Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Dover Catchfly

Ah, the transquil rural idyll of Dover, as cars and lorries thunder up Jubilee Way, there is a cliff face which struck me as being a possible site for Nottingham Catchfly Silene nutans (previous noted at Dungeness).
It was originally known as Dover Catchfly, before it was realised that the two species were in fact the same.

Sure enough, without much searching, there were clumps of this plant that has inspired me.

It grows on Dover cliffs, and hundreds pass it during May and see only the white blossoms looking as if the sun had withered them. Yet by six o'clock in the evening, the grassy spots seem whitened by its stars, and the perfume appears to the author to be more powerful than that of any other flower. So wrote Ann Pratt in her book, Wild Flowers, first published in 1852. She lived in Dover.
Unlike Silene, who declines
The garish noontide's blazing light;
But when the evening crescent shines
Gives all her sweetness to the night.
The Catchfly with Sweet William we confound
Whose nets the stragglers of the swarm surround,
Those viscous threads that held to entangled prey
From its own treacherous entrails force their way.

Also on the cliff edge were the first Common Spotted Orchids, Quaking Grass, knobs of Knapweed, Birds-Foot Trefoil, Mignonette and Yellow Wort.
And at the bottom of the hill, hidden from the hurly-burley of the port entrance, is the First and Last pub.


abbey meadows said...

Lovely shots. I have driven past these totally unaware on my few jaunts over the channel.

Mary said...

I enjoyed the writing and can see why many would not notice this plant. The other shots are great, too and I like that yellow one bravely jutting out over the hubbub below :-) The First and Last looks like a good place to end up(and like a good title for one of Martha Grimes pub titled mysteries!)

Warren Baker said...

it's nice to see the wildlife, and wildplants doing their stuff, despite alot of peoples disregard for them. Some great photo's Steve.

Steve said...

Really interesting post Steve. And some great pictures too.

Sandpiper said...

Beautiful pictures and an interesting post.