Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Blinks confirmed (maybe)

Late last spring I found some tiny plants among short grass on an earth bank running down from the front garden of a house in a modern estate on the edge of Sedlescombe village.  It was a very dry, sunbaked spot and the plants were brown and dry too, but had clearly been flowering.

I brought a few small pieces home and potted them up, though I had little hope that they would grow. However, some tiny seedlings appeared in the autumn and developed gradually, coming into flower in late March.  They appear to be blinks, Montia fontana, probably the subspecies chondrospermia which grows in drier places, but it is not an entirely accurate fit and I will have to wait for seeds as their outer casing is diagnostic for the subspecies.  There are also various foreign species of Montia and I will have to bear that in mind as members of the genus appear to travel well.

M. fontana is a wintergreen plant and, with its rather larger sister subspecies (which grow in wet places) has been used as a salad, though one would have to pick a lot to get any satisfaction.  In some places it is known as 'annual water miner's lettuce'.

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