Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Field cow-wheat

Nominated by: Species Recovery Trust

Conservation status: Listed under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, making it an offence to pick, uproot or destroy it

Why do you love it? It’s a spectacular looking thing, with a truly bizarre inflorescence of mixed purple and yellow flowers. It also has an unusual lifecycle, producing half of its food by the normal method of photosynthesis, but getting the other half by parasitising the roots of other plants.

What are the threats to the field cow-wheat? Because it’s so rare (it only grows in four sites in the UK) it is under extremely high risk of localised extinctions – one of the sites is a nature reserve but at the others it receives little protection. Because it favours edge habitats it is also constantly at risk from scrub encroachment and losing the open areas it needs to thrive in. It has a complex germination strategy involving forming an association with the roots of other plants, and we don’t know how this might be affected by climate change and shifting weather patterns.

What are you doing to save it? We have set up a monitoring programme across all of its sites, and last year collected seed from half the sites to put in then Millenium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens. We have carried out habitat management at two sites and are working closely with the owners of the other sites to ensure their work does all it can to enhance the species.

Find out more about the Species Recovery Trust and the different plants and animals that they work with

Discover more dicot species on Arkive