Sea Spurge

Sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) is a common plant on dunes and sandy beaches, from the British Isles down to the Mediterranean. The stems are slightly fleshy and glaucous – nice word – meaning bluish-grey or green. They do however, turn a reddish colour with age, giving a pleasing two-tone effect which contrasts attractively with the sand,…

Flower of God

I came across this lovely flower on a grassy promontory on the eastern side of a beach (Playa de Esteiro) in Galicia, NW Spain.  It is a site above some cliffs, with lots of wild flowers. I had not come across this plant before, which was flowering in early July.  It took me a little while to…

The thousand year old rose

This rhododendron is known as the ‘the thousand year old rose’ in Thailand, and for all I know they really do grow for a millennium.  The Latin name is Rhododendron arboreum subsp. delavayi and the plant produces lovely red flowers during the winter (January and February).  R. arboreum subsp. delavayi is not unique to Thailand but is also found…

Six blue tepals and some nectar thieves!

Spring Squill is a lovely perennial wild flower, with lilac-blue or violet-coloured flowers which emerge each Spring from the underground bulbs. It can be found all along the north and west coasts of Western Europe: including Portugal, Spain, France Great Britain and Ireland. I took these photographs at the Morouzos beach protected area, a RAMSAR site, on…

Two wooly bulbs!

These early flowering Irises both share the same species name – bulbocodium – which means ‘wooly bulb’ or ‘wool covered bulb’.  Presumably because they share the same sort of furry bulb (!) but I have not dug up either to inspect the below ground parts. The lovely yellow Hoop petticoat daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium), or narcissus, is a…

A tangled bank or two

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex…