UK juniper bush endangered

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Garden owners could do their part for conservation efforts by growing the increasingly endangered juniper bush Juniperus communis.

The plant is in decline in the wild and plant conservation charity Plantlife and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) have teamed up to attempt to get the bushes flourishing again.

Up to 80 per cent of the native population in the southern English chalk downs has disappeared and just four per cent of Scottish juniper sites now boast large populations, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reported.

DSTL project leader Carl Mayers explained that the plant is on its way to extinction and that it could disappear within the next 50 years.

"As well as growing thousands of new juniper bushes from seeds and cuttings, our field research will help to understand better the decline in juniper numbers across Britain," he told the RHS, adding that rabbits, climate change and other environmental factors could be partially responsible.

Around 32,000 seeds have been collected from the Porton Down range and will be sown under cover or in rabbit-proof shelters as part of conservation efforts.

Meanwhile, the RHS recently revealed that gardeners have been trading rare snowdrop bulbs on eBay for more than £100 each.   - 24 February 2010
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UK juniper bush endangered

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