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Special Areas of Conservation

1614 Creeping marshwort Apium repens

Higher plant species

Description and ecological characteristics

Creeping marshwort Apium repens is a creeping perennial, forming rosettes of simply-pinnate leaves from which runners or stolons extend and root at nodes. It grows in wet grassland subject to winter flooding, typically by rivers.

Apium repens closely resembles certain varieties of the related fool’s water-cress Apium nodiflorum, leading to confusion over the true status of A. repens. However, DNA analysis of Apium populations carried out at the main UK site in 1994 confirmed that both species were present, with no evidence for hybridisation between the two species (Grassly et al. 1996).

Distribution of SACs/SCIs/cSACs with species 1614 Apium repens. Click image for enlarged map.

European status and distribution

UK status and distribution

Creeping marshwort Apium repens was formerly recorded in scattered localities from East Anglia and Oxfordshire north to Fife and Kintyre. The plant is now confined to Oxfordshire, where it occurs on a grazed flood-meadow near Oxford, and at a second, smaller site. The number of individuals in the larger population has been monitored over several years and fluctuates annually, with wet springs and summers apparently favouring the plant. It is listed as Critically endangered in Britain.

View UK distribution of this species.

Site selection rationale

In the UK, creeping marshwort is known from only two localities in Oxfordshire. The larger population has been selected as a SAC.

Site accounts

  • Oxford Meadows Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
    Oxford Meadows is selected because Port Meadow is the larger of only two known sites in the UK for creeping marshwort Apium repens.

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.

Please note that the map shows sites where the presence of a feature is classed as ‘grade d’, but these sites are not listed. This is because ‘grade d’ indicates a non-significant presence.