Clovers and the Duke of Argyll

At last I had some time to explore beyond the Pill and along the Causeway going South. It is a wonderful walk, away from everything, with the seagulls calling on the seaward side and the Skylark singing over the fields on the other. Magical.

It is definitely clover time, or at least the Pea family were very much in evidence.

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Bee on Meadow Vetchling, Lathyrus pratensis

Tufted vetch was scrambling over everything giving a bright blue haze to the grasses.

Tufted Vetch, Vicia cracca

Tufted Vetch, Vicia cracca

Red and white clover was everywhere but this unusual Sea Clover was also there in huge numbers. The fruits are quite strange (click to enlarge).

In August you can also see Strawberry Clover there, which has even weirder fruits.

Sea clover, Trifolium squamosum

Sea clover, Trifolium squamosum

Another plant of the Pea family – Bird’s foot Trefoil was very evident as well as its paler, narrow-leaved relative (Lotus glaber).

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Bird’s foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus and Red Clover, Trifolium pratense

Looking south all I could see was Water Dropwort plants, the species wasn’t checked but there were certainly plenty of them and far more than I have ever seen before. Possibly they spread after the huge floods we had last winter.

IMG_2370and lastly on the way home I saw this bush in the hedge which had me puzzled until a fellow botanist pronounced it to be ‘the Duke of Argyll’s Teaplant’!

Now there is a name. Brought in from China originally (presumably by the Duke) and now commonly found in hedgerows, this plant has red berries (wolfberries) which are harvested, dried and used in tonic teas. Not sure if the Duke was aiming to make his fortune with them..

Duke of Argyll's Teaplant, Lycium barbarum

Duke of Argyll’s Teaplant, Lycium barbarum