Sea Holly

Eryngium maritimum

Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)

A very distinctive plant with blueish-green or greyish green waxy leaves, with sharp-toothed spines. It produces tiny blue flowers in a large dome.

Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)

It flowers June to September. Found along sandy coastlines, mainly on sand dunes. Common and widespread in England, Wales and Ireland, and absent from north and east Scotland.

Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)

June 2012, Llandudno, Wales. Nikon Coolpix P500. © Pete Hillman 2012.

Cow Parsley

Anthriscus sylvestris

Also called ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’, ‘Hedge Parsley’, ‘Wild Parsley’ and ‘Wild Chervil’, this is one of the earliest flowering umbellifers in spring. This is a fast-growing, tall plant with hollow, unspotted stems. It usually grows in great numbers and produces white frothy umbrellas made up of small white flowers. The leaves are large and fern-like, and when crushed they produce a strong, aniseed-like scent. Plant height 60 to 150cm. Umbels 6 to 12mm wide.

Flowers April to June. It prefers moist soil and grows in masses along roadsides, riverbanks, near streams and pools, woodland margins, hedgerows, meadows and pastures. Native, common and widespread throughout Britain.

Cow Parsley is a rich source of nectar for hoverflies, bees and other insects.

Photographs taken May 2014, local field, Staffordshire.