Scientists sow wildflowers across city

University scientists are planting flowers in city parks, playing fields and schools, to encourage pollinating insects.

Some 15 urban meadow sites are being created across Edinburgh in an attempt to improve the diversity and abundance of bees, flies and other insects that support plant life.

The project is the second stage of a three year, £1.3 million research project being carried out with scientists at the Universities of Bristol, Leeds and Reading to examine how pollinating insects are affected by urbanisation.

Urban meadows

Last summer, working with Edinburgh City council, the scientists successfully created flower meadows in 10 sites across the city.

They created annual meadows, which have a mix of native and non-native plant species that flower for one year, and perennial meadows, which have only native species and are slower to establish.

Five of the annual meadows are being re-sown this year, and a further five annual meadows are being created.

Wildlife corridors

As well as being beautiful to look at, the meadows provide pollen and nectar for pollinating insects and act as wildlife corridors, allowing insects and other invertebrates to thrive.

Flowers being planted include cornflowers, poppies, oxeye daisies, meadow buttercups and red campion.

Pollinating insects other than bees that visit the urban meadows include Marmalade Hoverfly and Pollen Beetle.

Edinburgh scientists will carry out additional research to examine the DNA of pollinating insects, and to quantify how much pollen and nectar the insects can access from the meadows.