Thursday, July 16, 2009

Strawberries in clover

With Wimbledon a distant memory, strawberries were the last thing on my mind on a walk along Devil's Dyke, near Newmarket. Actually I hadn't got to the Dyke bit (where I was heading to gorge on chalk grassland flora) - I was just walking on a footpath alongside the A14. That's where I came across this terrific Trifolium....


Strawberry clover Trifolium fragiferum
At first glance I thought it was a misshapen red clover but closer inspection (and a rapid flick through Rose) showed that it was infact a cute little clover: strawberry clover (Trifolium fragiferum). What a delightful find! Natural England reliably inform me that long-tongued bees can reach the nectar deep inside the tiny flowers. Cool?
Oh! And there were a couple of lizard orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum) along the way too. Didn't I mention them? Too weird?

Lizard orchid Himantoglossum hircinum
Himantoglossum is derived from the Greek himas meaning strap and glossa meaning tongue. The hircinum bit is less pleasant and apparently means (don't quote me on this) 'smelling like a goat'. Lovely! I didn't sniff the plant to check. Next time maybe.....

An impressive plant indeed but for me, the 'plant of the day' was the unexpected and new species for me: the hairy, pale pink, strawberry clover.

Useful links:
Francis Rose's Wildflower Key: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Flower-Key-Revised-identify/dp/0723251754
Natural England: http://www.plantpress.com/wildlife/o817-strawberryclover.php
More info on Trifolium fragiferum: http://www.saltlandgenie.org.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=24003 Much better picture of Trif frag than mine: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Trifolium_fragiferum.jpeghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Trifolium_fragiferum.jpeg

1 comment:

  1. I'm on the lookout for strawberry clover myself, but had assumed that it generally prefers coastal areas (i.e. not Newmarket).
    No luck so far, but will keep looking at my toes!

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