Monday, 26 May 2014

Flowers

I have already mentioned the dazzling display of Sea Thrift and Sea Campion on the cliff tops around Newquay, but the floral show didn't stop there.  Many of the footpaths around the area are lined with the bright flowers of Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber), a native of the Mediterranean countries, it has become naturalised in Britain and many other countries around the world.
With similarly-coloured flowers, the Common Tree Mallow (Lavatera arborea) has much larger blooms with darker centres.  These rather more woody plants were in full bloom, clinging to many of the cliff tops.
The leaves of the Common Tree Mallow are supposed to help cure sprains and other injuries if steeped in hot water.  There is a thought that Lighthouse Keepers may have helped to spread these plants around Britain's coasts for just such a purpose.  If it's true, we can only thank them.
Along the salt marshes of the Gannel River estuary, a white-flowered member of the cabbage family was in full flower.  The Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis) is so called because it was used to cure scurvy on ships where vitamin C was in short supply.  It was also a new 'tick' for my life list!
Another new 'tick' came from a beautiful, pink flower which was to be found growing in the hedge banks. Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum) is of course, a member of the onion family and another native to the Mediterranean region, but it has been introduced to many other countries where the weather is favourable and it seems conditions suit it very well in Newquay.
Not bad for three nights away, two new ticks for the life list, bringing my list of positively identified plant species to 639 in total.
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