The importance of donor population identity and habitat type when creating new populations of small cow-wheat Melampyrum sylvaticum from seed in Perthshire, Scotland

  • Published source details Dalrymple S.E. & Broome A. (2010) The importance of donor population identity and habitat type when creating new populations of small cow-wheat Melampyrum sylvaticum from seed in Perthshire, Scotland. Conservation Evidence, 7, 1-8.


Small cow-wheat Melampyrum sylvaticum, a nationally scarce annual identified as a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, was the focus of a translocation attempt aiming to establish new populations within the extent of its former Scottish range. Seeds were collected (from wild Scottish
populations) in three phases (in the years 2005, 2006 and 2008) and sown at six receptor sites where the species was absent but habitat seemed suitable. Each phase used increasing numbers of seed after the results of the first phase (89 to 103 seeds sown per site) suggested that many more than 100 seeds are needed to establish the species (at least in the short-term) at a site. Comparisons of the suitability of seed from three different wild populations showed that one resulted in higher germination rates. This donor population was associated with environmental conditions more similar to those at the receptor sites than those of the other donors. Receptor sites also differed in their suitability; those that were climatically and edaphically more similar to sites supporting wild populations appear to be more favourable to M.sylvaticum longer-term survival. Together, these can be seen to suggest that future seed translocation should be to sites that are ecologically similar to the donor population and within sites that fall into the cooler and wetter range of environmental conditions currently supporting Scottish populations of M.sylvaticum.

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust