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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 30th April

Posted: Thursday 30th April 2020 by trustadmin

Kidney Vetch Anthyllis vulneraria

This is another of my favourite spring coastal plants. It is important because of its value for many species of insects (and in the UK it is the sole larval food plant of the Small Blue butterfly, not found on Alderney) and is very striking – and quite distinctive - with its round clusters of kidney-shaped mainly yellow, but sometimes also orange and red, flowers. Each flower has its own downy-white calyx, giving the flower cluster a woolly appearance.

Apparently its common name derives from the olden day belief that it could cure kidney diseases and ‘vulneraria’ in its Latin name means 'healer of wounds' - a reflection of its possible past medicinal use = although there is little evidence of this!

It can be found all around the island from late April until late June, particularly along the east coastal path near Houmet Herbe (where it re-emerged in abundance following the Conservation Volunteers’ efforts at removing Hottentot Fig from this section of coastline), and also at Platte Saline and on the Clonque Road verges.
 

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