Rare Plant Registers

This updated spreadsheet of Rare Plant Registers (January 2024 update) was prepared for BSBI by David Pearman.

A Rare Plant Register (RPR) is a mini Flora, containing details of the rarest species in the county and Red Listed species, together with up-to-date information on how they are faring.

An important feature is that RPRs should be standardised, so that they use similar categories of rarity. Bear in mind that they focus more on rarity than on conservation significance, although Red Listed species should be included (both at GB and country levels) and many counties have also drawn up lists of ecological indicator species. 

The guidelines for inclusion should focus on the following:

  • Nationally Rare
  • Nationally Scarce
  • Three or fewer sites in the county
  • Ten or fewer sites and declining
  • Other categories as set out in the RPR guidelines.

All of the above categories count for native species and archaeophytes, which should always be included if they match the criteria. Some neophytes of cultural significance in the county may be included at discretion. 

Right-click on the link to download the County Rare Plant Register Guidelines (updated 2017).  

The threat to rare plants

Collecting or deliberate damage are often given as reasons for keeping locations secret. However, in most cases, we feel there is more risk to rare plants from people not knowing where they are than there might be from vandalism. By providing good quality information on the distribution of plants, the BSBI enables government agencies and conservation organisations to direct their resources more efficiently. As many rarities grow on nature reserves, it is often essential to inform the owners, managers and users about the species that are there so that suitable management techniques can be employed.

For this reason, the BSBI encourages the production of Rare Plant Registers and their widespread dissemination. Please note however that readers should not trespass on private land to see plants and anyone visiting the countryside should always follow the Countryside Code and the BSBI Code of Conduct.

Other published registers

  • Caernarvonshire, 2008.
  • Carmarthenshire , 1999.
  • Dorset. 2004. Bryan Edwards & David Pearman. Available from Summerfield Books.
  • Flintshire, 2008.
  • Glamorgan (West), 2006.
  • Hampshire. 2011. Martin Rand and Tony Mundell. Available from Summerfield Books. See also the online version.
  • Leicestershire & Rutland. Michael Jeeves. 2008. Available from Summerfield Books.
  • Monmouthshire. 2007.
  • Pembrokeshire, 2007.
  • Radnorshire, 1999.
  • Shetland. 2002. Walter Scott, Paul Harvey, Roger Riddington & Morag Fisher. Available from all good bookshops.