Marsh Gentians, Skipwith Common, near York
Thursday, 27 September 2018
Some flowers kind of catch my attention when thumbing through Rose. Not sure why, but the gentians are one gang that I have always felt are that bit special. It could be that some are rare, or maybe that they are indicators of really top quality habitat. I have seen plenty of purple Autumn Gentians over the years at various chalk grassland sites, but one I really wanted to see was the bright blue Marsh Gentian. This is a rare plant, an inhabitant of damp heathland, rather than marshes. I had found out that they grow on Strensall and Skipwith Commons near York. With my colleague Bernie, I went looking for them at Strensall Common a couple of weeks ago, without success. Mind you, it's a big place! With some local gen, I gave Skipwith Common a try and this time my luck was in. Well, sort of! It was pouring down and the three flowers I found were all closed-up. Oh well, getting closer! The weather looked more promising this week, so I headed back on Tuesday lunchtime and sure enough a couple of these gorgeous little blue flowers had opened. And what a treat! A really stunning little flower, growing in short, acid turf, among Cross-leaved Heath, Tormentil and a variety of grasses. Stunning!