Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The flowering of the isle - and an old fig.

All this rain had to do some good and the wet and the weather warming up at last it has brought a bursting of plant life across the island. Suddenly the island looks lush, green and studded with flowers. The scentless mayweed, sea campion and thrift look especially good this year and make up for the brown barren island that we first saw at the beginning of the season.

One of the oldest and oddest plants on the island is a fig tree, that is doing well this year. This grows in an inaccessible crack on the east side and was noted in W.J. Eggerling's book, the Isle of May, written in the late 1950's. It seems to have changed little in size since that time so making it at least 50 years old but probably a lot older. It would be fascinating to know where the original seed came from, maybe picked by a gull from a lighthouse keepers Christmas parcel ? or washed up from one of the many ship wrecks ? Any suggestions ?

Mixed in with the beautiful flowers are a couple of lethal ones. In the old keepers gardens is the umbellifer hemlock (looks a bit like cow parsley but with purple blotches on its stem).

Also sprouting in big patches is the strange looking and equally deadly henbane.

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