Saturday, 16 August 2014

16th August: Late summer flora

It may be nearing the end of the summer and getting a bit more chilly now, but Lindisfarne's summer floral show is not over yet. There are still plenty of beautiful plants to be seen among the dunes if you look closely.

Grass of Parnassus - this beautiful late-flowering plant grows in the damp dune slacks of Holy Island.

Eyebright - this delicate plant with tiny white, purple and yellow flowers can be found across the Reserve close to paths. Its bottom petal is shaped like a lip, and the yellow markings help attract pollinating insects into the flower.

This pale lilac flower is Michaelmas daisy, a popular garden plant which has 'escaped' and made its way to the Snook where it is invasive as it smothers the native vegetation. We host a flock of sheep in the area where it grows every winter in order for the sheep to graze on it, keeping it in check.

This is Sea Aster, a saltmarsh plant with pretty purple flowers. It can be seen from the Causeway among the saltmarsh at the edge of the road. As it flowers well into September, it provides a valuable nectar source for late-flying butterflies and bees.

Remember to stay to the main paths as you walk through the dunes, avoiding accidental damage to the Reserve's wonderful, fragile plants.

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