Jersey in bloom: Spring flowers to spot

01/03/13

Spring Flowers The White House 597

Jersey's wild flowers are particularly beautiful in the spring. Botanist Tina Hull shares her expertise on where to discover some rare spring blooms.

"Explore the beautiful lanes of Jersey and you can't help but notice the abundance of spring flowers. Sweet Violet (Viola ordorata) Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna) and Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) all mark the beginning of spring. But if you want something a little bit different head over to the south west of the island to Les Blanches Banques at St Ouen. A protected Site of Special Interest these sand dunes are an area of outstanding natural beauty, with many rare flora and fauna.

Les -Blanche -Banques .-Photo -by -Henry -Glynn
Les Blanches Banques, St Ouen. Photo: ©Henry Glynn/www.birdsontheedge.org

Closer inspection of this sand dune habitat at this time of year reveals a glorious carpet of spring ephemerals awaiting you. The rare Early Sand-grass (Mibora minima) mixes in with the delicate white flowers of Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna), Danish Scurvygrass (Cochlearia danica) and Hairy Bitter-cress (Cardamine hirsuta). You'll also spot the rare Hutchinsia (Hornungia petraea) along with my favourite, the Rue-leaved Saxifrage (Saxifraga tridactylites). And when I say closer inspection - I mean it, all these plants are often no more than 2 centimetres tall!


Common Whitlowgrass 597
Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna)

This carpet of green and white won't stay like this for long. The blue flowers of the Early Forget-me-not (Myosotis ramosissima) and the pink of the Wild Thyme (Thymus polytrichus) and the Thrift (Armeria maritime) are soon on their way. If you time your visit well, you may also be lucky enough to see the tiny cream suffused with violet flowers of the Dwarf Pansy (Viola kitaibeliana) or the even rarer Heath Dog Violet (Viola canina)."

How to get there: Park at the Five Mile Road carpark between Le Braye and La Pulente for the best access to Les Blanches Banques sand dunes. Make a stop at Le Braye Café afterwards for a Jersey cream tea. 

Like the sound of this? If you'd like to hear more from botanist Tina Hull about spring flowers in Jersey, and learn how to capture them on film for yourself, then join her along with photographer Tricia Kennedy on the National Trust for Jersey's Spring Photography Walk at Ouaisne on Sunday 21st April 2013. Learn about the diverse habitat of Ouaisne, along with the chance to take beautiful photographs under the guidance of a professional photographer. For more information on botany walks or to contact Tina Hull, call 01534 483193 or visit www.nationaltrust.je

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