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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Flower Beach Part 2

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JUNE. 18, 2021

This is my part two of the flower beach series. This was two weeks after part one. There is a lot more variety and colour this time and still some plants in bud and yet to flower so I may go back in another two weeks.

Many years ago I had seen Irises here and so that was what I was hoping to see this time. I had nearly given up after walking several hundred metres, when I spotted one, and then they seemed to be everywhere. They are amazing flowers, so sculptural, complex, and unlike any other.

These are wild beach Irises, Iris foetidissima .

I am not a flower expert but I have tried to identify the plants that I can. If I have made any errors or if you can identify one I have missed please let me know. When I went two weeks ago I was chatting to a young woman who was camping on the beach and she said I should make sure I see the Viper's Bugloss, which was not out at the time. She said you can't miss it as it is very blue and has very noticeable flower spikes.

Viper’s-bugloss is very distinctive with beautiful blue flowers. Bugloss comes from the Greek for ox-tongue because of the shape of the leaf. The stem and sometimes the leaves are speckled, supposedly like snake skin, and the dried seeds are thought to look like a snake head. Viper’s-bugloss is said to be a remedy for snake bite and also good for curing love sickness. The flowers are nectar-rich making the plant very good for invertebrates. Farmers often call it the blue devil as it has a very long root and so is hard to get rid of.

You can see it here below in amongst the other flowers.

Common Mallow, below.

Wild Carrot, below. Also known as Queen Anne's lace this is a dainty, frothy wildflower with occasionally a single red bloom in its centre.

Common Knapweed, below. Common knapweed, also known as 'Black knapweed', is a thistle-like plant that can be found on all kinds of grasslands, from roadside verges to woodland rides, clifftops to lawns.

The Sea Pea, below, is a rare plant and in decline, although it may be locally abundant where it is found. Its distribution in Sussex and Kent is decreasing in part because of sea defence works and coastal development pressures. It is Nationally Scarce (JNCC) in the UK, which means it only occurs in between 16-100 hectads (10x10 km squares). This plant is protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) and must not be picked without permission from the landowner.

Kidney Vetch, below. Kidney vetch is easily recognisable as clusters of small, yellow flowers sitting atop little woolly cushions. It is a distinctive feature of sand dunes, chalk grassland and cliffs across the UK. Flowering from June to September, this spreading plant can cover bare ground in the right conditions.

Sea Bindweed, below.

Sea Bindweed also grows low along the ground on shingle and sand dunes. It does not have tendrils like other bindweeds and much of the stem is buried. It is very pretty with pink and white flowers and kidney shaped leaves.

Euphorbia Paralias or Sea Spurge, below. Sea spurge is a common plant of sand dunes and coastal areas, especially in Southern England and Wales. It flowers between June and October and has fleshy leaves that help the plant to retain water in the arid conditions in which it thrives. It is a popular plant among gardeners in coastal areas when creating salt-tolerant gardens and rockeries.

The greeny-yellow flowers of Sea spurge have no petals or sepals, but are held in cup-shaped bracts. The upright stems carry closely packed, rounded, fleshy, grey-green leaves.

Opium Poppy, below.

Yellow horned-poppy, below. The Yellow horned-poppy is a coastal plant that grows on shingle beaches, cliffs and sand dunes. The golden-yellow flowers appear in June and are followed by the 'horns' - curling seedpods that can be up to 30cm long. When it is broken, the plant exudes a yellow sap which is poisonous.


Musk Thistle, below.

I think this is a type of plantain.

Clover, below.

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