincardineshire Clustered bellflower Campanula glomerata Native Viper's bugloss
Kinross-shire Holy-grass Hierochloe odorata Native Holy-grass
Kirkcudbrightshire Bog-rosemary Andromeda polifolia Native Bog-rosemary
Lanarkshire Dune Helleborine Epipactis leptochila Native Dune helleborine
Lancashire Red rose Rosa gallica officinalis Absent Red rose
Leicestershire Foxglove Digitalis purpurea Native Foxglove
Lincolnshire Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana Native Dog violet
County Londonderry Purple Saxifrage Saxifraga oppositifolia Native Purple saxifrage
Merionethshire Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica Native Welsh poppy
Middlesex Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa Native Wood anemone
Midlothian Sticky Catchfly Lychnis viscaria Native Sticky catchfly
Monmouthshire Foxglove Digitalis purpurea Native Foxglove
Montgomeryshire Spiked Speedwell Veronica spicata Native Spiked speedwell
Morayshire One-flowered Wintergreen Moneses uniflora Native One-flowered wintergreen
Nairnshire Chickweed Wintergreen Trientalis europaea Native Chickweed wintergreen
Norfolk Common Poppy Papaver rhoeas Native Poppy
Northamptonshire Cowslip Primula veris Native Cowslip
Northumberland Bloody Crane's-bill Geranium sanguineum Native Bloody crane's-bill
Nottinghamshire Autumn Crocus Crocus nudiflorus Archaeophyte Autumn crocus
Orkney Alpine Bearberry Arctostaphylos alpina Native Alpine bearberry
Oxfordshire Snake's-head Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris Native Snake's-head fritillary
Peeblesshire Cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus Native Cloudberry
Pembrokeshire Thrift Armeria maritima Native Thrift
Perthshire Alpine Gentian Gentiana nivalis Native Alpine gentian
Radnorshire Radnor Lily Gagea bohemica Native Radnor lily
Renfrewshire Bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata Native Bogbean
Ross-shire Bog Asphodel Narthecium ossifragum Native Bog asphodel
Roxburghshire Maiden Pink Dianthus deltoides Native Maiden pink
Rutland Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata Native Clustered bellflower
Selkirkshire Mountain Pansy Viola lutea Native Mountain pansy
Shetland Shetland Mouse-ear Cerastium nigrescens Native Shetland mouse-ear
Shropshire Round-leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia Native Round-leaved sundew
Somerset Cheddar Pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus Native Cheddar pink
Staffordshire Heather Calluna vulgaris Native Heather
Stirlingshire Scottish Dock Rumex aquaticus Native Scottish dock
Suffolk Oxlip Primula elatior Native Oxlip
Surrey Cowslip Primula veris Native Cowslip
Sussex Round-headed Rampion Phyteuma orbiculare Native Round-headed rampion
Sutherland Grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris Native Grass-of-Parnassus
Tyrone Bog-rosemary Andromeda polifolia Native Bog-rosemary
Warwickshire Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum Native Honeysuckle
West Lothian Common Spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii Native Common spotted-orchid
Westmorland Alpine Forget-me-not Myosotis alpestris Native Alpine forget-me-not
Wigtownshire Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus Native Yellow iris
Wiltshire Burnt Orchid Neotinea ustulata Native Burnt orchid
Worcestershire Cowslip Primula veris Native Cowslip
Yorkshire Harebell Campanula rotundifolia Native Harebell

Other flowers

In addition to county flowers, Plantlife determined some city and island flowers. The island flowers are:

Fuchsia Hebridean spotted-orchid Thrift Pyramidal Orchid
Isle of Man
Crown dependency
Outer Hebrides
Inverness-shire and
Isles of Scilly
Isle of Wight
Fuchsia magellanica
Hebridean Spotted-orchid
Dactylorhiza fuchsii hebridensis
Armeria maritima
Pyramidal Orchid
Anacamptis pyramidalis

Outside links


  1. The Isle of Man also has a traditional national flower; the ragwort or cushag


  • The list of county flowers above is taken from the county flowers page at Plantlife's website [1].
  • County statuses are taken from:
    • Stace, C. A., R. G. Ellis, D. H. Kent and D. J. McCosh (2003) Vice-county Census Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Great Britain Botanical Society of the British Isles