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European Wildflowers Being Wiped Out October 28, 2011
European wildflower
Corncockle bloom — one of dozens of wildflowers threatened by farming across Europe.
Wildflowers that have shared the European countryside with wheat, barley and other crops for thousands of years are rapidly vanishing.

And while they barely compete with those crops for water and soil, they have long been treated as weeds.

The widespread use of herbicides as industrialized farming has expanded over the past several decades is responsible for the decline, according to officials.

Botanists point out that the wild flowering plants nourish birds and help crops by attracting birds and insects that eat pests.

“All over Europe the situation is the same, with these species in serious decline,” says Amélie Coantic, at France’s environment ministry.

Coantic told Le Monde: “Out of 102 varieties identified in France, 52 are under threat and seven have already disappeared.”

The ministry is drawing up plans to preserve the wildflowers, whose life cycle is closely linked to the harvest.

Photo: File