A rare plant which is vulnerable to extinction has been given a helping hand with a second home in Dorset.

There are just six populations of Heath Lobelia (Lobelia urens) remaining in the UK, and in a trial that is the first of its kind for this species, the plants have been translocated from a local Dorset population to a site at Silverlake in Warmwell, near Crossways.

At Silverlake, the plants have been protected from grazing animals using secure wooden enclosures.

The project was funded by the Habitat First Group (HFG), and brings together botanical knowledge from Dorset County Council, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and Natural England.

Robin Walls, Dorset county recorder appointed by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, said: “The present site is threatened by encroaching scrub and vigorous grasses which the Dorset Flora Group has been struggling to control for years.

“The opportunity to establish a second Dorset site nearby is wonderful. The exacting conditions for Heath Lobelia to flourish are not easily found in the present landscape. Restored quarry sites have great potential for this and a number of other species we are losing from our heathlands due to abandonment of practices which disturbed the ground. We are very grateful to HFG’s help in this exciting project.”

Heath lobelia is commonly found on grassy heathland and rough pastures. They grow to around 60cm and their purplish-blue flowers are seen between July and August.

Dr Phoebe Carter, chief ecologist for HFG, said that a loss of suitable habitat is one of the main causes for the decline of the plant. She added that translocation of the plant to Silverlake could help reverse the decline.

The plants will be monitored regularly along with habitat management to ensure they thrive in their new location. It is hoped that a strong population of Heath Lobelia will establish at Silverlake which will help to secure the future of the plant for years to come.

In the coming months it is hoped that the Silverlake will also become a host site for other rare plant species such as Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium).

Annabel King, Dorset County Council senior ecologist, said: “DCC is thrilled to be part of this collaborative project, which is helping secure the future of a very rare plant in Dorset. Working in partnership has enabled us to make the most of the developing heathland habitat on the old quarry at Silverlake.”