Stinking Iris on sea cliffs in Cornwall
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The Stinking Iris (above left) is very common on the sea cliffs around Cornwall at the moment. Its colouring is a bit dingy so its easily overlooked but its form is just as beautiful as the more widespread Yellow Iris … Read More

Southern Marsh-orchid at Penhale Dunes
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It’s always a bit special to see orchids, even if they’re numerous and fairly widespread throughout the British Isles. This Southern Marsh-orchid was one of many in a dune slack at Penhale Dunes on the north Cornwall coast earlier this … Read More

Thyme Broomrape on The Lizard
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It was good to find this plant last weekend on The Lizard even though it’s not a great beauty. In fact Thyme Broomrape is at its best around now (above left), before long it will have turned brown and dry, … Read More

Tree-mallow at Porthmeor Beach by The Island in St Ives
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These plants really are big. It’s not just their height, Tree-mallow can grow to 3 metres, but their stems are woody and more like trunks. The leaves are large (up to 20cm across) and quite hairy and tough-looking and, what … Read More

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 … Read More

What’s the difference between Blackthorn and Hawthorn?
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Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) The easiest way to identify these common plants in the field is to know that Blackthorn (above left) flowers appear before its leaves, unlike Hawthorn (above right). Blackthorn flowers Hawthorn flowers Blackthorn also flowers … Read More

Cowslips: you really can’t have too many
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There were so many Cowslip in some areas of Glanville’s (Pennans) Field, Penhale near Perranporth you couldn’t help but step on them! Insight into Cowslip (Primula veris): Native and found throughout the British Isles, though very rare in northern Scotland … Read More

Too bad if you don’t like garlic!
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There are three types of garlic wild flowers in profusion in Cornwall at the moment. Ramsons or Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) shown above are flowering in the woods and you certainly know when you stumble upon them as a garlicy … Read More

First orchid of spring
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Numerous purple spires rising from the grass were a reminder that it is still only spring and not high summer despite the fine weather and heat throughout April. These Early Purple Orchid were on the South West Coast Path between … Read More

Cow Parsley: commonest early flowering member of the carrot family
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These tall plants with white flowers arranged in umbels are a familiar sight. Insight into Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris): the commonest early flowering member of the carrot family (Apiaceae formerly Umbelliferae), native and found throughout Britain. The flowers are white … Read More

Wild flowers in spring hedgerows
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Here in Cornwall the hedgerows are a riot of colour in the spring sunshine. Wherever holiday-makers are staying this Easter, they won’t be far away from these stunning wild flowers. Twelve of the most common hedgerow flowers to be seen … Read More

Have you ever thought about Holly flowers?
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Most people are familiar with red Holly berries, especially at Christmas, and we learn fairly early on that Holly leaves are prickly but I wonder if, like me, you haven’t ever thought about the Holly flowers? The trouble is they’re … Read More

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