Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 27 March 2017

Sand Crocus, small, rare and blue...

I'd like to welcome my brother Duncan Harris to the Three Counties Blog. Botany has always been close to his heart and he has kindly sent me the following post from his recent visit to Devon to see one of our rarest native plants...

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love’, or if you’re middle aged like me and into nature your thoughts turn to small, rare flowers. I hadn’t seen the Sand Crocus for over thirty years despite living fairly close, so when the first really sunny day of spring was forecast I decided to head to Dawlish Warren in Devon.

In the early 80’s I’d been to see it with Roger and our cousin Alan, in those days it was only known from this spot in the UK and then only on the first tee of the golf course. You had to get permission to go out, crawl around on the ground and get photos before the next group teed off, all the while being laughed at by people in the clubhouse. It was subsequently found at another site in Cornwall but it’s still incredibly rare. It’s now very easy to see behind the nature reserve visitor centre.

Sand Crocus Romulea columnae, Dawlish Warren, Devon
Duncan Harris

Sand Crocus Romulea columnae, Dawlish Warren, Devon
Duncan Harris

The Crocus is about a centimetre across and only fully open in bright sunshine , after a few minutes searching I found the first one. A very attractive small crocus, once you’ve got your eye in you can spot the little blue gems at a distance and they’re well worth having a closer look at.  As we head into April they’ll number in the hundreds but only in a very small patch. Definitely a welcome splash of colour at this time of year, a true Spring flower, and a rare one.

You can also follow Duncan on Twitter @duncanharris5

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