• Floodplain meadows
  • floodplain meadows

Floodplain meadows guide

The FSC Floodplain meadows guide features 48 indicator species of flowering plants.

Species-rich floodplain meadows are an internationally rare habitat, occupying less than 1500 hectares in the UK. They are special because they have a high species diversity. Some floodplain meadows can support up to 40 plant species per square metre, as well as providing a habitat for many rare species. They have evolved over hundreds of years through the need to sustain cattle, sheep and horses over the winter months by storing the summer grass crop as hay. The annual cut in midsummer together with grazing afterwards prevents the taller, coarser plant species from becoming dominant, creating the diverse flower-rich sward we see today.

It is possible to interpret many aspects of a site’s history, management, soil fertility and water regime from the plant species and communities present. This guide illustrates some of the commoner plants of floodplain meadows, and indicates what they can tell you about management and soil conditions

The Floodplain meadows guide was produced in association with the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.