This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Rock Samphire - Crithmum Maritimum.
Rock Samphire grows around the coast on all inhabited and larger uninhabited islands. It loves a rocky wall.
Rock Samphire is a sturdy umbel and has thick fleshy leaves. The small flowers are yellowy green. The plant has a strong smell when crushed. It has been described as having a smell of sulphur or furniture polish. There are usually flower heads in different stages of development on the plant which gives it a really interesting architectural look.
The common name, Samphire, is from St Pierre. St Peter was the patron saint of fishermen and also known as the rock. The habitat of Rock Samphire is coastal and rocky.
The botanical name, Crithmum Maritimum, means growing by the sea, but I could find no references to the meaning of Crithmum at all.
Rock Samphire was mentioned by Shakespeare. Fortunately on the islands we thankfully don't have that cliffs that made collecting this popular vegetable of the time so risky. In King Lear the line goes “Halfway down hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!”
You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.