Wild flower habitats are as varied as they are beautiful. From European meadows populated with delicate and unassuming species such as melancholy thistle, yellow rattle and wood cranesbill to the astonishingly biodiverse Cape Floristic Region in South Africa with its bold and showy proteas and pincushions, these habitats are of immense cultural, ecological and economic value.
However, the beauty of these areas is not just skin-deep. Wild flower habitats are an integral part of our natural world, and vital havens of biodiversity that support a huge variety of species from butterflies, grasshoppers, bees and other insects to small mammals and birds right up to large grazing animals.
Interestingly, some of the world’s most biodiverse flower habitats are actually those that people have – sometimes inadvertently – helped to cultivate over centuries. In the Tarnava Mare area of north-west Romania, for example, traditional land management practices that rely on low-intensity farming and grazing has created a mosaic of habitat that contains some of the richest floral diversity in the world.