Dawlish Warren Flora

The Warren has long been recognised as an important botanical site, although the assessment of older records is complicated by the variation of site names used in the past. The spit has been variously known as Exmouth Sands, Exmouth Warren, Dawlish; and The Warren over the years, the familiar name not coming into regular usage until Great Western Railway renamed their station from Warren Platform to Dawlish Warren in 1912.

These older records include the first record of Purple Spurge for the UK in the late 18th century and Red Star-thistle in the early 19th century. Sand Crocus was first noted here as long ago as 1834, until a recent rediscovery in southern Cornwall, this was the only known UK site for this species.

Several other nationally rare species have also been recorded here along with 21 species which are classed as Nationally Scarce. Despite this extensive recording new species are still being discovered, some are garden exotics persisting for only a short time but others are local or even national rarities.

This page covers the 729 higher plant species & 22 hybrids recorded on Dawlish Warren and builds on the previous work of many botanists and the 1992 published flora produced by Mary De Lemos. The following list is intended as a supplement to the 1992 Flora, species not in bold have not been recorded since publication.

This list follows the order of A New Flora of Devon (2016), R.Smith, B.Hodgson & J. Ison; which includes an excellent section on the Warren.

Please pass on any records you may have to the Recording Group, they will be forwarded to the BSBI Vice county Recorder and Devon Biodiversity Records Centre.

It is our intention to try to use Dawlish Warren photographs of many species on this website, both common and rare. If you can help, please get in touch.

Related links:  BSBI    Plantlife

Devon (1850 2km squares) status Recording area totals
Very rare - occurs in <10 2km squares 82
Rare – occurs in 10 – 30 2km squares 85
Occasional – occurs in 31 to 100 2km squares 154
Frequent – occurs in 101 – 500 2km squares 190
Common - occurs in 501 - 1400 2km squares 178
Very Common - occurs in over 1400 2km squares  61

Last updated 12/07/22

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      1992 - 2010


        SX9778 SX9878 SX9880
  Marsh Clubmoss Lycopodiella inundata          
  Very rare in Devon. Native. Last recorded on site in 1936.          
  Adder’s-tongue   Ophioglossum vulgatum b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Native. Found in the damper areas of Greenland Lake and the VC dune slack.          
  (c) Darren Maynard          
  Small Adder’s-tongue Ophioglossum azoricum  b   b  
  Very rare in Devon. Native. First discovered in Greenland Lake in 2003, was re-found and its identity confirmed in 2005. There are only two other sites in Devon.          
  (c) Alan Keatley          
  Field Horsetail Equisetum arvense  b b b  
  Rediscovered on the Golf Course in 1995. Also occurs around the car park.          
  Giant Horsetail Equisetum telmateia        
  Discovered by the Entrance Bushes in Nov 2021.          
  (c) Phil Pullen          
  Royal Fern Osmunda regalis b      
  Previously occurred in the copse by the 2nd Tee but was lost during scrub clearance c2005. Rediscovered by the 12th fairway in 2020.          
  Bracken Pteridium aquilinum b b    
  Discovered on the wall above the 18th green on the Golf Course in 1995. Also present along the Railway Embankment.          
  Hart’s-tongue Fern Phyllitis scolopendrium b b b  
  Previously under a shop in the amusements area, was lost when this area was redeveloped. In 2005 was rediscovered in a number of areas where bramble had been cleared the previous year. Also recorded in the Entrance Bushes, along the railway embankment and amongst boulders on the old seawall.          
  Black Spleenwort  Asplenium adiantum-nigrum b b b  
  Found on Langstone Rock with records around the old shops until lost to development and single plants found in 2004 along the Dune Ridge and 2021 on Warren Point after bramble clearance.          
  Maidenhair Spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes   b b b  
  A single plant was found in 2005 growing by a light in the Railway Tunnel under the Recording Area boundary. It survived until 2017, two years longer than the light. Also was by the Boathouse in 2018 only.          
  Male Fern Dryopteris filix-mas   b   b  
  Broad Buckler-fern  Dryopteris dilatata  b   b  
  Intermediate Polypody Polypodium interjectum b   b b
  Found in areas of fixed dune and bramble scrub.          
  Scots Pine Pinus sylvestrus b   b  
  A single mature tree and occasional saplings in the Entrance Bushes, previously also in Dead Dolphin Wood.          
  (c) Alan Keatley          
  Yew   Taxus baccata b   b b
  A few scattered plants, no doubt from bird droppings. Largest trees around the 2nd Tee.          
  White Water-lily   Nymphaea alba b   b  
  Discovered in the Main Pond in 1996, still present.           
  Bay Laurus nobilis   b b b b
  Several plants around the Main Pond, Cuckoo's Nest, Golf Course and on Warren Point.          
  Rigid Hornwort  Ceratophyllum demersum b   b  
  Discovered in the Main Pond in 1995, still present.          
  Oriental Poppy Papaver pseudorientale        
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Discovered by Langstone Rock in June 2022.          
  Atlas Poppy Papaver atlanticum b      
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Discovered in the late 1990s, didn't persist.          
  Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum b b    
  Increasing at the landward end.          
  Common Poppy  Papaver rhoeas b b b  
  Makes occasional appearances.          
  Long-headed Poppy  Papaver dubium b      
  Rediscovered around the car park in 1995, persisted for several years. Refound on the golf course in 2021.          
  Prickly Poppy Papaver argemone        
  Very rare in Devon. Native. Last recorded at the Warren in 1860.          
  Yellow Horned-poppy  Glaucium flavum b      
  Rare in Devon. Native. Rediscovered growing in Soft Sand Bay in 1996, however only occasional in its appearances and was last recorded in 2005.          
  White Ramping-fumitory Fumaria capreolata b b    
  Discovered on the Golf Course in 2009, still present.          
  Common Ramping-fumitory Fumaria muralis ssp. boraei b b b  
  (c) Alan Keatley          
  Common Fumitory Fumaria officinalis b      
  Discovered near the Boathouse in 2009.          
  Darwin's Barberry  Berberis darwinii     b  
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. One bush near the Dune Pond discovered c 2014, still present, with a second in the Buffer Zone discovered in May 2021.          
  Stinking Hellebore Helleborous foetidus         
  One record on the Dune Ridge in 1991.          
  Love-in-a-Mist Nigella damascena         
  Introduced. First recorded on the Golf Course in May 2022.          
  Traveller’s-joy Clematis vitalba b   b b
  Often found growing amongst Marram along the Dune Ridge.          
  Orange Peel Clematis Clematis tangutica b     b
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Discovered growing on Warren Point in Sep 2010, still present.          
  Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris b   b  
  Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens  b b b  
  Bulbous Buttercup Ranunculus bulbosus b   b  
  Small-flowered Buttercup Ranunculus parviflorus  b b b  
  Found in areas of short grassland, especially around the seawall.          
  Celery-leaved Buttercup Ranunculus sceleratus b   b  
  Found in ditches on the Golf Course.          
  Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula  b   b  
  Brackish Water-crowfoot Ranunculus baudotii          
  Rare in Devon. No recent sign.          
  Lesser Celandine  Ranunculus ficaria   b b b  
  Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris        
  Redcurrant Ribes rubum   b      
  Discovered on the Golf Course in 1995. Still present, also by the Main Pond.          
  Blackcurrant    Ribes nigrum b      
  Discovered in 1998 on an island in the Main Pond. Perhaps via the Starling roost.          
  Flowering Currant Ribes sanguineum  b      
  Discovered in the Entrance Bushes in 1995.          
  Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa b      
  Elephant's-ears   Bergenia crassifolia   b    
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Spreading from plantings at Langstone Rock.          
  Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites b b    
  Discovered in 1995 on the railway platform. Still present, also on ledge above the 18th Green.          
  Mossy Stonecrop Crassula tillaea     b  
  Nationally Scarce. Very rare in Devon. Native. Discovered in the Buffer Zone in 2017, with a second population near the seawall in 2018 and a third on the Golf Course in 2021. Only one other Devon site.          
  Navelwort Umbilicus rupestris b b b b
  Caucasian Stonecrop Sedum spurium        
  Previously occurred in Greenland Lake. Last recorded in 1990.          
  Biting Stonecrop Sedum acre  b   b b
  White Stonecrop Sedum album  b   b b
  English Stonecrop Sedum anglicum  b   b b
  Spiked Water-milfoil     Myriophyllum spicatum  b   b  
  Present in the Main Pond.          
  Kidney Vetch Anthyllis vulneraria b b    
  Population on the Back Path seems to have been lost to mowing but still present on Langstone Rock.        
  Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus glaber b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Native. Discovered in 2006 in front of the Entrance Bushes.          
  Bird’s–foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus b b b b
  Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus pedunculatus b   b  
  Hairy Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus subbiflorus b b    
  Nationally Scarce. Rediscovered on Langstone Rock c2002.          
  Slender Bird’s-foot Trefoil Lotus angustissimus        
  Rare in Devon. Native. Last recorded in late 19th century.          
  Bird’s-foot Ornithopus perpusillus  b   b b
  (c) Matt Knott          
  Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca b b b  
  Hairy Tare Vicia hirsuta b   b  
  Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma        
  Rediscovered on the golf course in June 2021.          
  Bush Vetch Vicia sepium b   b  
  Common Vetch Vicia sativa nigra b   b  
     - Vicia sativa segetalis b      
  Broad Bean Vicia faba b      
  Several plants discovered in a cleared area of Dead Dolphin Wood in 2005.          
  Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis        
  Rediscovered near the Cuckoo's Nest in July 2021.          
  Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea Lathyrus sylvestris b   b  
  Rediscovered on the Golf Course in 1995, still present.          
  Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea Lathyrus latifolius b b    
  First recorded in the 1840s. Rediscovered growing on the railway embankment in 1995, still present.          
  Hairy Vetchling Lathyrus hirstus        
  Extinct in Devon. Last recorded in c1895.          
  Grass Vetchling Lathyrus nissolia b      
  Discovered on the Golf Course in 1995. Not seen recently. Refound in June 2021.          
  Rest-harrow Ononis repens b   b  
  (c) Steve Cox          
  Tall Melilot Melilotus altissima        
  Ribbed Melilot Melilotus officinalis     b  
  Reappeared by the Tractor Compound in 2019 only.          
  Black Medick Medicago lupulina        
  Lucerne, Alfalfa  Medicago sativa b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. Rediscovered in the Buffer Zone in 2009-2019.          
  Toothed Medick Medicago polymorpha b   b  
  Nationally Scarce. Rare in Devon. Native.          
  Spotted Medick Medicago arabica b   b  
  Bird's-foot Clover (Fenugreek) Trifolium ornithopodioides b   b  
  White/Dutch Clover Trifolium repens  b b b  
  Alsike Clover Trifolium hybridum        
  Clustered Clover  Trifolium glomeratum b   b  
  Nationally Scarce. Rare in Devon. Native. First recorded in 1880.          
  Suffocated Clover Trifolium suffocatum  b   b  
  Nationally Scarce. Rare in Devon. Native.          
  Strawberry Clover  Trifolium fragiferum b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Native.          
  Hop Trefoil  Trifolium campestre b   b  
  Lesser Trefoil  Trifolium dubium b b b b
  (c) Matt Knott          
  Slender Trefoil  Trifolium micranthum b   b  
  Red Clover Trifolium pratense b b b  
  Zigzag Clover   Trifolium medium b   b  
  Crimson Clover  Trifolium incarnatum        
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced.          
  Knotted Clover Trifolium striatum b   b b
  Rough Clover Trifolium scabrum b   b b
  Hare’s-foot Clover Trifolium arvense b   b b
  (c) Andrew Cunningham          
  Subterranean Clover  Trifolium subterraneum b   b  
  (c) Matt Knott          
  Tree Lupin  Lupinus arboreus b   b b
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. Invasive Californian alien that has been much removed, partially kept in check by aphid damage and occasional frosts.          
  Laburnum Laburnum anagyroides        
  Rare in Devon. Introduced.          
  Broom Cytisus scoparius b      
  No recent sign.          
  Montpelier Broom Cytisus monspessulanus         
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced.          
  Dyer’s Greenweed Genista tinctoria        
  Rare in Devon. Native. Last recorded in 1983.          
  Common Gorse Ulex europaeus b   b b
  Common Milkwort Polygala vulgaris        
  Heath Milkwort Polygala serpyllifolia        
  Meadow-sweet Filipendula ulmaria b   b  
  Abundant in Greenland Lake.          
  Chinese Bramble Rubus tricolor        
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. Discovered in the Car Park in 2022.          
  Raspberry Rubus idaeus b   b  
  Discovered in 1995. Became widespread behind the Main Pond, now scarce.          
  Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.        
  The majority of species were recorded by Ray Gould in 1995. No work has been done since so it is unclear if any species have been lost to scrub removal.          
  Elm-leaved Bramble Rubus ulmifolius b b b b
  Frequent in Devon. Native, the commonest and most widespread bramble.          
     - Rubus leightonii b      
  Rare in Devon. Native.          
     - Rubus longithyrsiger        
  Occasional in Devon. Native, a predominately western species.          
     - Rubus tuberculatus b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Native.          
     - Rubus sempernitens b      
  Rare in Devon. Native.          
     - Rubus imbricatus b      
  Occasional in Devon. Native.          
     - Rubus albionis b      
  Occasional in Devon. Native, a predominately western species.          
     - Rubus conjunigens b      
  Rare in Devon. Native.          
     - Rubus rubritinctus b      
  Frequent in Devon. A predominately western species.          
     - Rubus lamburnensis b      
  Rare in Devon. Native, a predominately western species.          
  Himalayan Giant Rubus armeniacus b   b  
  Occasional in Devon. Introduced.          
     - Rubus dentatifolius b      
  Occasional in Devon. Native, a predominately western species.          
     - Rubus adscitus b      
  Occasional in Devon. Native, a predominately western species.          
  Silverweed Potentilla anserina b   b b
  Tormentil Potentilla erecta         
  Creeping Cinquefoil Potentilla reptans  b   b  
  Garden Strawberry Fragaria ananassa  b      
  Rediscovered near the promenade in 1998.          
  Wood Avens Geum urbanum b   b  
  Agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria b   b  
  Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor        
  Parsley-piert Aphanes arvensis b   b  
  Slender Parsley-piert Aphanes microcarpa b b b b
  Rediscovered in 1994. Previously overlooked as often the commonest of the species pair present.        
  Field-rose  Rosa arvense b      
  Discovered in 1995.          
  Japanese Rose   Rosa rugosa b   b  
  Largely eradicated from the Wryneck Plain, still present by the hide and a small area of Golf Course.          
  Short-styled Field Rose  Rosa stylosa b      
  Recorded in 1997.          
  Dog Rose Rosa canina b   b  
  Sweet Briar Rosa rubiginosa b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Native.          
  Small-flowered Sweet-Briar   Rosa micrantha b      
  Recorded in 1997.          
  Cherry Plum Prunus cerasifera b   b  
  Largest bush is along the Back Path.          
  Blackthorn Prunus spinosa b b b  
  Plum Prunus domestica        
  Rediscovered growing by the Railway Station in July 2021.          
  Cherry Prunus avium b   b  
  A sapling discovered growing in the Buffer Zone in 2009. Others found near the station in 2020.          
  Dwarf Cherry Prunus cerasus b   b  
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Back Path Prunus.          
  Portuguese Laurel Prunus lusitanica        
  Peach Prunus persica        
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced.          
  Pear Pyrus communis        
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced.          
  Apple  Malus domestica b   b  
  At least five trees and several saplings on site, including large specimens along the Back Path and by the Cuckoo's Nest.          
  Rowan Sorbus acuparia b   b  
  A small seedling was discovered by the Main Pond in 1996. Several others have also since been found, a couple now mature trees.          
  Swedish Whitebeam  Sorbus intermedia b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. A sapling discovered growing in Greenland Lake in 2007. Several others have been discovered but the only remaining one is in Dead Dolphin Wood.          
  Bearberry Cotoneaster    Cotoneaster dammeri b b    
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Planted around the tourist attractions this species was spreading into the dune grassland. Lost to salt damage after the 2015 storms.          
  Himalayan Cotoneaster Cotoneaster simonsii b   b  
  Wall Cotoneaster  Cotoneaster horizontalis b   b  
  Discovered on Warren Point around 2003. One plant also on the Golf Course.          
  Franchet's Cotoneaster  Cotoneaster franchetti  b   b  
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced.          
  Stern's Cotoneaster Cotoneaster sternianus b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. Recorded in 2002-03.          
  Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna b   b  
  Sea Buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides b     b
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. A sapling on Warren Point was the first record since the 1950s but was removed after a couple of years.          
  Oleaster  Elaeagnus x ebbingei     b  
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. Discovered by the old entrance. Self seeded from planted stock around the car park.          
  Alder Buckthorn Frangula alnus     b  
  A bush in the car park was overlooked until 2018!          
  Hop Humulus lupulus b   b  
  Regular along the fence by the Visitor Centre.          
  Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica b b b  
  Small Nettle Urtica urens b b b  
  Most often recorded around disturbed ground at the landward end of site.          
  Pellitory-of-the-wall Parietaria judaica b b b b
  Present in some areas along the Dune Ridge, but much was lost to the sea defence works.          
  Wax Begonia Begonia cucullata     b  
  Very rare in Devon. Introduced. On the Golf Course on imported soil in 2011.          
  Beech Fagus sylvatica b      
  Three records. A seedling emerged from mast washed onto the strandline in 2002. Two saplings were found behind the Main Pond in 2005 with another opposite the VC in 2008.          
  Turkey Oak Quercus cerris  b   b  
  A couple of trees and occasional saplings presumably from the planted copse on the Golf Course.        
  Holm Oak Quercus ilex b   b  
  Several small trees on site with the largest in the Spinney on the Golf Course now removed.          
  Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur b   b  
  Mainly found around the Entrance Bushes and the Spinney.          
  Hazel  Corylus avellana        
  Silver Birch Betula pendula  b   b  
  Downy Birch Betula pubescens b   b  
  Rediscovered around Greenland Lake in the mid 1990s.          
  Alder Alnus glutinosa b b b b
  Italian Alder Alnus cordata  b   b  
  Rare in Devon. Introduced. Discovered in the car park in 2007, now well established there.          
  Procumbent Yellow Sorrel Oxalis corniculata b      
  Discovered in 1995 growing on the estuary bank, also around golf course buildings, still present.          
  Pink Sorrel Oxalis articulata b b b  
  Rediscovered by the 6th Tee, still present, also in Buffer Zone, by 7th green and railway.          
  [Sorrel sp.]   Oxalis sp.   b      
  Discovered on the Golf Course, did not flower, but neither of the above species.          
  Annual  Mercury Mercuralis annua        
  Purple Spurge Euphorbia peplis        
  Extinct in the UK. This species was recorded 'in abundance near Exmouth' before 1778, at the base of the Warren before 1794 and Exmouth Sands in 1829. The Warren was known as Exmouth Sands or Exmouth Warren at this time.          
  Mediterranean Spurge Euphorbia characias        
  Widely planted, the first self seeded plant away from beds was noted in Apr 2021.          
  Sun Spurge Euphorbia helioscopia b b b  
  Caper Spurge Euphorbia lathyrus b b    
  A single seedling grew up above the tideline in Soft Sand Bay in 1997. A flowering plant and several seedlings were discovered by the amusement park in 2004 with occasional reappearances.          
  Dwarf Spurge Euphorbia exigua        
  Petty Spurge Euphorbia peplus b b b  
  Rediscovered in 1995 in dunes near the Bight. Now occurs around the Car Park and Amusements.          
  Portland Spurge Euphorbia portlandica b   b b
  (c) Andrew Cunningham          
  Sea Spurge Euphorbia paralias b     b
  Rare in Devon. Native. Only found on Warren Point.          
  White Poplar Populus alba b b b  
  Scattered in areas outside around the Car Park & seawall.          
  Lombardy Poplar Populus nigra 'italica'  b   b  
  Discovered in the ditches in the car park in 2006, now well established there.          
  Crack-willow Salix fragilis b   b  
  Common Osier Salix viminalis b     b
  A single tree on Warren Point.          
  Goat Willow Salix caprea b   b  
  Grey Willow Salix cinerea b b b b
  Eared Willow Salix aurita ?      
  Creeping Willow Salix repens b   b  
  Single plants in Greenland Lake and VC slack.           
  Sweet Violet Viola odorata b b b  
  Discovered near the railway platform in 1995, but lost. Rediscovered near the Visitor Centre in 2011 and Amusements in 2016. Still present and spreading in both locations.          
  Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana b   b  
  Rediscovered at the eastern end of Greenland Lake around 2000.          
  Early Dog-violet Viola reichenbachiana b      
  Discovered in Greenland Lake in 2005.          
  Heath Dog-violet Viola canina b   b  
  Near Threatened. Very rare in Devon. Native.          
  [Wild Pansy] Viola tricolor         
  Old records are now considered to be best assessed as V.arvensis.          
  Field Pansy Viola arvensis b   b  
  Garden Pansy Viola × wittrockiana        
  Discovered around The Boathouse in 2019.          
  Pale Flax Linum bienne        
  Fairy Flax Linum cartharticum b   b  
  Rediscovered growing in the drier areas of Greenland Lake.          
  All-seed R