A little salty, nutty taste on the beach also come from the vibrant rosettes of Plantago coronopus, Buck’s-horn plantain. Best before it flowers, the aptly named antler like leaves are a good winter green.
A very exciting discovery this month was ‘rainbow wrack’ (Cystoseira tamariscifolia). Having stared into rock pools many a time and never seen it (or noticed perhaps) before it was a revelation. Watching the shining blue tips in the pool and then gently lifting the fronds above the waters, suddenly the colour was gone!? Intrigue and confusion lead to searching for answers…
Simply put the oils in the seaweed, when arranged in a naturally regimented way, create an opalescent reaction to the sunlight available in the rock pools. But the seaweeds, clever as they are, are able to ‘switch off’ this patterning too. Wow. The future may just be in seaweed… you can read more science on the opalescent properties of Rainbow wrack from The University of Bristol here.
Islay juniper is no longer widespread as it once was (read more), but once you get your eye in to look for it, it can leave you springing across rivers and bogs to look closer. This rather windswept patch is clinging onto a rock face in a rather precarious position above some brackish waters on the island’s coast. This week James hopes to be heading out to check on the Juniper (Juniperus communis ssp.nana) plants he has been tending and raising this past year.