Despite my name, I don’t actually have petals!
The curly edges of petalwort fronds look a little like petals, making it one of the prettiest tiny plants in the dunes. Petalwort is a protected type of Liverwort, a small plant which is easy to confuse for a moss, because they look similar and can be found in the same kind of sheltered damp conditions. In sand dune systems, petalwort lives in the moist dune slacks. As it is so small, this species finds it hard to compete with taller plants for light and space, so will only survive in areas where vegetation is kept short. Grazing or mowing parts of the dune slacks can help it flourish.
Petalwort was first discovered in Anglesey in the mid-1800s by John Ralfs, who it is named after.
To spot petalwort, you'll have to look closely down on the ground. It usually only grows up to 15mm long and can be very hard to spot, so join a walking group or speak to a site ranger for your best chance of finding it. In terms of Dynamic Dunescapes sites, it has been recorded at Penhale in Cornwall, on the Sefton Coast, and at Braunton Burrows in Devon.
Keeping dune slack vegetation low and creating bare ground gives Petalwort the right kind of habitat to establish.