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Lindsay's Flora Blog

Posted: Sunday 5th April 2020 by trustadmin

Common Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis


Despite its name, this plant certainly isn’t common on Alderney although it is probably the commonest scurvygrass in the UK. Our common scurvygrass is the Early (or Danish) variety (Cochlearia danica) which can be found all around the coast and cliff tops from early January. So when I found several plants at Cachliere the other day I was very excited - I know it from just 2 or 3 other sites and this was a new location for me.

Whilst the Early Scurvygrass is prostrate with white or lilac flowers, Common Scurvygrass is much bigger, maybe 2 or 3 times the size, with white flowers. Here it habituates rock crevices in pockets around the cliffs/quarries.

Despite the second part of its name, Scurvygrass is not a grass at all but a member of the cabbage family. In the past it was used to help prevent scurvy aboard ships as it contains high amounts of vitamin C which helped sailors to ward off the debilitating disease caused by a deficiency of this.


 

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