I took some photographs of wild flowers beside the beach at Tra Mhor last week. I am constantly amazed at the variety of wild plants that find sustenance on the edges of the shore. I thought this plant (above) was a type of thistle with its sharp pointed leaves but when I looked it up later I discovered that it’s a Sea Carrot. The photo was taken after a rain shower so you can see the droplets in the pink flowers which gives it a lovely velvety appearance. The next photo (below) is of the flower head which is white and dome shaped with a tiny red central blossom.
I was pretty sure that the next plant (below) belongs to the thistle family but I checked it later and found that it’s probably a Creeping thistle based on it’s size and it’s soft lilac colour.
The next photo is of some ants which are feasting on the thistle flowers – I’m not sure if its the nectar or the nectar eating aphids that they’re after..
This next image (below) is of some Sea Holly. It’s a bit like a giant thistle with it’s central globe of flowers but these ones are surrounded by large grey blue bracts or leaves.
Sea Holly or Eryngium maritimum was believed to be an aphrodisiac in England in Elizabethan times – ouch! In fact, it was not the leaves that were used but the roots, which were candied. They are named in a speech by Shakespeare’s Falstaff:
“Let the sky rain potatoes;
let it thunder to the tune of Green-sleeves,
hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes (sea holly),
let there come a tempest of provocation…”
The Merry Wives of Windsor’ by William Shakespeare – Falstaff, Act 5, Scene v
The next image shows a group of snails on a holly plant. When I looked closely I began to see dozens of them and the brown scarring and holes on the plants where they had been.
Here’s a close up of one (below) right on the tip of a thorny leaf. I do believe that we made eye contact!