Yellow Marsh Saxifrage

Durham Priority Species
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Yellow Marsh Saxifrage Action Plan

Priority Species: Yellow Marsh Saxifrage


  1. Secure favourable conservation status of all known populations.
  2. Improve knowledge of yellow marsh saxifrage through survey, research and monitoring.

Vision Statement: To restore the historic range for yellow marsh saxifrage and for all populations to be managed to allow flower production and seed output

Target Type Unit Value
1. To restore the historic range of yellow marsh saxifrage in the Durham BAP area. restore sites 4

Yellow marsh saxifrage is a perennial plant occurring in base-rich flushes and mires. It is threatened and declining throughout much of Europe. Formerly recorded from 13 vice-counties in the UK, it is now restricted to approximately 20 localities in about 10 ten km squares in Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England. The main population concentration is now in the North Pennines, which holds 80-90% of the UK population. The size of yellow marsh saxifrage populations have been under-estimated as the flower heads are grazed off, making recognition difficult.

This plant is one of a group of plants known as the Teesdale assemblage, including spring gentian, Teesdale sandwort, Teesdale violet and bitter milkwort. They would have been more widespread at the end of the last ice age, but now only occur as relict fragmented populations in the extreme environment of the north pennines.

As well as representing the Teesdale assemblage yellow marsh saxifrage is a flagship species for the conservation of upland moorland, especially flush and mire communities.

This plant is listed on Annexes II and IV of the EC Habitats Directive and Appendix I of the Bern Convention. It is listed as Vulnerble in the British Red Data list, and  is protected in the UK under Schedule 4 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations 1994 and Schedule 8 of the WCA 1981.

Local status

The North Pennine populations of yellow marsh saxifrage are thought to be some of the healthiest in the UK. The main centres for the plant in the Durham BAP area are in Teesdale, Lunedale and Weardale.


  • Loss and degradation of habitat, particularly through drainage and over-grazing.