Raspberry ripple buds of thrift

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The salt marsh is so rich in plant life that it is hard to know where to start especially at this time of year when everything is flourishing.

In May the raspberry ripple buds of sea thrift (above and below) are plentiful . . .

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. . . amidst the carpets of flowering sea arrow grass (above and below).

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By June the marsh is luscious with flowering salt marsh grasses and sea plantain (below).

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At first glance sea plantain and sea arrow grass are quite similar.

Leaves – both have long stemless leaves but those of the sea arrow grass are narrower and more pointed “arrow shaped” whilst many, but not all, of the sea plantain leaves are broader with toothed edges.

Flowers – both have flower spikes with multiple flowers but the most conspicuous difference are the cascading yellow stamens of the sea plantain. The sea arrow grass begins flowering a few weeks before the plantain.

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You have to look carefully to find saltwort aka sea milkwort (above). This is a small plant – looks a bit like thyme – with small pink flowers on trailing stems of just a few millimetres to several centimetres in length. Usually it is well hidden¬†beneath other salt marsh plants but I have found patches “uncovered” clinging tight to the estuarine mud.

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COLOUR PALETTE FOR PLANT SKETCHES

Watercolours: 
Winsor green (blue), sap green, winsor yellow, permanent rose, alizarin crimson,
Supracolor crayons: light green, spring green, carmine, light purple,

 

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