Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 15 May 2017

Botany on the Lizard...

I’ve had this holiday to the Lizard in Cornwall booked since last August and was really looking forward to spending a week in this beautiful county. We came here a lot as teenagers and had been lucky enough to see a lot of the rare plants years ago. Now I thought I could return and get some new photographs while relaxing in the far away feel of the Lizard.

Kennack sands to Cadgwith

Kennack sands is a quiet holiday spot with a couple of caravan parks locally. The beach is divided into two by a small headland/dune system. This area provides a small number of Common Broomrape as well as large numbers of the invasive Three cornered Leek and Thrift. The leek, although becoming a problem, is a very attractive plant.

Common Broomrape, Kennack Sands: Duncan Harris
Three Cornered Leek: Duncan Harris

Thrift: Duncan Harris

 Walking the coast path towards Cadgwith provides Early Purple Orchid and the occasional Green-winged Orchid. About half way I was pleased to find Yellow Vetch, the most rare plants are often easier to find than these localized ones and it was a new one for me. Nearby the introduced Rosy Garlic was just starting to bloom.

Rosy Garlic nr Cadgwith: Duncan Harris
Yellow Vetch: Duncan Harris
 St Michael's Mount and Kynance Cove

A day trip to St. Michael’s Mount was a must. Not for any particular plants but the place itself is magical if a little crowded. Low tide when we arrived meant we could walk across on the exposed causeway. A real touristy thing to do it still supplied Rock Sea Spurred on the harbour walls . Back on the Lizard proper a visit to Kynance Cove gave up some more flowers. A popular destination since Victorian times the walk down gives stunning views of the cove as well as the rare Western Clover by the steep path. After the obligatory cream tea we walked back by the supply road to the café and found loads of the lovely Bloody Crane’s-bill as well as a small patch of Hairy Greenweed.

St Michael's Mount nr Marazion: Duncan Harris
Rock Sea Spurry: Duncan Harris
Kynance Cove, Lizard: Duncan Harris
Western Clover, a Lizard speciality: Duncan Harris
Bloody Cranesbill: Duncan Harris
Hairy Greenweed, Kynance Cove: Duncan Harris

Lizard Point

 Lizard point itself is only a couple of miles from Kynance and possibly the best spot of all. The walk down from the village soon supplies Tree Mallow and as you reach the point itself the cliffs are covered by more invasive species. The large creamy coloured Hottentot Fig smothers nearly everything as does a close relative the Dew Plant. Along the cliffs westwards Subterranean Clover was seen along with more Western Clover but unfortunately too early for the three mega rare ‘Lizard Clovers’. A nice surprise though was Spring Sandwort right beside the path.

Tree Mallow, Lizard Point: Duncan Harris
Hottentot Fig, smothers the cliffs: Duncan Harris
Subterranean Clover: Duncan Harris
Spring Sandwort: Duncan Harris

Just to show there’s more than just the plants some Atlantic Grey Seals were visible on rocks offshore and although we didn’t see them that day Choughs had been flying around before we arrived.

Grey Seals, Lizard Point: Duncan Harris

A great place for a holiday no matter how much or how little time you want to put into looking at the wildlife, and there’s always something else to go back for another day.

Note: Thanks to Duncan for his excellent report and botanical photos!

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