Monday 2 May 2011: Coastal flora
Early evening on the coast and the westering sun illuminates the clifftop flowers.
One of the loveliest is the spring squill (Scilla verna), a tiny plant whose blooms at this time of year spead a violet-blue haze over the short, salt-sprayed turf that all but matches the sea below. It grows almost exclusively on the western coastline, visible during its brief flowering period and leaving no trace at other times of year.
The white flowers are bladder campion (Silene vulgaris), so-called because the petals grow from a globular calyx rather like a pouch. The plant is eaten in Mediterranean countries. The pink flowers behind it are thrift or sea pink (Armeria maritima), which forms dense cushions right upon the furthest edge of the sea cliffs.
Bracken plants are shooting up and unfurling. Later in the summer their foliage will overshadow and conceal the turf. That's why these flowers are making the most of the spring exposure to the sun, it's now or never for them.