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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 24th August

Posted: Sunday 23rd August 2020 by trustadmin

Hedgerow Cranesbill Geranium pyrenaicum

Hedgerow Cranesbill, like my last week’s plant, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, is a neophyte, i.e. a plant species which is not native to a geographical region, and was introduced in recent history - it was first recorded in the UK in 1762 where it is still spreading.

When I first came to Alderney I was very excited to find it, initially at just one site on Platte Saline Common, but since then I have come across it more and more frequently, particularly on the verges around the Golf Course near Longis and the Essex end of Barrackmaster’s Lane; however, it is still less common than many of the other geranium species.

It is similar to Dove’s-foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle) but the flowers are larger (although not as large as those of Meadow Cranesbill, generally a garden escape here), deeply notched and always deep purple as opposed to the varied pink-purple of the smaller plant.

It is also used as a food plant by the larvae of the Brown Argus butterfly, which is recorded as present but uncommon here, so if this plant continues to thrive and spread perhaps this butterfly will become more common too.

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