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One-flowered wintergreen

One-flowered wintergreen.
Photo by Laurie Campbell


Orchids in heather

Creeping ladies tresses orchids growing prolifically amongst heather and blaeberries at Coille Ruigh in Glen Affric.


Orchid closeup

Detail of the inflorescence of a lesser twayblade orchid.

Caledonian Forest Information Centre

Woodland Ground Flora Project

The difference between a bunch of trees and woodland is the diversity of life that exists within the habitat created by the shady tree canopy. This diversity is due in no small measure to woodland ground flora which provides food and shelter for a range of invertebrate species. These in turn provide food for little carnivores like spiders, ants and centipedes and so the chain goes on with birds and small mammals feeding on those, hawks, owls and pine marten further up and so on. This is a very simplified glance at the complex web of life that can be woven around a few key species like woodland ground flora.

In our new planting projects many woodland species will not be present and the nearest seed source for them might be miles away. Thus it could take hundreds of years, in some cases, for these plants to colonise by natural means so we need to give nature a helping hand. Even in mature woodland, overgrazing and changes in management practices have reduced diversity in the ground flora resulting in some species having become very rare or even absent when they should be common and abundant.

Trees for Life's Woodland Ground Flora Project seeks to enhance populations of plants which have become scarce in established woodland, species such as one-flowered wintergreen (Moneses uniflora), and twinflower (Linnaea borealis), and to establish populations of these plants, and more common species such as primrose (Primula vulgaris) and bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), in new woodland where these species are absent.

The project will involve surveys of established and new woodland sites, creating trial plots for species reintroduction, propagation of plants, researching suitable species and their growing conditions and liaising with other organisations involved in similar work.

Adam Powell

Pages about woodland ground flora on this site

Green hairstreak butterfly

Green hairstreak butterfly (Callophrys rubi) on a bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), Dundreggan.



Round-leaved wintergreen (Pyrola rotundifolia)

Trees for Life is an award winning conservation charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest
and all its species to a large contiguous area in the Highlands of Scotland.

Trees for Life is a registered charity Scottish charity No. SC021303, and a company limited by guarantee No. 143304 with its registered offices at Forres, Scotland.
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