Mendip Hills, limestone cliffs and coastal islands display

The Mendip Hills display illustrates the scrubland and grassland flora found on Carboniferous limestone. Cheddar pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus has its only UK population amongst the rocky outcrops of Cheddar Gorge. While purple gromwell Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum is found frequently in Mendip woods. The starved sedge Carex depauperata is grown and thrives in a base rich soil amongst the limestone rocks. Locally it grows at only one location in woods and a hedge bank near to Axbridge, one of only two UK sites. White rockrose Helianthemum appenninum is found growing at the western extreme of the Mendip Hills, one of only two UK sites. In May its papery white flowers dominate the display and can be seen growing in dry thin soil, its favoured environment.

<em>Allium ampeloprasum</em> var. <em>babingtonii</em>
Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii

The limestone cliffs and coastal islands display is comprised of Carboniferous limestone with an adjoining area of coastal sand. Wild leek Alllium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum is classed as an archaeophyte and found locally growing on the limestone island of Steep Holm in the Bristol Channel, while Babington’s leek Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii is found growing on coastal cliffs and dunes of Cornwall. Both are displayed next to each other allowing visitors to make comparisons between these two related varieties. Sea stock Matthiola sinuata, a species found in dune slacks in North Devon and South Wales, and shore dock Rumex rupestris, a coastal species from south Devon and Cornwall are displayed. Both plants are threatened in the wild with populations declining due to habitat change and loss.