In search of rarest flowers

Stinking Hawksbeard

Last Sunday morning twenty people assembled at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve in the search of its rarest flowers in the company of Dr Barry Yates, the reserve’s manager. With a mix of beginners and experts the group saw many special flowers of the shingle and saltmarsh and all four of the rarest; Sea Heath, Least Lettuce, Stinking Hawksbeard and the orchid, Marsh Helleborine. The lettuce is only found in two other sites in the UK and the hawksbeard was re-introduced on the reserve after being declared extinct in the UK in the 1980’s – this year we counted over 3,000 plants and it is spreading.

The group also considered some of the issues of invasive non-native plants, especially the Rottingdean Sea-lavender (a plant from Sicily) which is doing all too well near the red-roofed hut and affecting some of our special natives. All participants had an enjoyable morning and gave generous donations to the Sussex Wildlife Trust to support the work of the reserve.

Photos: Barry Yates

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