Identifying wild flowers: Salad Burnet

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Digital photography has transformed amateur botany. When you come across a plant that’s unfamiliar you can take photographs of all the features to study in the dry, warm comfort of home. Sitting at the computer screen with identification guides is very enjoyable although inevitably you won’t have photographed the key identification characteristic!

We came across this Salad Burnet when we were searching for Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) caterpillars, first at Glanville’s (Pennans) Field, Penhale near Perranporth and then again much more of it this week at Penhale Dunes both on the north Cornwall coast.

We took photos from all angles of flowers, stem, leaves, plant and habitat only to find when reading the id books that one helpful feature is it “smells of cucumber when crushed”! Well, there’s something you can’t capture, even digitally!

Insight into Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor subsp. minor): the flower heads are globular with upper flowers female, lower flowers male and middle bisexual. It is native and common throughout Britain as far north as south Scotland.

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