Weʼre raising £200 to Provide a more hospitable environment for the endangered Tansy Beetle with the provision of Tansy plants to people living in Tansy areas.
- East Midlands
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The critically endangered Tansy Beetle is one of the most beautiful beetles in the UK, with its wonderful iridescent green colouring. Its wings were historically used as sequins and stitched into lace.
Once plentiful in the UK, the species is now critically endangered and flash flooding could wipe out the small population left in wild.
The reasons why the Tansy Beetle is critically endangered is because it only lives on two species of plant, the Yellow Tansy and occasionally and the Purple Tansy these are considered weeds and farmers spray them with weedkiller. The Tansy beetle cannot sense its way to the edible Tansy plants and do not fly, they can only walk up to 200m to the next plant, so a lack of Tansy plants away from the cluster it wandered from can mean the end for a lost, wandering Tansy. During the winter the Tansy Beetle goes underground, beneath the Tansy plant but in summer the Tansy Beetle is active, mating and laying eggs on the leaves of the Tansy plant. Summer flooding is more common today than in historical years and could mean a death sentence not just for a particular Tansy population but for the whole species.
The Tansy plant can be confused with Ragwort. See above (left image - Tansy. Right image Ragwort). While tansy plant has now fallen out of favor in some quarters due to its poisonous nature and invasive tendencies, it was nonetheless once a much-admired herb.
Tansy plant's common name derives from the Greek athanatos, meaning immortality (either because it is long-lived or because tansy was used for embalming going back to ancient times). In Greek mythology, Zeus was said to have made Ganymede immortal by giving the latter tansy on Mount Olympus.
It was an important medicinal and culinary herb in Europe for centuries. "In medieval times, tansy was used for a variety of ailments," says Stephen Byrnes, in Tansy: an Herb with a Rich History. "Its most well-known use was for expelling intestinal worms, particularly in children. Children infected by these parasites would have a cup of tansy tea in the morning, and another at night." Not something recommended nowadays!!
Given their pedigree in the European tradition, it is not surprising that tansy flowers were soon brought to the New World by the American colonists and granted a position of prominence there in the garden. "Use of common tansy led the governor of Massachusetts to list common tansy as a necessary plant for colonial herb gardens in the 1600s," according to Montana State University.
With the money Farley raises he hopes to buy Tansy seeds and pants which will be distributed initially across the local area to where the Tansy Beetle was re-discovered in the East Midlands. Until recent years the only Tansy population was in York along a small section on the banks of the River Ouse.
In order to expand the hospitable environment for the beetle, Farleys aim is to encourage locals in the area of the East midlands the beetle was re-discovered to protect the Tansy environment and also provide them with potted Tansy plants for their gardens in order to ensure a wider area for expansion for the beetle and a more hospitably environment.
Common Tansy Plant Gardening Facts:
Genus: Tanacetum. Species: vulgare. Skill Level: Beginner. Exposure: Full sun. Hardiness: Hardy. Soil type: Well-drained/light, Moist. Height: 90cm. Spread: 45cm. Time to divide plants: March to May. Flowering period: August to September.
This decorative and pungent perennial was once important medicinally but is now seldom used, although it is a useful insect-repellent ingredient of pot-pourri. The curled and variegated forms are particularly attractive and less vigorous, which commends them for smaller gardens for the best colour, plant the variegated forms in light shade. Tansy is an easy-going plant that thrives, and may even be invasive, in most positions except where very wet, and it makes an excellent container plant when grown in a large pot and kept well-watered in summer.
Farley hopes you will help him to expand the numbers of Tansy Beetles by helping him raise money and awareness for the survival of the beautiful Tansy.
Thank you :)
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