Monday, 2 July 2012

Wild Flowers

The cliff-tops and footpaths around the Newquay area are sprinkled with wild flowers of all kinds.  among the most common on the grassy slopes are the Sea Campion and Thrift which usually carpet the tops with white and pink flowers at this time of year.  However, the very wet weather this year has meant that the thrift has been 'hammered' and as a result, the pink is less obvious.  There are plenty more flowers to take their place.  I mentioned the Wild Thyme yesterday but there is another diminutive plant equally as gorgeous, known as Eyebright (Euphrasia nemorosa).  The common name derives from its use in the middle ages as a universal cure-all for eye infections and "all evils of the eye".
Another low-growing plant around the area is a little yellow stunner called Tormentil (Potentilla erecta).  A member of the rose family, the roots of this plant have been used to dye leather red.
Much taller and more stately than either of these is the Tree Mallow (Lavatera arborea).  Purple flowers appear up the tall, woody stems of this plant as it clings to the cliff edges, but it does mean that this plant gets a fine view of the beach!
It wasn't just the plants which caught my eye.  On one particular pink-and-whire, candy-striped, Sea Bindweed flower, a bright, green, shiny little beetle called Oedemera nobilis - a catchy name, but what a gorgeous insect!  This is a male as indicated by the swollen 'thighs' or femora.  While the adults feed on pollen and nectar, their larvae develop on the stems of various types of Broom and Thistle plants.
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