This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Sheep's Sorrel - Rumex Acetosella.
Sheep's sorrel is found on all the inhabited and most of the larger uninhabited islands.
Docks and Sorrels don't really excite wildflower enthusiasts very much, until they are stung by nettles. Then we all look for the large leaves of the Broad-leaved dock to rub on the stings. The most obvious feature of this group of plants are the many fruits in spires above the leaves and it is the fruits that are used a lot in identification.
Medicinally it has lots of uses. Traditionally it is an anti-cancer herb and is used to treat inflammation, bacteria infections, as an antioxidant, a purgative and to provide vitamins. It is the main ingredient in essiac tea, a very controversial herbal treatment for cancer. Components of Sheep's sorrel are also used in modern medicines.
There are lots of warnings about using this plant as a traditional remedy as it can lead to kidney stones and potassium loss. It's not very popular with blueberry farmers as it enjoys exactly the same growing conditions.
Sheep's sorrel is a food for the caterpillar of the Small copper butterfly. So when you spot this lovely butterfly on the coast you will know what it could have been munching before it got it's wings.
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.