SALISBURY MP John Glen will act as a "Species Champion" for an endangered arable wildflower restricted to areas such as Salisbury Plain.

Plantlife, the UK's leading wild plant conservation charity, has announced the partnership for pheasant's eye, a once-common wildflower that is now restricted to field margins and disturbed sites such as Salisbury Plain and Porton Down military areas.

Pheasant's eye has been known in Britain since the Iron Age and was once so common that it was gathered for sale as 'Red Morocco' in Covent Garden, London.

However it has declined dramatically in the 20th century due to the intensification of agriculture and increased use of herbicides and fertilisers.

It is now endangered in the UK and listed under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

The Species Champions Project (2) partners Members of Parliament from England with wildlife organisations to bring political support to the protection and promotion of threatened wildlife.

John Glen said: "The striking sight of a scarlet pheasant's-eye is one of the undoubted highlights of a Wiltshire Summer walk.

"I am proud to champion such a small, delicate wonder so loved by many of my constituents and look forward to working with Plantlife to save and protect it for future generations.

"The steady decline of pheasant's eye is, sadly, part of a wider problem of widespread species decline in the UK.

"Only if we take action to arrest our alarming species and habitat decline will our children and grandchildren be able to enjoy wildflowers and nature like we were able to as children.

"That is why, alongside other Species Champion MPs, I am proud to stand up for pheasant's eye and all the other threatened species that so enrich our natural environment."

Michael Krause, Acting CEO, Plantlife, commented: "It was a pleasure to sow seed of this special rare and threatened wild plant with John in his constituency.

"One in five British wild flowers is now under threat so it is a wonderful to see a Plantlife species champion rolling up his sleeves to get involved in essential conservation action.

"The rapid decline of arable plant Pheasant’s eye – once so abundant that it was seen across Wiltshire’s fields and sold in street markets - mirrors that of other wild flowers found in arable fields, the group of plants declining at the fastest rate.

"We look forward to working further with John and other species champions to ensure a bright and brilliant future for wild plants and the wealth of wildlife they underpin."