Wildflowers at the Lizard, Cornwall

Apr 16, 2011

Aside from the Choughs and Jackdaws at the Lizard, Cornwall the cliffs were blossoming with clifftop plants when I visited last weekend. And many of these plants are suited to green roofs due to the exposed conditions on the cliffs.

cliff view at the Lizard, Cornwall
cliff view at the Lizard, South West England

The main flowers in bloom were Thrift (Aremeria maritima), which is also thriving on a green roof at Sennen Cove…

Thrift (Aremeria maritima)
Thrift (Aremeria maritima)

and Sea campion (Silene maritima).

Sea campion (Silene maritima)
Sea campion (Silene maritima)
Sea campion (Silene maritima)
Sea campion (Silene maritima)

Sea campion, like Bladder (Silene vulgaris) White campion (Silene latifolia) and Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) is a great green roof plant. All of these flowers have wonderful white flower heads with the Catchfly having the advantage of flowering at night and thus very attractive moths.

Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria)

There were also a few Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) flowers but I suspect the majority of these will bloom later on in May. Kidney vetch is a classic wildflower for green roofs though it can be a bit dominant.

Common Dog-violet (Voila rivinia) and Spring Squills

Other flowers noted on the cliffs included Common Dog-violet (Voila rivinia) and Spring Squills and unfortunately the invasive Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus edulis) which has taken over huge areas of the cliffs. Though one can understand it’s attraction to gardeners, once it is out of the fences it can cause huge amounts of damage. Not just here in the UK but I have also seen it in along the Californian coast where it a major problem.

I did not encounter any of the unique flora associated with the Lizard, so that will have to wait for another visit.

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