Monday, May 17, 2010

Hawthorn Hive


The landslips on the beach at Hawthorn Hive on the Durham coast (above) have a fascinating limestone flora, where the shelter of the cliffs often coaxes plants into flower early.


Last weekend we found the first bloody crane'sbill flowers opening ...

 

... at the same time as the last of the dog violets were beginning to fade ....


..... while common milkwort was also just coming into bloom

 

... and glaucous sedge was also flowering. The upper flower spike on the sedge carries the stamens that have already shed their pollen, while the lower two flanking it are female, identifiable by the feathery white stigmas protruding from them. Sedges are easily identifiable by the triangular cross section of their stem - roll the stem between finger and thumb and you can feel that it's three-sided.


Meanwhile, twayblade orchid flower buds are still developing, and it will be a week or two yet before they open.

10 comments:

  1. What a beautiful view of the beach Phil! The Milkwort is gorgeous.... I don't think I've ever seen it before. I'll be looking out for it.

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  2. Hi Lesley, it's only a tiny plant and there are also pink and white versions of it. Must be a fine train ride over the viaduct at the end of Hawthorn Dene...

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  3. There are quite frequent trains to Seaham along it...

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  4. Lovely shots Phil.
    The picture of the beach is a cracker. What a beautiful place.

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  5. Thanks Phil. It would be a lovely train journey up to Seaham.... and then walk back to Crimdon. :D

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  6. That looks like a great place to visit, Phil. Sadly, it's probably too long a journey for me to get there.
    I have just looked at the map: I'm 50 miles north of Durham but it looks as if I could turn off at Chester-le-street and work my way across country to Hawthorn from South Hetton. So, I might just have a go.

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  7. I met the Twayblade orchid yesterday on my walk, it is the first time I have seen this orchid, it is suppose to be common and yet I have never seen it before.

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  8. Hi Emma, it would be a long trip for you, and the Northumbiran coast has so much to offer. If you do go there's a very convenient car park at the southern end of Seaham, on the cliffs.

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  9. Hi Linda, it's very easy to overlook and I've noticed that the flower spikes are often missing - presumably eaten by rabbits. Orchids pop up in unexpected places - I often go for a long time without seeing them, then suddenly encounter a lot at once.

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