Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spring gentians
















We headed off into the high Pennines this morning and on the way home called in at the Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nation Reserve to pay our respects to the spring gentians. In early May this little plant, which is Durham's county flower, produces one of the most astonishing floral spectacles in Britain. If you stand on the edge of Widdybank Fell, on the road that runs down to the waterfall at Cauldron Snout, and then turn through 360 degrees, withered, windswept ankle-high grasses and sedges stretch all the way to the horizon in every direction. But there at your feet, nestled down amongst amongst them, are the intensely blue, star-shaped flowers of spring gentians. In a good year there are thousands, and for a couple of weeks this becomes a place of pilgrimage for botanists. Even for those who are not botanically inclined, the sight of something so exquisite and fragile in such bleak, harsh surroundings is a deeply memorable experience. It's an extraordinary combination of plant and place.

5 comments:

  1. What a beautiful little flower - such a startling colour.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's the intensity of colour that makes it so striking - bluer than the sky. Can't thonk of any other native wild flower that comes close..........

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a little stunner that plant is!
    Just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Priii-y! I hopped here via a link from an article on Applause, the so-called Blue Rose. Blue? Not so much.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Sally, I think it's the colour contrast with their surroundings that's part of the attraction of the gentians, but I can't think of another wild flower with a blue that's quite so intense.

    ReplyDelete